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Post Your Interesting News Articles Here


Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #90 on: August 01, 2006, 11:47:09 AM »
thought this was interesting. although a few things shelby steele says make sense, I still think in some ways he sounds like uncle ruckus. I heard in the MLK episode he said, "if i hadn't known that the white man had such good aim, i would have shot dr. king myself." and strangely, shelby steele makes civil rights leaders out to be poverty pimps. and only the most high knws why he didn't understand what male private part gregory meant by "be hip" and "raise your consciousness" lol.

The Debilitating Effects of Rights Without Responsibility
August 1, 2006

Cornel West, the celebrity African-American studies professor, delivers the conventional wisdom when he talks about how the "rage and riots of the 1960s produced America's landmark civil rights legislation." In fact, the legislation preceded the riots. The question of why and how the opposite of the truth became a commonplace belief is at the heart of Shelby Steele's psychologically brilliant "White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era" (HarperCollins, 192 pages, $24.95).

"White Guilt" is an autobiographical meditation on why a significant portion of the black population hasn't been able to take advantage of the freedoms that belatedly came to it. Mr. Steele, one of our most respected writers on the vexed issues of race, notes that in the segregated post-World War II world, his striving father was accused of "getting above himself." "Responsibility," Mr. Steele writes,"made fools of us," because society quite literally labored to defeat his father's ambition, even as it left him entirely responsible for his life and family.

In the wake of the 1960s, Mr. Steele explains, the segregated world of responsibility without rights was replaced for blacks by a framework of rights without responsibility.In this reversal, the morally indefensible world of segregation was succeeded not by the responsibility that comes with freedom, but by the destructive assumption, according to Mr. Steele, that African-Americans shouldn't be held accountable for their actions.

"One has to be grateful to white guilt," he notes, "for bringing about possibly the greatest social transformation in American history." But it overshot its mark. The same tide that swept away segregation also took away the institutions and attitudes essential to thriving in freedom.

Whites, in what Mr. Steele calls "disassociation," strived to separate themselves from what became the stigma of racial bias.But in doing penance for the sins of racism, too many were more concerned with demonstrating their moral purity than with the actual results their policies produced. Good intentions were supposed to be enough.

What followed under the guise of eliminating "institutional racism" was the "redistribution of responsibility." Under this new dispensation, blacks as a group were considered no more the agents of their own destiny than they had been under slavery. What was different was that their suffering could be converted into political capital and social spending. And the answer to failed social spending was always more social spending.

Failure would only serve as further proof of black victimization, because race, several generations of academics and journalists explained, "was not a mere barrier but the all-determining reality" in which blacks lived.

Mr. Steele remembers a speech he heard in 1967 by the comedian male private part Gregory, who called on his black audience to "get hip" and "raise your consciousness."Thinking back, Mr. Steele realizes that he was witnessing the birth of what might be called hipster Marxism. The hipster knows the game is rigged but tries to subvert it to his own advantage. Here was an opportunity that most tricksters could only dream of, a chance, Mr. Steele explains, "for working over the master for the rube that he is."

Like mayors selling poverty to Washington,"the black leadership sold black weakness" to guilty whites looking to buy their redemption.The race hustlers claimed that there were separate "black ways of knowing" and "fad after fad like Ebonics" was an attempt to circumvent the hard work necessary for upward mobility. The idea of free will was taken by university sophisticates to be "largely a delusion of the common man, a kitschy individualism that Americans like to flatter themselves with." But the determinism was always a game on both sides since the sophisticates saw it as only applying to others.

The black leadership asserted that since racist America has been "responsible for our suffering, why not for our uplift?" But that made no sense logically.How can rest you hopes on whites after having insisted that they are all bred-to-the-bone racists? The answer, Mr. Steele argues, is that the black leadership sold forgiveness to guilty whites, who would turn a blind eye even as black leaders were bilking their own people (as was the case with numerous black mayors).

The role of the race card in sabotaging black-led cities is vividly depicted by two of the best documentary films in recent years.In "Shame of a City,"Tigre Hill captures Philadelphia's "O.J. Moment," when the incumbent mayor, an African-American, John Street, manufactured a racist conspiracy in order to salvage his sagging re-election campaign against a Republican reformer, Sam Katz. The opening scenes capture a thuggish Mr. Street, then a council member, shoving an black reporter out of his office for asking tough questions about his questionable ethics. Mr. Street, famous for a brawl in the City Council chambers, developed a smoother style as mayor. But the substance of his approach changed little.

Mr. Street publicly explained that people who wanted to do business with the city would have to "pay to play." Many businesses chose not to pay the bribes, and Philadelphia under Mr. Street barely benefited from the Clinton boom of the 1990s.

In 2003, Mr. Street was up for re-election and was losing by 6 percentage points to Mr. Katz. Mr. Street outed himself by announcing that he had "discovered" an FBI bug in his office. The Bureau was probing the city's rich vein of corruption, which would eventually lead to a slew of convictions.

But Mr. Street, who was too adroit to get caught, spun the bug into a massive racist Republican conspiracy to keep down a black man. Without being heavy-handed, Mr. Hill provides viewers with a front seat for Mr. Street's performance as a wily trickster. Once trailing, Mr. Street went on to an easy victory, while Philadelphia and its largely black population continued their slow slide downhill.

The more hopeful story of a city that may have begun to break with the race game is told by Marshall Curry's "Street Fight," nominated for an Academy Award in 2005. It captures the 2002 mayor's race in Newark, N.J. a campaign in which Sharpe James, an oldstyle political boss in the mold of Mr. Street, defeated an upstart reform Democrat, Cory Booker. Though Mr. Booker came back in 2006 to win the mayor's job and defeat the James machine, Mr. Curry's narrative is an instructive reminder of how the race card can be played even against someone of the same race. To create his own twisted version of the white conspiracy to hold the black man down, Mr. James made an issue of the light skin of the 32-year-old Stanford-educated Mr. Booker, suggesting he wasn't really black. On camera, Mr. James "played a tale" on Mr. Booker, claiming that the challenger was both "Jewish" and a "KKKer."

Mr. Curry's camera documents some of the many attempts by Mr. James and his police force to prevent him from filming on public property. In one scene, a Newark police officer explains, "You've been hanging with Cory; he's not our guy," as the police "escort" the filmmaker away from a rally for Mr. James. Mr. James made good use of intimidation. He used code violations to close down businesses that supported Mr. Booker, while his police force was openly tearing down posters for Mr. Booker.

Mr. James himself, however, had not been held down.With three homes, several boats, and a small fortune, he had done quite well off the race game, even if the blacks of Newark had not.

There is an old joke in Newark that "the only way an incumbent leaves office is in a casket or to go to jail." But if Mr. Booker's term as mayor is a success, his 2006 victory could begin to revise that cynicism. Better yet, it suggests that the tricksters, so adept at the gaming of race, whose debilitating effects Mr. Steele describes, may now have fewer cards to play.

Mr. Siegel is the author of "The Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York and the Genius of American Life," available from Encounter Books.


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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #91 on: August 01, 2006, 12:03:35 PM »
Interesting article. I read Shelby Steele's latest book. I don't agree entirely with his philosophy but some of it is illuminating. It's unfortunate that a lot of people discount all of what he says because he has conservative views.

I totally agree with his point that some opportunistic Blacks have used racism as some sort of currency with whites who seek to appear morally superior and/or who fear being branded racist. That sort of BS has hurt Black folks so much and it needs to stop.


Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #92 on: August 01, 2006, 09:25:48 PM »
Having worked on a plethora of pro bono asylum cases that were appealed to circuit courts, This article serves true.

Seeking Asylum in the U.S.? Choose Your Judge Carefully
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Immigration judges vary sharply in their willingness to grant asylum to foreigners seeking to live in the United States -- with denial rates ranging from 10 percent to more than 98 percent, according to a review of federal figures.

From fiscal 2000 through the first months of fiscal 2005, Judge Mahlon F. Hanson in Miami had the highest proportion of denials, rejecting 96.7 percent of petitioners in 1,118 cases in which the asylum seeker had a lawyer.

The study, which was released yesterday, is based on data from the Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees immigration courts, for 1994-99 and 2000-05. The report was done by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which collects and analyzes federal government data.

New York Judge Margaret McManus rejected just 0.8 percent of her 1,638 cases in which the asylum seeker had a lawyer. The median denial rate was 65 percent.

She and Hanson have contrasting backgrounds: Hanson had worked for the now-defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service. McManus was a staff lawyer with the Legal Aid Society's immigration unit.

"The goal of any court system is evenhanded justice," said Susan Long, a Syracuse University professor and co-director of the clearinghouse. "The results certainly raise questions about whether that goal is being achieved."

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales began a review of the immigration courts in January after chastising some of the immigration judges for "intemperate or even abusive" conduct toward asylum seekers. Department spokesman Charles Miller said the review is continuing.

The study said the court data "document that this problem has existed for at least a decade and that it persists even when the applicants being compared appear to be quite similar."

The United States grants asylum to people who could be persecuted in their countries because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Asylum was granted to 13,520 people in 2005, according to Citizenship and Immigration Services statistics.

Rates were worse for asylum seekers without lawyers: 93 percent lost their cases compared with 64 percent for those with a lawyer. The denial rate for all asylum seekers was 69 percent.

People from El Salvador, Haiti and Mexico were denied asylum 80 percent of the time; asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Burma were denied asylum 30 percent of the time.

Previous studies have shown similar disparities suggesting a lack of standards for judges, said Gideon Aronoff, president of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. He said success in asylum claims is a matter of "luck of the draw."

Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #93 on: August 02, 2006, 07:08:25 AM »
I saw this on XOXO (and it's pretty old), but it made sense to post it here...



It is Sunday afternoon and I am dressed in high heels, pearls and yellow silk in 80-degree weather, sitting on a hard chair talking with several women I do not know. We are gathered at the home of our hostess, a mother of three, to do what I couldn't imagine myself doing until recently: We are being prepped for initiation in Jack and Jill, a national organization for black children. More than 30 years after the crescendo of the civil rights movement, I am doing this to ensure my 6-year-old son has enough black friends.

It's a paradox that would have made Martin Luther King Jr. laugh -- or perhaps wince. After the decades the previous generations spent battering down the doors to segregated institutions, the first generation of those civil rights beneficiaries -- us -- has grown up, and we now have children of our own. Per the plan, we are living lives that are extremely integrated. Maybe (and here's where the wincing comes in) too integrated.

"She talks like a little white girl," one friend complained of her adolescent daughter. "She assumes that everyone lives the way we do. I've got to get her more grounded." The daughter in question attends an expensive private school, vacations abroad and swims in the family's backyard pool in a suburban neighborhood heavy on the standard accouterments of the upper middle class and light on minorities.

Another friend regaled us with a recent scene from her dinner table: "My husband and I were talking about corporate politics -- he's the only black partner in his law firm -- and concluding that race might have had something to do with what had gone on in the office that day. Our 14-year-old daughter just exploded. 'You people -- you think everything is about race! You should just get a grip! People are not prejudiced like that anymore!'" My friend paused. "She was just screaming at us, and she was serious. She thinks racism is kaput. We didn't know whether to burst her bubble right then or let her find out later, on her own." (They decided to let her make this discovery on her own.)

Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #94 on: August 02, 2006, 07:08:48 AM »

The irony, of course, is this: A whole raft of us -- black, gifted, ambitious -- did what the architects of the civil rights movement would have wished. We stormed the bastions, convinced (or at least impressed) the skeptics and performed competitively in educational venues that had not long before been forbidden to us. We went on to be the Lonely Onlies, many of us in workplaces that had heretofore been white -- or that had never had a black manager, editor, head resident, faculty member. We married, usually to people who had had experiences much like our own, and had children. And thanks to the slow death of restrictive residential covenants, overall increased interest in multicultural living and the expanded incomes that those good jobs afforded us, we sent our children to elite schools or moved to affluent, often suburban neighborhoods that were Safer, with More Advantages.

And then we began to notice that our kids weren't, well, as black as we had been. Whether we'd grown up in the 'hood or had integrated suburbs, we had been grounded, if not in black neighborhoods, then by the black churches to which most of us returned every Sunday. If the schools we were integrating didn't teach black history and culture, our Sunday school teachers made sure those critical gaps were filled -- packed to bursting, in fact. So along with the proverbs and parables, we learned about how the DAR refused to let Miss Anderson sing in its old building, and how her friend Eleanor Roosevelt hooked her up for a milestone concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday. We learned about the contributions of Charles Drew and Paul Robeson and Paul Lawrence Dunbar and Constance Baker Motley. If our hometown papers politely neglected to mention the war against segregation being waged in the South, our Sunday school teachers kept us current and passed the felt-bottomed plate so we could contribute to the struggle too. ("Those little children in Mississippi and Alabama are fighting for your freedom too," they would tell us. "Don't you think you could give up your candy money to help out?" Out would come the coins, bound for freedom schools.)

If Sunday school gave us a sense of community and history, Jack and Jill gave us a sense of place. There was a hidden agenda when we nice Negro children got together once a month for fun and fellowship. Even as we took our monthly excursions, the cultural message was hammered into us: Black is not just ghetto. Black is not socially or aesthetically inferior. Black is vital to American culture. In addition to picnics, movies and parties, we visited museums to admire works by black artists and dutifully trooped to hear Andre Watts in concert -- "one of ours," a supervising mother would gently but unfailingly point out.

Initially started almost 60 years ago by 20 black mothers in Philadelphia who were anxious that their privileged children have black playmates, the organization quickly blossomed. Today it embraces 216 chapters across the nation, in 35 states and the District of Columbia. There is even an international chapter in Germany. Then, as now, mothers gathered monthly to plan activities for their age-grouped children. The charter requires that these activities be educational, fun and/or culturally uplifting -- but they also had the unstated purpose of making sure that these children teetering on the edge of Total Integration would not fall and be lost, perhaps forever. "We are sending you out into Their World," was the message, "but we want you to remember where Home is too."

It worked. For children fighting their way through the pressure cooker of educational integration, Jack and Jill was a godsend. I spent my days playing field hockey, conjugating French verbs, reading Wordsworth and Tennyson (never Hurston and Ellison), the Only One in my class at a prim girls' day school. I had friendly relationships with many girls, but no truly good friends. My good friends came from the neighborhood, and from Jack and Jill. And because of that, I remembered where Home was.

I am not so sure my child will -- or perhaps it's more accurate to say I don't want to chance that he won't. Given the state of Los Angeles public schools and the impossibility of decoding what needs to be done to gain entry into the fully subscribed magnet system, it's likely that he'll spend his entire pre-college years in nominally integrated private schools, because the choice is that stark. I want him to have experiences that are self-affirming, and even the most liberal private schools cannot protect against the assumptions of superiority that are sometimes voiced by white students and their parents.

It was the stories told in muffled voices by parents saddened but not shocked to find that their children aren't being judged solely by the content of their character that made me decide. The one black boy in his circle who did not get invited to his "best friend's" birthday party. (And whose mother, when confronted about the exclusion, could only stammer, "I'm sure race didn't have anything to do with it." Uh-huh.) The 8-year-old who agonizes over her dark skin because it's different from that of "the pretty girls" in her class. The white child from a liberal, wealthy family who thought he was complimenting a black honor student when he asked, "Why is it black people never say anything intelligent? Except for you, of course; you're different."

It's because we know these slings and arrows are going to whiz at our children, no matter how we try to protect them, that Jack and Jill is becoming fashionable again. Once it was seen as an exclusionary bastion of the Negro elite, to the point that admitting to membership was considered certifiably counterrevolutionary in the late '60s and early '70s. (This even though some of the most avid revolutionaries on Ivy League campuses were Jack and Jill alumni -- although they'd rather be shot than 'fess up.) Now it's viewed as just another tool, another safeguard, to keep black children with more and more options outside the black community culturally grounded.

"My child is 14," confided the woman sitting next to me. She was slim and elegant in a navy pantsuit and queenly cornrows. "His school is fairly integrated -- I mean, he's not the only one -- but I want him to have other children as friends too. Right now, his best friend is white, and I'm fine with that. But I worry about the future." She means when her son is dating age and all of a sudden, the groupings get to be more homogenous and the kids who are "different" find themselves excluded, or included as cultural mascots, badges of white hipness.

A neighbor whose child is in a Hollywood-heavy school empathizes with the Jack and Jill initiate's worry: "Here I've been, Afrocentric all his life, pointing out the beauty of black women, the importance of black culture. We vacation in Africa and the Caribbean, in part so he can go somewhere and feel what it's like to be the majority culture. And after all that, who does he bring home as a steady girlfriend? Some little blond girl! I don't want to be prejudiced, and I'm trying to live with it, but it's hard."

Although Jack and Jill is the oldest and most established of the social organizations for children, it's not the only one. A rival, Hansel and Gretel, has several chapters nationwide. And across the country, black parents are struggling to establish informal, local groups that address the same need. Here in Los Angeles, a group of concerned parents got together to found Onyx Village. Many of the parent members are in the entertainment industry -- LaTonya Richardson Jackson, actress and wife of Samuel L., is one of the founders. They live incontestably affluent lives, often in neighborhoods where black children have to be ferried to visit one another. The group meets monthly to inculcate children with black culture and history, and to provide them with an additional circle of friends who just happen to be, in the words of poet Lorraine Hansberry, young, gifted and black.

It's for those same reasons that many of my friends hasten back to Martha's Vineyard every summer. One lifelong summer resident confided as we sat on the beach several summers ago: "It's important for our kids to have some time where they can all run around together and see that black is many things -- not just what they see in the movies or on TV. Black Ph.D.s, M.D.s, artists, bankers -- all those folk are just as real and just as black as rap stars and professional athletes. Is it convenient to come here? No. Is it essential? Yes."

Which brings me back to why I was dressed in stockings and silk on a beautiful day when I could have been doing something else. Was it convenient for me to join Jack and Jill, with its labor-intensive mother's committees and onerous dues? No. Is it essential? That answer is still, I'm afraid, yes.


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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #95 on: August 02, 2006, 07:15:23 AM »
Ah, the trials and travails of the Black and Successful.


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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #96 on: August 02, 2006, 07:34:49 AM »
LOL! I hope someone will have mercy and shoot me if I EVER come off sounding as self-important as the writer of that article.


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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #97 on: August 02, 2006, 07:38:48 AM »
I think it's a good article.  It touches on something that I've observed about many 'priveleged' black kids. It's an issue that worries me for my (future) kids.  Growing up on an island that's 60% black, I attended mostly black public schools and churches.  I saw plenty of sucessful black people, including our premier (head of govt).  I know who I am, but that racism exists and white privelage exists.  Contrast that with family friends whose father is Bermudian, but his daughters grew up in an Atlanta suburb.  They're about my age, but seem to think that racism doesn't exist and that life is all well and good.

My parents made sure that we know who we are and where we come from, and hopefully my kids will be grounded in that.


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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #98 on: August 02, 2006, 07:43:38 AM »
I agree with MoniLi.  I've just accepted the fact that my kids are going to have to participate in these kinds of programs.


Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #99 on: August 02, 2006, 07:46:19 AM »
I haven't read the entire article, but are you saying thta you are going to have your kids participate in jack and jill?