Law School Discussion


Does America deliberately try to protect its system of inequality?


Black Radicals Thread


Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #70 on: February 24, 2005, 12:56:30 AM »
Past Imperfect: What Would Malcolm Do?
By William Jelani Cobb, AOL BlackVoices columnist

Forty Februarys have come since the one in 1965 -- the one whose 21st day was stained by Malcolm’s terrible death -- and the balance of history has now tilted in another direction. Having lived only 39 years before that forsaken day in the Audubon Ballroom, Malcolm X has now been gone for longer than he was with us. He is now a figment of our collective memory and imaginings, an article of history understood through the lens of his remaining source material.

Not only is our past imperfect, but our present also. In the case of Malcolm X, though, we have an instance in which our contemporary lives have shaped our view of the historical one. In recent years, it has become a casual cliché to assert that Tupac Shakur was "our generation's Malcolm X" -- a mantle that is surely too heavy to bequeath to a deceased rapper. But even more important, it means that we still wish to have a Malcolm X, the we-have-a-job opening that is as yet unfilled. We read him into our ever-changing present.

You could still see the Audubon when I was growing up, way past its glory, its long-ago shuttered windows and the tattered handbills for forgotten salsa acts glued to its façade. It loomed over Harlem's 163rd Street like a concrete metaphor. Urban legend held that his blood still stained the floors. The ballroom made a cameo in the video for Public Enemy’s "Night of the Living Baseheads" in 1988 and returned to attention years later when Columbia University purchased it. There were dispirited protests and demands that the university convert it into a museum in Malcolm’s tribute, but municipal momentum remade it as a steel and glass bio-research center. And now it too remains in our memory and imaginings.

And there have been other changes.

In life, Malcolm was a rarity, fused in him was an incisive intellect, an ascetic's discipline and a hustler's spirit. Hard prison time and Elijah Muhammad's teachings made him into Malcolm X and he made himself El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, but he never entirely shook free of "Detroit Red," the uptown hustler who understood all the angles. And that fact alone explains why Malcolm became the patron saint of the hip-hop generation in the late 1980s.

Malcolm articulated that heady moment in America when the Third World was casting off the shackles of colonialism and he understood the parallels between that struggle and the one being waged by black people in Harlem, Watts, Selma and Jackson. It is ironic, but not surprising, that in these many years since his death he, like Che Guevara, has been commercially endorsed by many of the same forces he sought to uproot when he was alive. His life has been the subject of Spike Lee's feature film, scores of documentaries, dozens of books and an infinitude of poems. Historians have parsed the details of his life, discovering that he had traveled to the Middle East five years before his 1964 Hajj or pilgrimage and raising questions about his claim that the sight of white Muslims in 1964 transformed his outlook from the white-man-as-Devil teachings of the Nation of Islam into that of an Islamic humanist. The shortcoming and oversights of his ideas have been charted and detailed, the enigma at least partially decoded.

And still, something of him remains undiminished. Not simply hand-me-down nostalgia for a romantic character or a product of his lingering historical charisma, but a shard of something real. The enduring example of a man hand-copying a dictionary to gain literacy; the man who evolved from a pimp into a committed husband and father. The educator, fully aware that his uncompromised lesson plans would cost him his life, but who continued to teach anyway. The individual who did not stop seeking answers.

It is nearly impossible not to play counterfactual games and wonder what would have happened had he missed that appointment, had some random car accident taken his would-be assassins on their way uptown. He would hardly recognize us now: a generation that was in the womb when his life was taken, now grown and reckoning with our own understandings of the world. Thirty million of us in this country who have more assets and economic power as a group than any of us scattered by the slave trade, 9,000 of us who serve as elected officials within this country; our chances to exist as human beings measurably increased by the struggle he helped wage.

Then again, he would have seen heroin peak and decline, only to be replaced by crack, and witnessed HIV and homicide become enduring blights within our communities. He would know that 1 million men who look like him are incarcerated and that the percentage of our children born in poverty hovers at 40 percent and puzzled over the rise of bling-ism as a social philosophy.

And one can only imagine the content of his analysis of Condoleezza Rice. At age 79, Malcolm would have lived through the erosion of post-colonial Africa’s idealism, seen it dimmed by internal strife, coups and counter-coups and the invisible colonialism of debt to the first world. He would have endured the truculent regimes of Nixon, Reagan and Bush, versions 1.0 and 2.0. His goal of having newly independent African states present the grievances of African Americans before the United Nations would have been impossible in the era of "structural adjustment" programs and high-interest IMF loan hustles. And he would have been challenged by the oppression and enslavement of black Africans in Sudan at the hands of their Muslim countrymen.

And one necessarily wonders how his presence might have mitigated these concerns and wishes that he had been this generation’s Malcolm X too. But it is ultimately useless to speculate, because the history went down as it did. On Feb. 21, 1965. In the Audubon Ballroom on 163rd Street and Broadway. And the weight of that history now rests on our own shoulders.


Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #71 on: February 26, 2005, 07:41:25 PM »
Tha Revolution Ain't Gonna Be Televised (On C-Span)

The Commercialization of Black Nationalism

Min. Paul Scott

There was a time when the mere mention of the words Black Power would shake
the very foundations of the earth and have white folks and nervous negroes
runnin' for the hills. But in 2005, the reaction to Black Power reminds me of
the Arsenio Hall Show from back in tha day. 'Umm...Yesss...Black Power...Woof!
Woof! Woof!..Now Sheila E, take us outta here with some of that ole nasty,
pasturized homogenized, fried, died and laid to tha side, National Public
Radio type funk.....'

This weekend, C-Span will air the latest Tavis Smiley State of Black America
Forum that will delve into the deepest crevices of the Black problem and
sometime before 6PM Eastern Standard Time Saturday, will come up with the
miracle cure for all that is ailin' Black folks. While this article may come
off as the rant of someone who is playa hatin' or just mad that his first
class ticket to the forum got accidently sent to Dr. Professor W.E. Dolittle,
Dean of African American Studies at Pale University, the issue at hand is the
real state of Black leadership in the 21st Century.

The question of who speaks for the negro has long posed a problem for Black
and White folks, alike. Whether it be white reporters scrambling to find a
responsible and sober minded negro to denounce another Brotha for having the
audacity to not only think Black but to talk and live Black as well. Or Black
folks jockeying for the coveted position of HNIC. The need for a national
'negro' spokesman has always been the source of great debate.

Over the decades, Black folks have fought each other tooth and nail to see who
would be in charge of determining the destiny of the race. The paramount issue
has always been segregation vs integration, whether Black folks would
determine their own destinies or would forever be satisfied to accept the
crumbs from 'massa's' table. Whether the masses of Black people should be
organized into a mighty Afrikan Nation and wage war against white supremacy to
secure the FREEDOM of Afrikan children once and for all or whether the
strategy is to invade corporate America, one by one, until 100 years from now
we have a small, strategically placed, army of Brooks Brother suit wearing,
BMW drivin' , suburb livin' CEO's of (still white owned) corporations. The
division has always been there between those who are determined to nudge their
way into building the white mans's heaven on earth and the Bad Boy, Black
Nationalist outcasts who would have just as soon seen Babylon burn down.
Whether it be
Marcus Garvey vs W.E.B. Dubois, Malcolm X vs Martin Luther King Jr or Chuck D
vs MC Hammer, the debate over who really represents Black folks rages on.

White America has had a vested interest in who would carry the mantel of Black
leadership and which ideology would be most beneficial to her interests. Since
the integrationists were at least willing to sit down and talk to white folks,
this ideology won out and has received the financial blessings of white mega
corporations. While many ' mainstream' black organizations depend on white
dollars for their spectacular conventions and plush office furniture, the
Black Nationalists are reduced to meeting in the back of dusty old book
stores and barbershops and praying that it doesn't rain on their "convention"
in the middle of tha 'hood in Martin Luther King Park.

This has resulted in a kind of dual Black Power Movement. One side made up of
a collection of middle to upper class doctors, lawyers, preachers, professors
and anyone else who is deemed capable of articulating the Black 'thang' in
proper English by white folks. The other side is made up of a rag, tag
fugitive fleet of Brothers and Sisters who are in the constant struggle
between working to feed their families and working for the people.

So the question becomes, do the middle class Black folks that are given all
the air time truly represent the feelings of the masses of Black folks or are
their ideologies more closely aligned with the white middle class. Are the
values espoused by the 2005 Civil Rights All-Stars the blueprint for the
future of Black America or just a Eurocentric, capitalist ideology in black
face? All though many at the forum will no doubt speak on the need for unity,
the class division in the Black Power/Empowerment Movement must be addressed.

This class division is best exemplified in the wild world of Hip Hop. If Hip
Hop is, indeed, the parallel universe of the Black Power Movement (in a
Bizzaro World kind of way) then the struggle being waged by undaground Hip Hop
artists against commercial Hip Hop should be reflective of the struggle
against commercialized Black Power by the Black Nationalists. If KRS-One could
be considered the anti-Nelly, then couldn't 'Bro. Black' of
internet radio show be considered the anti-Tavis Smiley?

Just as white owned mega companies have hand picked the commercial artists to
head the Hip Hop Movement by promoting them heavily in magazines and making
sure that they are the only voices that are heard on urban radio, could these
same corporations have also picked Black leadership?

The rebellion against commercial Hip Hop is evident in the works of Durham,
North Carolina artists such as Da Poet Tim Jackson, Queen Sharon and the
rapper Crown King, 'Street Ambassador' of the RBG SOULdiers who have decided
to put out their own CD's and present them to the masses of people instead of
being another one of 'tha man's' commercial Hip Hop clones. As these talented
artists may never get a spot on Def Poetry Slam or get signed to a
multi-million dollar contract with Universal Entertainment, our most
intelligent Afrikan minds may never be a guest on the Tavis Smiley Show or get
invited to one of the symposiums. Just as the undaground Hip Hop artists have
found a way to reach the masses of Afrikan people without corporate America's
help, the undaground Black Power activists must find new ways to reach our
people like passing out CD's of our speeches or utilizing internet radio
programs like LIBradio, Harambee Radio and Innerlight.

So, I probably won't watch the symposium on Saturday, as the Black
intelligentsia gather to discuss how best to divide their millions of dollars
in corporate assets to develop another generation of Black Power Urban
Professionals. I, like the other Black Nationalist outcasts will be in tha
hood, trying to do the impossible with nothing.


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Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #72 on: February 28, 2005, 02:17:05 PM »
Felon Ban Continues To Hurt Blacks and Democrats

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Columnist


During the last presidential campaign Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry tepidly spoke out against the ban by some states on ex-felon voting. He should have shouted out against it. The ban hurts Democrats far more than Republicans. Blacks make up a huge percentage of those barred from voting because of a prison stint. They are far more likely to vote Democrat than Republican.

The ex-felon vote ban in Florida in 2000 did much to snatch the White House from Al Gore. The ban on ex-felon voting also may have deprived Kerry of thousands of potential votes in Ohio. That almost certainly helped swell Bush's vote total in that pivotal state, and insure his White House return.

Kerry, and top Democrats have said and done little since the election to get states to modify or scrap their vote bans. The Sentencing Project, in a recent report, again noted that more than a dozen states still permanently bar ex-cons from voting, or make it so difficult for them to get their rights restored that for all practical purposes they're banned from voting for life.

Blacks are still the hardest hit by the bans. One in four adult black men are effectively disenfranchised by the bans. It's no accident that five of the dozen states that perpetuate this morally and legally indefensible practice are Southern states. The South has had a long and deplorable history of devising an arsenal of racially abusive tactics including poll taxes, literacy laws, and political gerrymandering to drive blacks from the voting booths.

This thinly disguised relic of the South's Jim Crow past has done much to drastically dilute black political strength. In 1996 about 4 1/2 million black men voted in the presidential election. If the 1 million black men in prison, on parole, or probation that were disenfranchised because of their criminal record had been added to the total their vote might have made a crucial difference in deciding close statewide contests.

Black ex-felon disenfranchisement will probably get worse. Blacks now make up nearly half of the more than two million prisoners in the nation's jails. The entrenchment of racially biased drug laws, racial profiling, and chronic poverty in many black communities means that more black men will be arrested, prosecuted, convicted and serve longer prison sentences than white men.

This virtually guarantees that the number of blacks behind bars will swell. The Sentencing Project estimates that at the present rate of black incarceration upwards of forty percent of black men could be permanently barred from the polls in the vote restricted states in the next few years. And since most state officials are scared stiff of being publicly labeled as soft on crime, state legislatures have either ignored the issue or stonewalled legislation that would end the archaic practice. Congress can take a big step toward rectifying this blatant injustice by passing the still pending Civic Participation and Rehabilitation Act. It would not effect voting in state elections but it would restore voting rights to ex-felons in federal elections.

It will take a fierce fight to get this bill passed. Many conservatives passionately defend the policy of ex-felon disenfranchisement. They claim that in barring criminals from voting society sends the strong message that if you break the law you should pay, and continue to pay dearly. The argument might make sense if all or most of the disenfranchised ex-felons were convicted murderers, rapists, or robbers. And they were denied the vote because of a court imposed sentence. This is not the case.

None of the states that bar felons from voting in near perpetuity require that judges strip them of their voting rights as part of their sentence based on the seriousness of the crime or the severity of the punishment. The majority of ex-felons are jailed for non-violent crimes such as drug possession, passing bad checks, or auto theft. In most instances they fully served their sentence and in theory paid their debt to society. Most of the convicted felons were young men when they committed their crime.

The odds are that most of them won't become career criminals, but will hold steady jobs, raise families and become responsible members of the community. Yet imprinting these ex-felons with the legal and social stigma of "hereditary criminals" and banning them from voting until death makes politicians and many Americans seem like the worst kind of hypocrites when they say they believe in giving prisoners a second chance in life.

Civil liberties groups and civil rights organizations must fight harder against the bans. That means filing court challenges and mounting a sustained lobbying campaign in Congress or state legislatures to get the discriminatory voting laws changed.

The denial of voting rights to thousands of blacks decades after the end of slavery and legal segregation is a travesty of justice, and a blot on the democratic process. It will also cost the Democrats thousands of votes and maybe even the White House in the next presidential election.

Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #73 on: July 01, 2005, 12:43:36 PM »


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Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #74 on: July 06, 2005, 10:27:12 AM »
Which Senators Didn't Support Anti-Lynching Resolution?
By C. Stone Brown
© 2005®
July 06, 2005
Related Article: Remembering One of America's Darkest Chapters: Lynchings
DiversityInc Book Review: Fire in a Canebrake by Laura Wexler

Senators Opposed to
Anti-Lynching Legislation
Lamar Alexander (Tenn.)
Thad Cochran (Miss.)
Trent Lott (Miss.)
Craig Thomas (Wyo.)
Michael Enzi (Wyo.)
Judd Gregg (N.H.)
John Sununu (N.H.)
John Cornyn (Texas)
Richard Shelby (Ala.)
Robert Bennett (Utah)
In an effort to reconcile and heal the open wounds still left from the thousands of lynching deaths that occurred in the United States, a bipartisan Senate resolution to apologize for the Senate's past inaction to pass federal anti-lynching laws was approved last month. Amazingly, not all the U.S. senators agreed.


Ironically, two southern senators, George Allen, R-Va., and Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., were the sponsors of the resolution, introduced in February. At that time, more than 30 senators from both parties signed on as cosponsors, and eventually, 90 of the 100 senators signed on as cosponsors. However, 10 Republican senators refused to support the apology, and another—Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.—offered them anonymity by refusing to require a roll-call vote, so their votes wouldn't be part of the official record.


The 10 Republicans opposed to the resolution are Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Thad Cochran and Trent Lott of Mississippi, Craig Thomas and Michael Enzi of Wyoming, Judd Gregg and John Sununu of New Hampshire, John Cornyn of Texas, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Robert Bennett of Utah.


"I don't feel I should apologize for the passage or the failure to pass any legislation by the U.S. Senate, but I deplore and regret that lynchings occurred and those committing them were not punished," Cochran told The Associated Press.


The resolution condemned lynching as the "ultimate expression of racism in the United States following Reconstruction" and said that at least 4,742 people, most of them black, were reported lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968.


Seven U.S. presidents over the course of 60 years attempted to get at least 200 anti-lynching bills passed through the Senate but failed because of the southern bloc of senators who often killed such bills.

Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #75 on: July 06, 2005, 10:33:22 AM »

no doubt...  >:(

Which Senators Didn't Support Anti-Lynching Resolution?
By C. Stone Brown

John Cornyn (Texas)


Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #76 on: July 06, 2005, 11:39:04 AM »
got this from a friend...i didn't know the fifth was a holiday of sorts. i should celebrate the fifth and juneteenth b/c i definitely can't get into the fourth like most people do.

From NYT

Happy Fifth of July, New York!

Published: July 3, 2005
STANDING before a gathering of the Ladies' Antislavery Society in
Rochester, Frederick Douglass, newspaper editor and internationally known
voice of abolition, moved his audience with the force of his argument. It
was July 5, 1852, the day after the national celebration of American
independence. This former slave confronted a hushed crowd and a nation
with the stunning question: "What, to the American slave, is your Fourth
of July?"

David Suter
Douglass followed his question, an indictment of America's commitment to
the value of human freedom in the decades before the Civil War, with an
equally challenging reply: "A day that reveals to him, more than all other
days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the
constant victim."

In the wake of the new federal Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which allowed
bounty hunters to seize runaway slaves who had fled to states where
slavery was illegal, Douglass spoke bitterly of the betrayal of American
ideals. The law gave those accused of being fugitive slaves no right to a
trial or even to speak in self-defense. It thus endangered the already
precarious liberty of free black people everywhere in the country,
including those in New York State, where slavery had officially ended a
quarter century before in 1827.

Although most people today imagine slavery as a Southern institution, it
existed in all of the original 13 British colonies. In New York, it was an
important labor system for 200 years, beginning with the arrival of the
first African slaves in New Amsterdam in 1627. Recent excavations in Lower
Manhattan that uncovered the African Burial Ground have brought the city's
connection to slavery to public attention. Still, most New Yorkers and
Americans today have little sense of the city's and state's long
involvement with slavery. Public schools teach little of the history of
slavery that, as the historian Ira Berlin has recently remarked,
"insinuated itself into every nook and cranny of life in New York City."

Slavery was central to New York's development from its formative years as
a Dutch and British colony to the early days of the United States. During
British rule, 40 percent of New York City households owned slaves, who
accounted for 20 percent of the city's population. There were more slaves
in New York City than in any other city in the British colonies except
Charleston, S.C.

New Yorkers owned and traded in slaves, rented out their slaves as day
laborers and produced ships and trading merchandise for slaving voyages.
Landmarks in Manhattan that were built by slaves include the wall on Wall
Street, Fort Amsterdam in what is now Battery Park, the road that became
Broadway, the first and second Trinity Church buildings and the first city
hall (the Dutch Stadt Huys on Pearl Street).

The story of New York's black population during slavery includes heroes
like the poet Jupiter Hammon and the actor James Hewlett who resisted
injustice even as they produced a rich cultural legacy in the face of
adversity. And New Yorkers - both black and white - fought to erase
slavery from the state. Several prominent New Yorkers, including Aaron
Burr, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, encouraged by Long Island's Quaker
population, formed the New York Manumission Society, the state's first
antislavery club, in 1785, and two years later established the African
Free School in New York City to educate freed slaves.

New York antislavery forces pressured newspapers not to run slave-sale
advertisements and auction houses not to hold slave sales. They also
provided free legal council to slaves seeking to sue their masters for

These efforts bore fruit when the State Legislature enacted a gradual
emancipation law that took effect on July 4, 1799. The law freed all
children born to slave women after July 4, 1799, but only after at least
two decades of forced indenture. Males became free at age 28, and females
at age 25. Until then, they were tied to the service of the mother's
master. Unrestricted freedom did not come to New York's slaves until a new
emancipation law took effect 28 years later, on July 4, 1827.

As that date approached, there was considerable debate among New York's
black residents over how to celebrate abolition of slavery. In March 1827,
two New Yorkers, the Rev. Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm, established
Freedom's Journal, the nation's first black-owned newspaper, and its early
issues resound with this debate. Black New Yorkers worried, among other
things, that a parade on Broadway on the Fourth of July to celebrate
abolition would be disrupted; white revelers often attacked blacks on
public holidays.

In the end, the day after was chosen for the commemoration. And on July 5,
1827, 4,000 blacks marched along Broadway, preceded by an honor guard on
horseback and a grand marshal carrying a drawn sword. The parade wound
through the downtown streets to the African Zion Church, where the
abolitionist leader William Hamilton declared, "This day we stand redeemed
from a bitter thralldom." Celebrations were held around the state. Even
blacks in Boston and Philadelphia celebrated the news from New York. Thus,
both Douglass's speech about the significance of Independence Day to
American slaves and the celebration of slavery's end in New York on July
4, 1827, took place on the fifth.

There are no public celebrations of the fifth today, but as the history of
New York's long involvement in slavery becomes better known to New Yorkers
through lectures, debates, exhibitions and in discussions about the proper
way to memorialize the African Burial Ground, it is fitting to reclaim the
powerful significance of July 4 and 5, 1827, as a holiday of freedom for
all New Yorkers.

By restoring this historical meaning, we acknowledge the role our city and
state played in the institution of slavery. We also honor the
African-Americans who overcame its hardships and injustices to make
important contributions to New York City's cultural life, as did other
immigrants who came here more willingly.

We are the heirs of July 4, treasuring - as Douglass did - the vision of
independence set forth in Philadelphia in 1776. But we are also the heirs
of July 5, which recognizes the evolution of human freedom in our state.


Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #77 on: July 07, 2005, 06:18:52 PM »
Santorum compares abortion to slavery in new book

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Rick Santorum compares abortion to slavery in his new book "It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good," which is being promoted as an alternative to the views of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The book by Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, was in Washington bookstores on Tuesday. It describes his evolution from a young politician uncomfortable with abortion to a major player in the anti-abortion movement.

It tackles subjects ranging from home schooling to welfare reform, and advocates family over what he describes as the big government village in Clinton's 1996 book, "It Takes a Village."

"The African proverb says, 'It takes a village to raise a child,"' Santorum writes. "The American version is 'It takes a village to raise a child -- if the village wants that child."'

Santorum, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, is sometimes touted as a possible 2008 presidential candidate.

He could face a tough re-election battle for his Senate seat in 2006. Early polling shows him behind Pennsylvania state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., the favorite to win the Democratic primary.

In the book, Santorum makes the case that abortion puts the liberty rights of the mother before those of her child, just as the rights of slave owners were put before those of slaves.

"This was tried once before in America," Santorum writes. "But unlike abortion today, in most states even the slaveholder did not have the unlimited right to kill his slave."

Santorum questions why Clinton and other liberals tout decreasing abortion numbers if abortion is OK.

"When you look at the politics she would change, her 'politics of meaning' boil down to little more than feel-good rhetoric masking a radical left agenda," Santorum said.

While first lady in 1993, Clinton called for "a new politics of meaning" and said the country should pay more attention to values.

A spokeswoman for Clinton declined Tuesday to respond to the book.

T.J. Rooney, the Democratic Party's chairman in Pennsylvania, said in a statement that Santorum is out of step with the state and "every Pennsylvania woman in particular should be offended."

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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