- Created on 30 August 2013
Dr. Cornel West once again called Rev. Al. Sharpton a “house negro,” and accusing him and President Barack Obama of “sanitizing” the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 50th anniversary of the March of Washington, reports Mediaite.com.
“Brother Martin himself, I think, would’ve been turning over in his grave,” West said of the event. “[King would have wanted] people to talk about Wall Street criminality, he wants people to talk about war crimes, or drones dropping bombs on innocent people,” he asserted.
“Instead,” he lamented, “we saw the coronation of the bonafide house negro of the Barack Obama plantation, our dear brother Al Sharpton.” West then declared that Sharpton’s decline was “supported by [MSNBC analyst] Michael Dyson and others who’ve prostituted themselves in a very ugly and vicious way.”
Listen to West's remarks below:
During an interview with Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman, West h...
- Created on 30 August 2013
Last Saturday I joined over 150,000 people at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. It was a powerful moment that showed us how Dr. King's dream is still alive, yet reminded us how far we still have to go to see it fulfilled.
The simple backdrop of Saturday's event reminded us how much has changed in fifty years.
We gathered half a mile from the White House, where an African-American president and African-American attorney general have held office for five years. The media who attended Saturday represented the diverse races and ethnicities of the crowd, compared with the all-white media whose open bigotry toward Dr. King was on full display in the 1963 Meet the Press interview rebroadcast this week. Finally, the crowd on Saturday marched past the regal statue of Dr. King, prominently positioned beside D.C.'s Tidal Basin. We have indeed come far.
Still, so much has stayed the same.
Fifty years ago we were motivated by the killing of a young black man, Medgar Evers, and we came to the National Mall to mourn his death and ensure that he would not die in vain. This year we are motivated by the tragedy of Trayvon Martin, which has pushed many of us to rededicate ourselves to end racial profiling.
Fifty years ago we were fighting for everyone to have an equal right to vote. This year we are faced with a Supreme Court that has gutted the Voting Rights Act, and we are fighting suppressive voter ID laws, cuts to voter registration and early voting.
Fifty years ago we were inspired by the idea of a fair minimum wage and economic justice. This year we have the same inspiration.
Below, you will find my full remarks from Saturday's March on Washington. Let us celebrate our victories, and rededicate ourselves to the fight.
When they say No You Can't, we say Yes We Can!
When they say, No You Can't pass a real racial profiling ban with teeth, we say Yes We Can! Because yes we did, two days ago in New York City.
When they say, No You Can't pass the DREAM Act, No You Can't pass marriage equality, No You Can't abolish the death penalty, No You Can't expand voting rights in any state south of the Mason-Dixon Line, we say Yes We Can! Because yes, we did, just five miles from here in Maryland last year.
When they say, No You Can't restore the full force of the Voting Rights Act, No You Can't raise the minimum wage, not with this Congress, we say, Yes We Can, because, yes, we have, again and again.
So let us claim some victories right now.
Let us say yes, we will pass Trayvon's law from coast to coast.
Let us say yes, we will protect the right to vote with all our might until we win the fight finally once and for all.
And let us say, yes, we will raise the minimum wage because you cannot survive on $7.25!
Yes, we will! Yes, we will! Yes, we will! God bless you and God Bless the NAACP!!
- 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.