Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Democrats Bash Obama Yet Want Black Vote

Here are a few election-time questions to think over: Why in the world do Democrats think they can bash President Obama and his policies and still win Black votes? Why should Black voters be motivated to turn out after months of watching Democrats bash the president? What exactly is the strategy for Democrats to get Black voters out?

Many Democrats running this cycle, even in states and districts with large Black voting populations – including North Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana – have made the deduction that annoying and ignoring Black voters is less important than winning White ones. The White swing voter is supposedly a more vital target than the Black voter who is a 95 percent sure bet to vote for a Democrat. It’s a fascinating strategy featuring Democrats running in fear of their own record while ignoring what’s happened over the last six years.

Thanks to the president, Osama Bin Laden is dead. The unemployment rate is now 5.9 percent. Even the Black unemployment rate dropped from 16.5 percent in 2011 to its current 11.4 percent. More than 8 million Americans have signed up for health care. The Republican contribution? Gridlock, more than 50 votes on Obamacare repeals and shutting down the government. The approval numbers for Republicans in Congress is lower than the president’s yet Democrats shun his policies?

Read the rest of this Black Press USA article.

Monday, October 20, 2014

In Black Vote, Democrats See Lifeline for Midterms

The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Barack Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted “crushing Democratic losses across the country” if the party did not do more to attract Black voters to the polls.
African American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well-positioned to do so again in 2014,” Cornell Belcher, the pollster, wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1. “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.
Belcher’s assessment points to an urgent imperative for Democrats: To keep Republicans from taking control of the Senate, as many predict, they need Black voters in at least four key states. Yet the one politician guaranteed to generate enthusiasm among African Americans is the same man many Democratic candidates want to avoid: Obama.

Read the rest of this New York Times article.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The 2014 Elections: What’s at Stake for African Americans

The 2014 elections are almost here, and the focus is whether the Republicans can gain control of the U.S. Senate, a first since 2006.

Thirty-six seats are being contested, and Republicans need only six gains to win a majority.

The stakes are extraordinarily high for the nation. But for African Americans in particular, the outcome of the midterm elections next month may not only be a game changer, but also a game ender.

First off, Republicans consistently oppose civil rights legislation. A GOP majority in the Senate would also likely put in jeopardy measures that help moderate and low-income Americans, including one essential initiative: an increase in the national minimum wage.

Click here to read the rest of this New Pittsburgh Courier article.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Parable of the Monkeys

If you start with a cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top and then you place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray all the other monkeys with cold water.

After a while another monkey makes an attempt with same result ... all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put the cold water away.

Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one.

The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat the crap out of him.

After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one.

The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment...... with enthusiasm, because he is now part of the "team".

Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by the fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.

Now, the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water.

Nevertheless, not one of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana.

Why, you ask? Because in their minds...that is the way it has always been!

This, my friends, is how Congress operates... and this is why, from time to time:

ALL of the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Lewis Black Says F#%! Voter Suppression

At a photo shoot with ACLU’s Voting Rights Project Director Dale Ho, ACLU voting rights ambassador Lewis Black gets so f#%!in’ tired of politicians trying to deny people the right to vote.

The ACLU is fighting against bad voter suppression laws across the country.

The rules of voting are still in flux in many states, so to make sure you know your rights when you vote.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Cure for Voter Suppression Plaguing the South is Voter Registration

Ben Jealous
by Ben Jealous
Former NAACP president

As extremists in the party of Lincoln “take aim” at African Americans and other voters of color by restricting their right to vote, there is a very clear solution. The antidote to voter suppression, particularly in states south of the Mason-Dixon Line, is voter registration. New data shows that a progressive future is coming, and despite the actions of the extreme right wing, we can make it come faster.

The South is at a moment of great demographic change. Thanks to African American re-migration and Latino and Asian immigration, the population of people of color in the South has exploded. From 2000 to 2010, the non-Hispanic “white” population grew at a rate of 4 percent, while the so-called “minority” population grew by 34 percent. In 2000, the South was 34.2 percent people of color, and that number jumped to 40 percent by 2010.

Extremists on the right are aware of, and intimidated by, these facts. They understand African Americans have been the backbone of the progressive vote in the United States. They witnessed how increases in the African American vote, boosted by increases in the Latino vote, have made Southern states like Florida, Virginia and even North Carolina competitive every four years. They know South Carolina and Georgia aren’t far behind.

The extreme right wing’s response has been to attack the most basic civil rights of people of color. Out of 13 Southern states historically considered “Black Belt” states, nine have passed strict photo voter-ID laws and 11 have passed restrictions meant to limit the power of the African American vote as well as the Latino vote. These have included curtailing early voting, making it harder to register to vote, and introducing voter ID laws that have a disproportionate impact on African Americans, students, poor people and people of color generally.

What can we do to confront this injustice?

We must fight in the courts and in Congress to return the federal government to its rightful role as protector of the vote, but given the political realities, that could take years. Therefore, the antidote to voter suppression must be a massive wave of voter registration and engagement in Southern states.

There are millions of people of color in the South who remain unregistered to vote. The Center for American Progress recently released a report titled “True South: Unleashing Democracy in the Black Belt Fifty Years After Freedom Summer,” which examined the potential of these unregistered voters. Take a look at just one state, Georgia. What would happen if 60 percent of the currently unregistered voters of color were to get registered and then vote at the relatively low rates that occur for other voters of color during midterm elections (a more conservative approach than looking at higher presidential-year turn out).

The answer is breathtaking: There would be an estimated block of 357,155 “new voters,” many of whom would likely hold progressive beliefs. In a state where the last two gubernatorial elections were respectively decided by about 200,000 votes and 300,000 votes, this could shake up the political landscape in a way that favors the progressive movement.

But is this even possible?

The answer is absolutely – with the right investment in resources and support from progressive leaders. Take Florida in 2012 for example.

Leading up to the 2012 election, Florida’s governor and Legislature passed a number of measures meant to restrict the African American vote. Though some nonprofits responded by reducing their voter registration operations, the NAACP and a few other groups doubled down, and succeeded in registering over 117,000 people in heavily black communities. President Obama won Florida by 73,000 votes.

The party of Lincoln has shown a willingness to change the rules of politics in order to slow down the inevitable political changes in the South. It is up to us to double down on the one rule of politics that has always worked and will continue to work: registering voters to overcome voter suppression to make the future come faster.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Letter to My Younger Brother

The following letter was written by a young Black millennial to his younger brother. Their generation is experiencing life in America quite different than those of past generations. But, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Past generations had Emmett Till (1955) and Medgar Evers (1963). This generation has Trayvon Martin (2013) and Michael Brown (2014).

After reading this letter written to his younger brother my hopes for the current and following generations of Black men and women in this county has been uplifted. He demonstrates in this letter that he has a good understanding of the problems. More importantly, he shows that he has the intellect, determination and desire to help seek equal justice for all Black People in this nation.

We need this young man to continue on his quest to gain equality and justice for all. After all, it will be HIS GENERATION who has the mission to recover all of the progress that we had accomplished, as a race of people, during the last 60+ years. Some would say that the nation is backsliding on those accomplishments and that progress ... but, after reading this letter, I'm encouraged more than discouraged!

NOTE: This letter was written on July 13, 2013 ... just moments after Trayvon Martin's killer was declared 'Not Guilty' in Florida.

Dear Brother,

I have included family on this email. I want them to know that I have done my best to adequately arm you for the war taking place outside our doors on you and young men that look like you.

You are a wonderful, strong Black man, and I love you. I love you so very much. I love us, all of us.

Dear brother, I would fight for you at every opportunity. I would die for you. There is nothing that you could ever do, or that anybody could ever accuse you of, which would change just how much I love you. I am so proud of the young man you are, and the man that I can see you becoming. You are an honor student who loves to solve Rubik’s cubes. Not just the basic Rubik’s cubes, but the 5x5 and 6x6. You are learning both Mandarin and French. You excel in math and science, and have ambitions of attending Stanford University and becoming and neurosurgeon, satisfying your curiosity of the workings of the brain. You are a phenomenal athlete and a physical specimen who works hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle, abstaining from drugs, alcohol, coffee, fast food, and overindulgence of sweets. You love your mom and your family.

You are everything that this country has asked you to be; everything that qualifies as success. But you are Black. You are a young, Black, man. And you are a threat.

Your voice is deep, like your father and your grandfathers, commanding attention and respect. You are tall and will grow taller. You are strong, and will only become stronger because it is in your genes. Your family has tried to protect you from the realities of the world by professing the equality of all men in the United States of America. We have convinced you that despite a history of racism and a plethora of contemporary examples, with hard work and dedication you can achieve anything hear, and you’ve believed us.

However, tonight I am convinced otherwise. It is possible for you to reach the lofty goals you have set for yourself. But it is incredibly likely that the brightness of your star will intimidate others. And if not the brightness of your star, then the complexion of your skin most certainly will. For that, you can be shot dead in the streets. Not just by police. By anybody.

Please believe that you, and I, your cousins ... we are all Trayvon. We are Black men. Anything in your powerful hands can be construed and depicted as a weapon. The concrete beneath your feet for example, is a weapon. Your two Black hands themselves are weapons. The base in your voice is like the vicious bark of a rabid dog to so many who could never imagine that you were an amazing human being. Far too many people out there don’t see you as a human being to begin with, let alone amazing.

Brother, you have asked to get your ears pierced. You feel this is an expression of your identity. To this, I say no. I cannot and will not allow it. I wish I could. You should have the right to express yourself as you see fit. After all, you’ve earned it. You’ve worked hard, and I have no doubt that you will continue. You are incredibly polite and respectful of both elders and peers. If your complexion was lighter, and your hair straighter, and you could pass for something other than the Black young man that you are, then maybe, just maybe, you’d be safe.

But you are a strong Black man in the United States, and I am not willing to lose you, so you can express your right to make a fashion statement. I pray others continue to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover. I hope that men of color, men with tattoos and piercings, men of all backgrounds continue to do amazing things and show the world that their assumptions about people are incredibly ignorant. I hope people of all colors around the country will dawn hoodies as a symbol of solidarity with all those who have been unfairly judged by a court of law, or a court of public or individual opinion. But you will not. Such actions will draw visibility to the issue and eventually bring about a real conversation about race, fear, and the legal system in America.

But I will not sacrifice my brother to this battle. The cards are already stacked against you. They have been since birth. Tonight, we were reminded the degree to which this is true. One move too quickly or one glance too long is all it takes. To lose you would be more than I could bear. But to lose you and to watch your killer walk free from punishment ... that would absolutely break me. You will not willingly provide another reason for them to take you out. You and your powerful blackness have provided enough already. I am sorry that I cannot always be there to protect you.

This letter brought to mind a video of famous Black actors that was shared during the height of the Trayvon Martin tragedy. I think it is appropriate to share it with you now: