Archive for Race


Unleashing The Power Of Non-Voters

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Ben Jealous calls for massive voter registration in the Southin a report for the Center for American Progress:

The first and most important lesson is that massive voter registration can overcome massive voter suppression. Our analysis shows that registering just 30 percent of eligible unregistered black voters or other voters of color could shift the political calculus in a number of Black Belt states, helping blacks elect candidates who share their concerns or alternatively, forcing all candidates to pay attention to the community’s concerns. Registering 60 percent or 90 percent would change the political calculus in an even greater number of states.

Jealous speculates it would take $6-7 million to sign up the 350,000 unregistered black voters in South Carolina, for example, and change the political calculus there, as well as in other southern states. He’s calling for another Freedom Summer to do just that.

The parties can find a billion dollars to spend on presidential races. Jealous thinks we all need to get a clue and spend a tiny fraction of that to change politics in the South. Republican margins of victory in states across the “Black Belt” are substantially less than the number of unregistered people of color there. The extreme right knows this, and knows that demographics are not in their favor for the foreseeable future. Hence the wave of voter suppression efforts across the South and elsewhere.

The report is here.

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Can America Ever Be Whole?

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The Case for Reparations

A very sobering account of race relations from Ta-Nehisi Coates, a brilliant writer and a senior editor at The Atlantic. Highly recommended.

On a long drive in the last year or so, we were trading notes with a friend about where we were born, how long we had lived in North Carolina, and something about our family history. It was all pretty light conversation until our friend remarked that her knowledge of family history went back only as far as her great-grandparents in the Caribbean. She didn’t have to explain why. Because before that was Africa.

In white America many take pride or at least an interest in family history. We mostly take it for granted. I certainly did. What jerked us up short was realizing that our friend didn’t have one and why.

My people didn’t arrive on these shores until after the Civil War. It’s been easy to disclaim any taint from what happened here before their arrival. Ta-Nehisi Coates throws cold water on that notion with a disturbing accounting of what the war did not settle, or make right.

One cannot escape the question by hand-waving at the past, disavowing the acts of one’s ancestors, nor by citing a recent date of ancestral immigration. The last slaveholder has been dead for a very long time. The last soldier to endure Valley Forge has been dead much longer. To proudly claim the veteran and disown the slaveholder is patriotism à la carte.

In an interview with Bill Moyers, Coates explains, “I am not asking you as a white person to see yourself as an enslaver. I’m asking you as an American to see all of the freedoms that you enjoy and see how they are rooted in things that the country you belong to condoned or actively participated in the past.”

Categories : National, Poverty, Race
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Compassion for America’s poor and the long-term unemployed is audibly absent among many of the well-to-do, their on-air groupies, and politicians who once upon a news cycle tried to rebrand themselves as compassionate conservatives. A caller to a progressive radio show this week asked when heartlessness became fashionable in America.

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When they say it’s not about sex, it’s about sex. So what is it when they say it’s not about race?

Minnesota Republicans in Chisago County had to answer that yesterday.

The slavery image was posted Wednesday morning and by the early afternoon it had been taken down and the entire Chisago GOP Facebook page was down for a while.

The page reappeared later in the day and the Chair of the Chisago GOP issued an apology saying, “It should not have been posted, and the party is saddened by it.” The caption on the post says “Slavery, against it? Don’t buy one.”

While Minnesota Republicans were apologizing, the New York Times’ John Harwood cited a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing that the partisan divide is about race.
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Categories : National, Race, Republicans
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The Content Of His Character

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Barack Obama’s speech today:

The following is a transcript of remarks made by President Obama to the White House press corps on Friday 19 July 2013:

The reason I actually wanted to come out today is not to take questions, but to speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week: the issue of the Trayvon Martin ruling. I gavea preliminary statement right after the ruling on Sunday, but watching the debate over the course of the last week, I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit.

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Categories : National, Obama, Race
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“RACE DOESN’T MATTER!” Ask some Obama haters. Some raise their voices at the suggestion that race is still an issue in this country. (I’ve seen this in person.) Others saw it in March at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

This week, General Foods proved otherwise after it launched its commercial, “Just Checking,” and posted it to YouTube.

Gawker wrote late on Thursday:

A nice Cheerios advertisement whose only discernible difference from other Cheerios commercials is that it depicts an interracial family was forced to disable its YouTube comments section today after it became inundated with virulent racism.

Slate offered a printable sample: “If the dad was stereotypical black, I don’t think they would have needed more than 2 actors for the commercial.”

General Mills responded:

The ad will “absolutely not” be withdrawn, Meredith Tutterow, associate marketing director for Cheerios and Multigrain Cheerios at General Mills in Golden Valley, Minn., said Friday.

“There are many kinds of families,” Ms. Tutterow said, “and Cheerios just wants to celebrate them all.”

The Cheerios Facebook page is full of smiles. By Friday morning, “thumbs up” comments were outpacing the negatives by over five to one. So hey, maybe those conservatives at CPAC were right that race doesn’t matter. At least for growing number of Americans who have no problem with mixed-race families and mixed-race presidents.

(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)

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Sunday Morning Music

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For some reason last night I was pondering the endless panoply of wingnut night terrors when a song from childhood TV popped into my head. When I looked up the lyrics and video, I was astonished. You will be too.

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Creating Their Own Enemies

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Did they really think only old white men would hear the dogwhistles?
– David Atkins, Hullabaloo, offering a four-year litany of Republican insults to non-white, non-male Americans

In last week’s election, the 47% spoke.

Matt Taibbi listened to Rush Limbaugh the morning after so you didn’t have to. Limbaugh blathered on about how Republicans might win back the votes of women and minorities, and like most on the right, without “even a hint of self-examination, self-criticism.” Taibbi concludes, “[T]he Rushes of the world are too clueless to realize that it’s their attitude, not their policies, that is screwing them most with minority voters.” By that Taibbi means the relentless sarcasm and condescension towards women, minorities and the poor that Rush’s listeners tune in for each day. That attitude drives his ratings up with conservative white men and drives other voters away. Gosh, wonder why?

Rush: Let’s start our own abortion industry. Let’s go out and get the women’s vote. I just want you to think, would that work?

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WNC’s Slaveholding Past

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Deborah Miles is the Director of UNC Asheville’s Center for Diversity Education, and she sent me a message about the emergence of a powerful and important resource:

On Saturday, Sept. 22 another historic milestone will take place with the 150th anniversary of the preliminary announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation.
As part of the local commemoration, the Center for Diversity Education at UNC Asheville has worked with the Buncombe County Register of Deeds to provide accessibility to the slave deeds that are a part of the documents in the historic collection.
Andrea Clark, the granddaughter of James Vester Miller who was enslaved in WNC, shares, “It is very important to see where you came from to know where you are going. History has been kept from African Americans and now we are learning more about our heritage. Our ancestors were strong, honorable, caring, and decent people who wanted the best for their community.”

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