- Created on 29 August 2013
Paul explained, "As humans, yeah, we do have an obligation to give people water, to give people food, to give people health care, but it's not a right because once you conscript people and say, 'Oh, it's a right,' then really you're in charge. It's servitude. You're in charge of me and I'm supposed to do whatever you tell me to do."
For someone who is being sold as this great, caring guy in the article for his charitable contributions as a surgeon, he has a very odd idea of what charity entails. Am I to assume that as a White man born of certain privilege, he looks at everything through the scope of power?
There's a case to be made either way, but one thing is for certain: He comes from a place where he can afford to think everyone should have to fend for themselves no matter the circumstances they were born in to and the factors at play fighting to see that they don't ever overcome them.
By Paul's logic, if I find myself waiting for one or four checks and someone pays for my drinks at happy hour, they are my new master. I already ran this by a friend and she's since offered her services, noting that in turn she will order me to twerk on command. Think Beyoncé, not Miley Cyrus.
Seriously, though, Paul has a knack for hyperbole and comparing various government-provided services to slavery. In 2011, Paul said that when one believes in a right to health care, "It means you believe in slavery. It means that you're going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses."
So he more or less remixed this notion in the National Review story, only this time those wretched poor folks are giving farmers the blues. After all, "You don't have a right to anyone else's labor. Food's pretty important; do you have a right to the labor of the farmer?"
But as Zack Beauchamp of Think Progress explains, " In a democratic-capitalist economy, people have a right to choose their career and, as it turns out, enough people end up being farmers that there's generally enough food to go around." People are being fed and the food that is provided to them has been paid for. How exactly is that slavery?
There's so much cognitive dissonance prevalent in Paul's commentary.
He's so concerned about the government telling people what to do as it relates to health care and other government programs that he's against abortion and marriage equality. Likewise, he's so torn up about the prospect of the government paying farmers for food to help feed the poorest of the poor that he calls it "slavery," but somewhere along the way he neglected to note that by his own definition, corporations are enslaved by the American citizens who help subsidize them with our tax dollars. And really, aren't those multinational, tax evading, greedy, personhood-claiming corporations so good to Massa?
I'd also love to ask Rand Paul, who is denied by Senate rules to continue working as a doctor despite his petitions to do so, if he were allowed to continue his second job, would he refuse any Medicaid and Medicare monies? Follow up question would be whether or not he did before he became a senator? Bonus round: Is he Rand Paul Unchained?
- Created on 28 August 2013
Editor's note: Steven A. Holmes covered race for eight years at The New York Times and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for the newspaper's 2000 "How Race is Lived in America" series. He is now executive director in CNN's Office of Standards and Practices.
(CNN) -- So we've gone from Martin to Martin. The five decades from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Dream" to Trayvon Martin's death have been the most tumultuous in the country's racial history since the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Blacks have seen progress and regression; triumphs and disappointments; great leaps forward and today's racial stalemate. Charismatic leaders have flashed across the scene and burned out quickly. Others have lasted as spokesmen for African-Americans for decades -- too long in the eyes of some people, black and white alike.
New movements such as those fighting for the rights of Latinos, women and gays have become valuable allies while, at the same time, diverting money and attention from the cause of African-Americans.
Courts and government policies have at times boosted black progress and at other points been a millstone around their necks. Black leaders have been brilliant tacticians and have made costly mistakes.
The 50 years since the March on Washington have produced a number of "signposts": events and trends that have shaped the civil rights struggle and today's racial landscape. Ten stand out as having the most impact over time on the well-being of blacks and whites and on their underlying attitudes toward each other. Some of the signposts are very familiar; some are more obscure. Some propelled the nation toward racial harmony; some became significant roadblocks. Many have changed American society in ways that extend beyond race. All changed the arc of racial history.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1968 Fair Housing Act
These two landmark pieces of legislation in effect brought an end to legalized segregation. Though the Supreme Court had said the doctrine of "separate but equal" was unconstitutional in education more than a decade earlier, it wasn't until the passage of these two laws that legalized Jim Crow was outlawed in virtually all aspects of American society. There have been arguments about how strongly the laws have been enforced. But, the main impact was to put the power of the federal government, particularly the federal courts, on the side of African-Americans -- and others, including whites -- who have felt the lash of discrimination.
The law enacted to protect African-Americans has had an impact far beyond race. At the last minute, Southern conservatives added language to have the act cover bias based on gender, figuring that would kill the bill. It stayed in and later would become the basis, not only fighting discrimination against women in hiring and promotion, but also combating sexual harassment in the workplace.
The 1965 Voting Rights Act
Often lumped together with the other civil rights measures of the 1960s, the Voting Rights Act deserves special mention because of how much it fundamentally reshaped the American political environment. Freed of the restraints imposed on them in the South, African-Americans flocked to the polls over the years electing black officials and producing radical changes in both Democratic and Republican parties. In 1970, five years after passage of the Voting Rights Act, there were 1,470 black elected officials throughout the country. Today there are more than 10,000.
But the impact did not stop there. Black voters became a force to be catered to within the Democratic Party. Since 1976, only one candidate -- Michael Dukakis in 1988, mainly because his main rival, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, siphoned off African-American support -- has secured the Democratic presidential nomination without winning the majority of black votes in the primaries.
On the Republican side, the Voting Rights Act began a migration of conservative Southern whites from the Democratic Party to the GOP, where they pushed Republicans further to the right not only on racial issues, but also with regard to crime, national security, taxes, government spending, abortion and gay rights. The Voting Rights Act, says David Bositis, a senior analyst with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington think tank that specializes in racial issues, "brought fundamentalist Protestants into the Republican Party and gave the party a Southern flavor that persists to this day."
Inner-city riots and the rise of Black Power
Starting with unrest in New York City's Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods, American cities suffered through five consecutive summers of major unrest in its inner cities. The riots -- or urban rebellions, depending on your political philosophy -- in places such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Newark, New Jersey, and Detroit shook white America and hastened white flight from the cities and into the suburbs. Detroit went from being 28% black seven years before its devastating 1967 riot to 43% black three years afterward. By 2000 it was 81% black. Fear of similar disturbances contributed to similar white exodus in places like St. Louis and Gary, Indiana.
As whites fled, businesses and jobs went with them. While fear of further disturbances prompted federal, state and local governments to pour cash into programs to revitalize the inner cities, government aid could not make up for the flight of businesses and the lack of new private investment. Left behind was a ravaged urban landscape of concentrated poverty, poor schools, violence and deteriorating family structure that has devastated the black community and negatively affected white attitudes toward African-Americans.
The riots' most significant legacy, however, was the shift in black ideology. The disturbances accelerated an already growing impatience with the slow pace of progress and a belief that efforts toward integration were a fool's errand. What emerged was a new and strident philosophy of separation from whites -- either physical or psychological. Blacks demanded their own leadership; their own institutions, their own organizations, even their own holidays such as Kwanzaa.
Read the rest of the story here.
- Created on 23 August 2013
March On Washington 50th Anniversary: How Much Has Black Life Really Changed Since 1963? (INFOGRAPHIC)
With Jim Crow segregation, voting discrimination and rampant joblessness not yet in rear view, 1963 was a tough time to be black in America.
As we acknowledge the anniversary of the 1963 March On Washington For Jobs & Freedom, a rally with parallel issues in mind, the Huffington Post has laid out a look at black life then and now to help you decide.
Click "Next" above to see infographic.
- Created on 22 August 2013
WASHINGTON (AP) — Has the U.S. achieved Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of a colorblind society? Fewer than half of all Americans say the country has made substantial progress in the past 50 years toward racial equality, a new poll shows.
Despite a heightened sense of racial progress immediately following the 2008 election of the first black president, Americans' views of black progress have waned.
The study, released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, offers a mixed picture of progress five decades after King made his historic "I Have a Dream" speech calling for racial equality. The center is a Washington-based research organization.
While large majorities of blacks and whites say the two races generally get along "very well" or "pretty well," blacks continue to substantially lag whites when it comes to household income and net worth, and nearly 8 in 10 African-Americans say a lot of work remains to be done to reach racial equality.
Blacks are more likely than other race groups to say they have been discriminated against in the past year — 35 percent vs. 20 percent for Hispanics and 10 percent for whites — with majorities of blacks saying they are treated less fairly than whites in dealing with police, in the courts, in local public schools or on the job.
President Barack Obama's 2008 election only temporarily boosted perceptions of progress for blacks. After initially rising across all races, the percentage saying blacks had gained ground in the last five years has dropped to levels last seen in 2007.
Only 1 in 4 African-Americans say the situation of black people is better now than five years ago, down from 39 percent in 2009. Among whites, it fell from 49 percent to 35 percent.
Overall, 49 percent of Americans say "a lot more" remains to be done to achieve racial equality. Among blacks, the share climbs to 79 percent, compared with 44 percent for whites and 48 percent for Hispanics.
"The public seems to be saying that we as a society are heading in the right direction, but we aren't there yet," said Pew senior editor Rich Morin. "Most Americans realize we have made at least some progress in the past 50 years, just as large majorities say that we need to do more to truly become a colorblind society."
Howard University sociologist Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau, said waning perceptions of black progress since Obama's election reflect a bit of a reality check. The recent recession also hit blacks hard, particularly in employment, he said.
The Pew report shows many recognize the economic hardship facing African-Americans. Overall, Americans are four times as likely to say the average black person is worse off than the average white person, though 41 percent say they are equally well off.
Recent analysis by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that confidence among African-Americans in Congress and the executive branch has dropped sharply since spiking in 2010, amid increasing political polarization and a divided government.
"Part of what we see over and over again is the limits of political power" to bring about economic equality, Harrison said, pointing in part to deeper structural obstacles for blacks such as lower wealth or segregated neighborhoods.
"Our problem is that given current inequalities in where people start, many of them directly traceable to histories of discrimination and exclusion, these inequalities are likely to be preserved and perpetuated through future generations even if our society were to become genuinely colorblind," he said.
The Pew findings also coincide with an analysis by the AP-NORC Center showing optimism about the nation's future divided by race as well as income and education levels, with blacks and Hispanics taking a more positive outlook than whites.
That finding comes despite economic hardship hitting those of all races. The AP reported last month that 4 out of 5 U.S. adults have struggled with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least part of their lives, with white pessimism about their economic future at a 25-year high.
In the Pew survey, perceptions of economic disparity by race were less pronounced among those with lower income levels. Both blacks and whites with incomes below $50,000 annually were less likely than their higher-income counterparts to say blacks are worse off than whites. More than 40 percent of the poor are white.
Census data show that whites outpace blacks in median net worth — 14 to 1. In 2011, median black household income was 59 percent of median white income, up modestly from 55 percent in 1967.
—By political party, about 56 percent of Republicans say the U.S. has made a lot of progress toward racial equality, compared with just 38 percent of Democrats. When asked how much more needs to be done, 35 percent of Republicans say "a lot" compared with 63 percent of Democrats.
—About 7 in 10 blacks say they are treated less fairly than whites in dealing with police (70 percent) or in the courts (68 percent). And the Pew report shows that in 2010, black men were more than six times as likely as white men to be incarcerated. That's up from 1960, when black men were five times more likely to be in a federal or state prison, or local jail.
— Blacks are more likely than other race groups to say they are treated less fairly than whites on the job (54 percent); in local public schools (51 percent); in getting health care (47 percent); when voting in elections (48 percent); and in stores or restaurants (44 percent).
The Pew survey includes interviews with 2,231 adults by cellphone or landline from Aug. 1-11, 2013, including 1,471 non-Hispanic whites, 376 non-Hispanic blacks and 218 Hispanics. Among all adults, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. It is higher for subgroups.
Pew Research Center: http://www.pewresearch.org