Wonder how much of this bias goes on at prestigious Ivy League schools and Ivy-feeder private prep schools like this. Why should you care? Those who enter the halls of power at an early age have a higher chance of attaining wealth and power at a later age, no? This is why African-Americans and minorities still insist that affirmative action is important and that the playing field isn’t level yet. Clip from the story:

An African-American educator hired to promote diversity at the tony Riverdale Country School contends he was told to avoid the children of black celebrities and find more “full-paying Asians and non-Jews,” the Daily News has learned.
In a lawsuit set to be filed today in Bronx Supreme Court, Shereem Herndon-Brown says he was hired as admissions director to increase diversity at the $31,200-a-year Riverdale Country School’s middle and upper schools.

But he alleges his efforts were thwarted by Headmaster John Johnson.
Johnson persuaded Herndon-Brown to avoid recruiting children of African-American celebrities, like Sean (Diddy) Combs and Spike Lee, because such parents “would not be a good addition to the parent body,” according to the lawsuit.

Even famous wealthy black folks can’t catch a break. If they aren’t acceptable, then who is? I went to an elite private school and my education was funded with a set of three scholarships and my mother’s sweat and tears. I wasn’t wealthy but I knew within a few months why I had been recruited. My middle class background was unthreatening unlike P.Diddy and Spike Lee — or kids from harder knocks. Also I was smart enough for the white kids to sharpen their claws on in preparation for competing in the real world. I chose the Ivy League school I ended up attending in part because it had the highest percentage of minority students at the time of any of the Ivies. This percentage included minorities of all kinds and foreign students. That percentage showed at least a effort to striving for diversity. That percentage was 8%.

Hat tip: Playahata

A new Baylor University study, the first of its kind, gets in-depth on religious attitudes and practices in the U.S. Things are changing rapidly. Interesting slice from Washington Post:

Beliefs about God’s personality are powerful predictors, according to the survey. Those who considered God engaged and punishing were likely to have lower incomes and less education, to come from the South and to be white evangelicals or black Protestants. Those who believed God to be distant and nonjudgmental were more likely to support increased business regulation, environmental protection and the even distribution of wealth.

The changing demographics of the United States demand different polls as well, religion pollsters say. For example, approximately 3 percent of Americans observe faiths other than Christianity and Judaism. While still small, this group is growing rapidly, and scholars say that if current trends continue, that number could reach 10 percent in coming decades.

According to Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg, who focuses on religion, that is already the figure for Americans younger than 25.

African-Americans in general tend to find faith large part of their past, present and future. The conservatives have somehow co-opted the language of morality, truth and righteousness even though this was once the province of progressives in the civil rights and labor movements. Progressives seeking to broaden their influence in American society must appeal to people’s moral centers authentically, particularly among the growing base of minority voters. Iraq and Katrina have forced many people back to the Democratic party. Let’s figure out how to turn that from a backlash against Republicans and into an embrace of progressive values.

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Vote? Why fiddle dee dee — who’d want to do a silly lil ol’ thing like that? Now, angry negros wanting “change”, y’all just shuffle on outta here and make yourselves useful doing something else. Other than voting.

For hours this morning in one of the richest counties in the nation, the critical pre-work voting time slot was hamstrung because there weren’t enough electronic voting cards. There was also confusion about whether or not voters could use provisional ballots, apparently many were naturally told no.

Now, surely this comes as no surprise to officials in charge. Surely someone knew that the voting cards weren’t available and yet made no backup plans to ensure voting went on smoothly nonetheless. Some folks are saying that this helps Al Wynn, the imcumbent for Congress and Kweisi Mfume for Senate. I tend to disagree — Mfume has been relying on GOTV efforts in the black community sending supporters to black mega-churches in Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s County. If the vote is suppressed, Cardin probably stands to gain. We see what happens…

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Just a note on this sad anniversary. I took an Amtrak train headed for New York this weekend. Busiest Amtrak corridor. No one checked or scanned my luggage in any way. The only thing that has changed since 9/11 is that you can’t just walk on the train like you used to. Someone looks cursorily at your ticket as you board. No one checked my identification at any time to verify I was who I said I was.

This — after numerous terrorist Al Qaeda-linked train bombings since 9/11 in Bombay, Madrid and London.

This is Homeland Security. Do you feel safer now?

Only a real loser like Al Wynn pretends to have friends who actually support another candidate. Perhaps Wynn had the endorsement of many traditional progressive organizations in previous campaigns and simply can’t believe they are no longer dazzled by — or afraid of him. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a major union, says that Wynn is claiming an endorsement from them that they have actually given to the super-fantastic Donna Edwards. They even wrote him a formal letter asking him to remove their name from his literature. UNITE-HERE says they haven’t endorsed him either. Wonder how many other fake endorsements he’s pimping?

Stop frontin’, Wynn. It’s time to slither out of office and let a principled person like Miss E. into Congress.

Cross-posted on MyDD

This week in minority politics, brought to you by Jack and Jill Politics typed to you to the sounds of The Joint, the reggae channel on XM Radio. Let’s dive right into some playa-hating, shall we?

Losers This Week:

Al Wynn, whose greasy shell game involving possibly illegal corporate donations to his Maryland Congressional campaign was exposed on MyDD. Fortunately, there’s another candidate for this seat who also happens to be African-American: Donna Edwards. If you live in her district in Maryland, get out and make sure a progressive candidate who will care more for constituents than corporations wins this time. Wynn doesn’t deserve to win.

John Bolton, who has brought a not very unique blend of racism, aggression and blunt ideological stupidity to his tenure as U.N. Ambassador got the bum rush from Sen. Lincoln Chafee. During Senate hearings, Chafee probed Bolton’s thoughts that “shaping the Middle East” is “one” of the significant challenges of our time. Shouldn’t the people living in the Middle East shape their own destiny? I thought Manifest Destiny went out of fashion in the 19th century? Looks like Bolton may be looking for a new job come Jan.

Condi Rice blows any remaining credibility with Black women between the ages of 25-55 or really any thinking American with her head-scratching statements in popular Essence magazine comparing critics of the Iraq war to those who tacitly supported slavery during the Civil War. Repugnant, reactionary, desperate and disgraceful.

Michael Steele is revealed this week as a real-live Right Wing Republican, despite elaborate efforts to shuck and jive, duck and dodge what he calls the Scarlet R. Much to his dismay, he receives a warm, heartfelt endorsement from the conservative Washington Times.

Arnold Schwarzenegger gets caught with his pants down saying about fellow Republican lawmaker Bonnie Garcia and Cuban/Puerto Rican Latinas in general:

“I mean, they are all very hot,” the governor says. “They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it.”

For some reason, this isn’t going over so well in California. Chris Bowers suggests that the Governator can help handicap the next season of Survivor.

Immigrant Rights Groups shift their goal of a million new voter registrations from 2006 to a million in 2008. For those of us who heard during historic marches earlier this year — “Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote” — this is a big disappointment given the human rights that are coming under scathing attack right now from the right wing.

YouTube continues to have a problem dealing with the legions of white supremacists using the site to organize and share their hate with each other and the world. YouTube members led by Kwaichi and the YouTube Anti-Racism Collaboration are fighting back without much help from YouTube the company.

White Candidates hinting they might apply for the Congressional Black Congress learned this week that the CBC has decided to stay Black.

George “Macaca” Allen gets the boot from the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund which decided to rescind its Community Leadership Award under pressure from donors.

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Al Wynn thinks he can keep winning by fooling folks. He’s a cheater, a crook and a liar. It’s not about serving the people and bettering lives for his constituents. Instead, it’s all about the benjamins for Wynn. Check this out: (emphasis mine)

What’s weird is that Wynn is getting $2000 donation after $2000 donation from people whose employers and job titles are listed only as ‘information requested’. I haven’t counted how many donors he didn’t collect information from, but this is not a new pattern; in 2003, the FEC fined Wynn for not listing the occupation or employer of over 51% of his donors. That’s a big deal, because it means that it’s very difficult to trace or report on conflicts of interest. Given the amount of developer, energy PAC, and telecom PAC money he’s already getting, it’s nearly impossible to tell if someone at a company is making all their employees give to Wynn by looking through public filings. Wynn simply doesn’t list the employers or jobs for many of his big donors.

Marylanders in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties deserve better than this. Vote for Donna Edwards next Tuesday and you vote for a sister with strength and integrity. In the case of Wynn, it’s safe to hate both the playa — and the political game.

African-Americans deserve a seat at the table in Congress — a seat that doesn’t have to be greased with shady under-the-table corporate cheddar.

The Washington Times online has a front page article about the Congressional Black Caucus and whether or not they would deny the possible applications of two white Democratic candidates running in majority black districts to join the CBC.

While the CBC has had honorary members, the CBC is re-affirming its blacks-only policy for full voting privileges. One CBC member has said the white candidates are using “political ploys to bolster their image with the black constituency they are seeking to represent.”

White supremacists would say: “Oh it’s ok for blacks to have an exclusively African-American congressional caucus but what would happen if some white Members of Congress created the Congressional White Caucus? They wouldn’t be allowed!”

A minority caucus is created to defend minorites from the inevitable tyranny, expressed legislatively, of the majority. Whites are fast becoming minorities in some states like California. Will we one day see the need 30 or 40 years from now for a Congressional White Caucus to protect a minority from the inevitable tyranny of the majority black and brown citizens of the United States? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, the CBC has become increasingly powerful — and increasingly corrupt — with a tension between pro-business blacks (like Al Wynn) and black progressives wanting hmmm…progress (like super-cool Maxine Waters). Let’s hope that Detroit Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick can bridge the gap as the next CBC Chair.

Over at the Afro-Netizen, there’s a good article on the failure of the government to re-build New Orleans and provide what many of us would expect from a modern government after this kind of major disaster and displacement. Folks, even the U.S. Postal Service does a better job of helping you when you move. This is the new and improved Homeland Security:

More than 200,000 displaced former residents of New Orleans, spread across 46 different states, who have been denied their human right to return face numerous obstacles to be able to come home. They have no way of knowing the current state of their homes and neighborhoods-basic issues like whether the water and electricity are running, or whether their local schools are open. Their remains no centralized source for this information, neither government-run services nor private news sources. Most government decisions affecting their neighborhoods do not make it into the news broadcasts in their new communities. Without this necessary information it is nearly impossible for displaced people to make an informed decision to move back home.

Glad to see the U.S. Congress and the military-industrial complex has really swung into action to serve Americans in need. The Americans paying their salaries. I agree with Matt Stoller over at MyDD. Can someone please explain to me why Democrats have not hammered home the fallacy of the Bush adminstration’s assertions that we are safer? Where have all the billions of dollars gone that Congress appropriated to recover from Katrina — looks like it was into somebody’s back pocket. Like Jeffery Buchanan of CounterPunch writes: it’s just lip service and profiteering. And a violation of human rights. AND perhaps a major election issue. So why ain’t it?

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Michael Steele running for the Senate in Maryland has been running away from the Scarlet R as he puts it — his identity as a Republican candidate. Too bad there are so many pictures of him side-by-side with Bush. His ads have consistently tried to paint him as a centrist/McCain-style conservative and gloss over his actual party affiliation which is left off his TV/YouTube ads and even off his website — his homepage shows no open indication that he is Republican. Fancy that!

Now some Maryland Dems have put together TheRealSteele.com to expose his history of flip-flopping and actual positions — this is the same guy who compared stem cell research to the Holocaust in front of a Baltimore-based Jewish organization. Not too long ago, he described himself as a “radical Republican” in 2001. (shiver) He’s pro-life, pro-Social Security privatization and pro-Iraq War. And btw, pro-Bush. This is the guy who claims he wants change? Just who is he trying to fool with this slick-as-snake-oil ad?

Now that Congressional Republicans and Bush in particular remain consistently unpopular with angry voters, Steele’s strategy is best described as “cut and run”. (Hat tip: Oliver Willis) Voters want change and Steele is pretending to be what voters want. Trouble is, he’s still just a Republican wolf in Democratic clothing.

In the latest outrageous and fallacious Bush adminstration offense against war critics, Condoleeza Rice is quoted in Essence Magazine — the pre-eminent and widely read lifestyle magazine targeted at African-American women — saying:

“I’m sure there are people who thought it was a mistake to fight the Civil War to its end and to insist that the emancipation of slaves would hold,” Rice said in the new issue of Essence magazine.

“I know there were people who said, ‘Why don’t we get out of this now, take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves?’” Rice said.

The fact that this garbage appeared in a magazine shows how far ahead the Republicans have planned this messaging to strike back at their critics. The talking points include equating opponents of staying the course in Iraq to WW II-era fascists, Nazi sympathizers, Communist fellow-travelers and now, Confederate flag-wavers.

Hat tip to Carpetbagger Report for the story. You’re right that black columnist Eugene Robinson may have been too quick to praise Rice for her rhetorical self-restraint. You underestimate though the power and influence of this magazine and what this indicates about the planned outreach strategy to the African-American community from the Bush administration. These are the same people you’ll remember who have been telling Bush that he is like Lincoln. I’m sure they’ll find a way to draw comparisons between critics of their handing of Katrina relief/reconstruction and slavery supporters as well!

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You’ll remember I’ve rapped to you before about the racism and anti-racism going back and forth on YouTube. Well, I learned through “Stormfront” which is the center of the current White Supremacist online conversation — think DailyKos, but for racists — that there is an organized debate with stopwatches and rules going on right now.

Check it out here. It’s YTARC vs. the ProHateDebate. Right now, the racist videos are getting more views overall. I hope you can help me change that! And also: Go Kwaichi! Go YTARC (YouTube Anti-Racism Collaboration)!

The forces of racism are getting better organized, more sophisticated and increasingly aggressive online to recruit for their position. We must stay on top of this and show the falsehoods behind their misplaced hate. Don’t believe me? JewWatch, an anti-semitic and racist site, currently gets more traffic than the U.S. Holocaust Museum (which is a great site, btw) and is ranked 44,675 to ushmm.org’s 74,553 in Alexa’s traffic rankings. Disturbing, isn’t it? Note the heavy use of YouTube video embeds on the JewWatch site.

Check it out here. (Hat tip: Alternet).

Queen Latifah at the MTV Video Music Awards:


“We’re messing with Mother Nature like never before. Our planet is seriously getting out of balance. It’s time to change to save our future.”

She adds. “No BS.” Then Al Gore tells us he’s sexy and shows the MTV audience some scary pictures. Take a look at the Think MTV/Al Gore Break the Addiction website. It’s pretty good and gives you some concrete things to do to help save our future. Start with Examine Yourself. I know I am.

Ok, so my first recommendation in fighting global warming is to change the name. Scientists came up with this name. It has been sort of popularized, but I am sorry. “Warming” does not sound nearly serious enough.

“Warming” sounds like what I do with pop tarts. Or leftovers. Or when spring comes. It sounds almost…pleasant. Warming sounds good. We need words that sound bad. Very very bad.

This is called re-framing. You’d better believe that those who wish to maintain the status quo such as ExxonMobil will be doing it more and more in the face of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and those who wish to fight back against global warming and the severe world consequences global warming brings. Thanks Oliver Willis for the news clip.

Here are a few suggestions — do me a favor and start to think of your own. Then start to use them in everyday conversation to see which ones resonate. How about:

Global Collapse
Global System Failure
Global Failure
Global Meltdown
Earth Meltdown
Earth Collapse
Storm Engine
Storm Surge
Fifth Horse of the Apocalypse (ok, just kidding about this one)

I came under a lot of pressure from (white) friends to see An Inconvenient Truth. I felt I was more or less up to speed on global warming — hey, I recycle, I drive a hybrid, I use those new lightbulbs at home. It’s a problem but I’m doing my lil bit, right?

“No, you don’t understand!” they said. “You have to see the movie.” OK, so I got around to it this weekend. I figured, finally I could cross it off my list of “important”, “must-see” left-leaning documentaries.

To my surprise, An Inconvenient Truth turned out to be, for me at least, an almost religious experience. As a girl, I read in the Bible:

Genesis 1:26 –
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Al Gore is here to tell us that we basically get an F- from God on this particular chore of looking after the earth. Oh and by the way, the end of the world — if we continue on the same path — is roughly 50 or so years from now. Because of global warming.

I went through a lot of emotions during the movie including “Oh my god. Oh my god. OH.MY.GOD.” A small vein began to throb in my forehead and when I looked around the theater, I saw that a lot of other people were holding their heads too.

I also noticed that I was the only black person in the theater.

Sure, you can say I went to a theater that mostly attracts hip urban white people. And I know I am not the only African-American person to see this movie. Outside of a limited pool of black intelligentsia and black bohemians, how many have seen this movie, do you reckon?

I reckon not many.

I drove up to the Hunts Point Saturday for a screening of Inconvenient Truth, followed by an iChat with Al Gore. The host was a group called Generation Engage; the crowd was mostly college kids; one of the handful of locals there, an artist, said she’d “never seen so many white people in the Bronx in my life.”

And that’s too bad, because if anything is actually going to get done about global warming, it’s going to have to include the majority of African-Americans. We’ve been the moral conscience of the nation for a long time now. Al Gore treads perhaps too lightly on the spiritual aspects of this problem. But this is the kind of movie that church congregations should watch together. And then form a plan for changing the way we live. Cuz clearly, we ain’t livin’ right.

How did you feel looking at those pictures from Hurricane Katrina? Did it upset you? Make you mad? Well get ready to see a few more pictures like that. Because the consequences of global warming will hit the black and the brown first and worst. Like the East Asian tsunami, like Katrina. It’s no coincidence that we are seeing these terrible storms more and more. The black and the brown of America must become vigilant and push the popular culture towards understanding and changing our impact on the earth before it is too late.

Our opponents are those who have already given up. Who believe that the end times are already upon us. And that includes basically every black women over the age of 75-80 — your grandmother and my grandmother. We must fight denial, sure. But we must also fight those who will refuse to change, either because they are resigned to the destruction of the earth or because they think their wealth will protect them.

By the middle of the movie, even before Al Gore launched into his pep talk, I was ready to fight. That is the only attitude that has any hope of saving us. One friend I talked to told me she and her husband were actually considering adopting instead of not having a child because of “An Inconvenient Truth”. They might save a child already here on earth, but why create a life that may never see the future? I told her we must continue to hope. What better demonstration of faith and hope that we can turn this around than to have a child (and adopt too, which was their first plan)?

African-Americans are the experts in this country on faith, hope and the fight to bring that faith and hope to light even when everything — including the system — is against us. We can and must be a part of this battle. We know how to change minds and hearts to achieve what looks impossible.

Like many African-Americans, I grew up steeped in the church. My own beliefs have become influenced by ideas both inside and outside of Christianity over the years. That background though gave me a moral foundation for which I am grateful. Al is right — global warming is not a political issue. It is a moral, ethical and in my opinion maybe also a spiritual issue.

So you’ll see me writing about this subject of global warming more often. I hope you’ll join me in seeing the movie which breaks it down for you why this is so important. Then share the movie with your friends, your family, your pastor, your church.

I hope you’ll join me and others in fighting for our future. I look forward to seeing you there.


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Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

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