Category: Viewpoint Written by News One
Track poster girl Lolo Jones mocked Trayvon Martin’s friend, Rachel Jeantel, on Twitter by comparing her to Tyler Perry’s alter-ego ‘Madea.’
In addition to the usual racists, some classist, elitist, colorist, Talented Tenth, miseducated Black people have taken to social media to voice disgust at her inability to code-switch and her “ghetto” demeanor. They have also ridiculed her skin color and weight, in addition to laughing at her inability to read and write cursive English — even though Creole and Spanish are her first languages.
The conditioned hatred is pronounced.
Now Lolo Jones, who, as previously reported by NewsOne, went on an extended “poor little pretty girl I don’t know why my teammates hate me’ routine last year after Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells couldn’t hide their disgust with her a...
Last Updated on Friday, 28 June 2013 07:23
Category: Viewpoint Written by Rev. Jesse Jackson
Washington is descending into another silly season. Let’s end this diversion of dust and smoke as partisans hype mock “scandals” for political profit.
The real scandals — like that of children in poverty — are simply being ignored. In this rich nation, nearly 8 million children under the age of 18 are being raised in what are called “areas of concentrated poverty.” These are the ghettos, barrios and impoverished rural areas where more than 30 percent of families live below the poverty line (a little over $22,000 for a family of four in 2010, when these figures date from). The number of children living in these communities is rising: It’s up 25 percent since 2000, according to the Data Snapshot of Kids Count, the nonpartisan organization whose report is the source of this data.
Not surprisingly, African-American, Native-American and Latino children are 6 to 9 times more likely than white children to live in these areas. Children whose parents were born outside of the U.S. — the offspring of immigrants — are also more likely to be ghettoized. Two-thirds of these children are in large cities. Surprisingly, the highest rate is in the South and Southwest: Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, Texas and Arizona. With the nation moving toward becoming a majority minority nation, these children are our future. We will rise or fall depending on how successful we are in tapping their potential and in providing them with opportunity.
Right now, we’re failing the test. Our ghettos and barrios — and other communities of concentrated poverty — are dangerous to children. They’re more likely to go to impoverished and underperforming schools, more likely to be unable to find good pre-school and child care, and more likely to lack quality health care. Their housing situation is less stable and their neighborhoods often lack adequate outdoor spaces. They must survive on dangerous streets.
Children growing up in areas of concentrated poverty do worse in school and are more likely to drop out — even if they come from moderate- or high-income families. Those raised in middle- or higher income families are 52 percent more likely to fall down the income ladder if they grow up in these neighborhoods.
The scandal is that our public policy to deal with these children is as impoverished as their neighborhoods. You can’t address their challenges by shutting down a public school and opening up a charter. High-stakes testing can measure how they fall behind, but it provides no remedy.
We need a comprehensive strategy to address concentrated communities of poverty. We need to rebuild these neighborhoods with affordable housing, sensible public transport, clinics and hospitals, groceries with good food while investing in the kids — through infant nutrition, universal pre-K, smaller classes in early grades, good teachers, smart schools, afterschool programs and affordable college.
In an age where globalization has ravaged communities, Kids Count argues that we need to develop “anchor institutions” — local hospitals, universities, government agencies — that hire locally, train locally and buy locally. These neighborhoods have to be figured into citywide and regional plans, not locked out of them.
Our diverse democracy won’t survive if children discover that their success depends more on the luck of what family they are born into rather than the pluck of the work that they do. We can afford to remove the shackles that burden these children.
Last Updated on Monday, 20 May 2013 22:23
Category: Viewpoint Written by Raynard Jackson, NNPA Columnist
I was on “Washington Watch with Roland Martin” last week. This is a weekly TV show that deals with Black political issues, among other things. The roundtable discussion was very lively, but I was amazed at my fellow panelists’ response to something I said.
Americans somehow have this strange notion that all discrimination is bad. But it isn’t. We discriminate every day. You choose one restaurant over another; you watch one TV show versus another; you date skinny girls and not heavy girls.
As a matter of fact, some discrimination is quite healthy. If you know drug dealers sell their drugs in certain neighborhoods, why would you go there if you have no interest in buying drugs? If you are allergic to smoke, why would you go to a bar that allows smoking? If certain countries are more likely to kidnap an American tourist, why would you go there if you are an American?
I think most reasonable people would agree that this type of discrimination is good and healthy. Similarly, our immigration policy should have a certain level of discrimination built into the policy. I was totally surprised that my fellow panelists disagreed. They seemed to be in favor of an open borders approach to immigration. The open borders crowd basically believes that anyone who wants to come to America has a right to come here if they follow the rules.
I find this view very idiotic. If you are not an American citizen, then you have absolutely no basis for the assertion of any right. Post 911, at a minimum, our immigration policy should discriminate based on country of origin. We know that certain countries are a hotbed for producing terrorist: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia, Chechnya, etc. So, why would our immigration policy even allow people from those countries to come to the U.S. for any reason, let alone to get a green card or citizenship?
Is this discrimination? You betcha —it’s the good kind of discrimination. Just as you can have good and bad cholesterol, the same applies to discrimination. What we call affirmative action is called “positive discrimination” in France.
You don’t see terrorists being trained in Australia, the Seychelles, or Trinidad & Tobago, so therefore there should be less concern about immigrants from these countries. Is this not reasonable?
American visas, green cards and citizenship are not enshrined rights, but are privileges. No one has a right to enter into our country and we don’t need to justify our requirements for admittance into the U.S.
I am sure my fellow panelists would agree that an 80-year old-woman should not have to go through secondary screening at the airport before she gets on an airplane. Why? Because she is very unlikely to have a bomb or other weapon on her body. Is this not profiling? How many 80 year old female terrorists have you read about? Exactly my point.
But these same panelists took issue with me for saying that America should deny entry and student visas for people from certain countries. Is it discriminatory? Yes. Is it appropriate and reasonable? Yes.
Does that mean every person from a country known to produce terrorists is a terrorist themselves? Of course not, but that is not the overriding issue in my decision to deny them entry into the U.S. I am sure there are many good people from countries that are known for producing terrorists; but I am not willing to take a chance, just for the sake of making Americans feel good.
If you are the parent of a young boy, would you leave him alone with a Catholic priest? I wouldn’t. And most of you wouldn’t, either. I would venture to think that most Catholic priests are good people, but I am not willing to sacrifice my son’s safety to prove a point.
The two brothers from Chechnya who committed the bombings in Boston should have never been allowed in the U.S. Is this an indictment of all people from Chechnya? No. It simply means that the U.S. is exercising its sovereignty to determine who is admitted to its shores. This is a very reasonable and smart approach to our immigration policy. To do anything else is a reckless disregard for the future and safety of our country.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 12:47
Category: Viewpoint Written by Rev. Jesse Jackson
The student loan burden is reaching crisis proportions. Young Americans are being saddled with unsustainable debts. A New York Federal Reserve Bank study found that a stunning 43 percent of 25-year-olds had student loan debts in 2012. Debt now averages over $25,000 for graduates of four-year colleges.
Student loan debt now is about $1 trillion. The only kind of household debt that continued to rise through the recession, student loans now exceed credit card debt and rank second only to mortgages. The percentage of borrowers who are more than 90 days delinquent has risen to 17 percent, up from 10 percent in 2004.
These are the young people who’ve done everything we told them to do. They worked hard, stayed out of trouble, got admitted to college and sacrificed to succeed. Then they graduated, burdened with staggering debt, into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Many can’t find jobs; those who do often end up with low-wage and part-time work and debts they can’t repay.
Student debt is itself a huge obstacle to the recovery. Unless their parents have money, young Americans who achieve the most can’t begin to save for a down payment on a home, start a business or save for retirement.
This crisis stems from the successful conservative efforts to starve government. Cash-strapped state governments cut the contributions made to public colleges and universities. The cost of college was slowly privatized, with more and more left to the student. Those with affluent parents had no problem; those with working parents had to take on debt.
Now the crisis is coming to a head. The sequester and other budget cuts are forcing further cutbacks. Cuts in Parent PLUS loans — the subsidized loans parents can take to help pay for their children’s education — hit thousands of students. When President Obama speaks at Morehouse University on May 19, he will address a historically black college that was forced to lay off employees after over 160 students dropped out when Parent PLUS loans were denied.
Now, on July 1, student loan rates are scheduled to double to 6.8 percent if the Congress does not act. This will price millions more out of the education they have earned — and that the country needs them to get.
This is truly destructive. Everyone agrees that educating the next generation is vital if the U.S. is to remain a high-wage country with a broad middle class. Everyone understands that college and/or advanced training are the essential passports to the middle class. Yet more and more students are watching as the cost of college — and of debt — essentially locks them out.
It’s time for a change of course. In her first piece of legislation, newly elected Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has called for allowing students to borrow at the same rate that the government loans money to the big banks through the Federal Reserve discount window — 0.75 percent. Warren explains: “In effect, the American taxpayer is investing in those banks. We should make the same kind of investment in our young people who are trying to get an education.”
Warren’s reduced rates would last for a year, so the plan is only a stopgap measure. Those students who can afford to borrow only through federal loans can reduce their monthly payments based on their income. Those who borrowed during the recession can quality for income-based payments and, if they meet those payments, have their loans forgiven after 20 years (10 if they hold public service jobs).
But relief can’t be limited to the few, or for brief periods. We should return to a system that makes advanced education or technical training affordable to all who merit it. That requires funding a public university and training system with low tuition and affordable costs. If we decide to educate only the sons and daughters of the affluent, we will condemn this country to continued decline.
Last Updated on Monday, 13 May 2013 21:19
Category: Viewpoint Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Inside city hall it is a wait and see moment these days for the man who by most accounts will be Detroit Mayor Dave Bing's pick to be the new fire commissioner.
The appointment of Donald Austin, who is from Los Angeles, California, where he served as assistant chief of fire department there, is expected be announced by Mayor Bing soon. If appointed, Austin will be bringing almost three decades of experience to the city's fire department. This appointment is significant for the city of Detroit in light of not only the recent census numbers, but the less than desired services residents and businesses have been receiving from the Detroit's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) which operates under the Detroit Fire Department.
Even though the fire commissioner is basically an administrative role because the chief of fire operations handles fire operations in the city, the leadership of the department mirrors the kinds of services those are being encouraged to stay and do business in the city will receive.
And everyone has a reason to be concerned about the slow EMS response that has been blamed on everything else including trucks that are not working.
But no one really called for a surgical operation of the department. The problem of EMS is beyond non-workable equipment. It speaks to serious managerial issues and what kind of resources should be devoted to ensure that people who are in need of medical attention get to the hospital on time.
To do so will require leadership at the fire department that has vision.
One individual who is very with fire department operations told me Tuesday morning that "the fire department's problem is that it never had a business model to operate from in the first place," which explains half-baked EMS service that has been publicized for all to see. "The challenge now for the new fire commissioner when he gets in town is to ensure there is no more death when EMS is called to a home," the individual said.
I don't know Donald Austin. But his first task would be to take a serious look at EMS and get to the root of the problem and let taxpayers if, in fact, the problems hinge equipment and not management.
Detroit is in a crucial economic and political state and our leaders cannot talk about attracting businesses and families to the city when response time from EMS is slow.
Anytime there is an incident at a home and EMS doesn't show up on time, it’s a minus for the city because its insurance risk of doing business goes up. Businesses take that into consideration before moving into a particular area.
The Insurance Services Organization (lOS), which rates municipalities and cities on insurance risk issues dealing with EMS, fire, etc., has a record on Detroit. But its corporate office in New Jersey, according to spokeswoman Jessica Riccardi, would not release the city's latest insurance risk rating, noting that such records are kept with the fire department.
A fire officer who requested anonymity because he has not been authorized to disclose any information, said the city's rating is not that impressive given the wave of dismal services we have seen with EMS.
Couple that with the Census and Detroit should now be thinking outside the box -- how to address the needs of taxpaying residents and businesses in a tough economy.
If Donald Austin is the man to lead the fire department, he will have to work out a plan and set a vision for the department that has an annual $175 million budget. With that amount the city cannot afford to have a slow ambulance system that is currently forcing people to think twice about staying in Detroit.
The city has a notorious reputation for not accepting outsiders leading powerful institutions that make up its local government; so Austin will have to stand firm.
The fire department should not repeat the mistakes of former Detroit police chief Jerry Oliver who butted heads with the men and women in blue.
Instead, a new fire department leader should assemble a team that will revamp everything from equipment to management. Take action that will give the public, confidence that we are in safe and competent hands.
Give families who are struggling to keep their mortgages and pay their taxes a reason to live here and feel confident that the next EMS· response time will be swifter than the last.
Demonstrate to businesses that Detroit is a world class city, and that means core services are provided without delay or administrative bureaucracy.
How the Detroit Fire Department fares after Bing announces his pick to lead the troubled department will say a lot about emergency preparedness in the city. It will show the world whether Detroit gets it.
Those hard-working fire fighters out there in the streets and EMS workers should not have to be strangled and made to take the fall, when the real problem is leadership, resources and management at the helm of the department.
Make Detroit proud by changing the game.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 12:04
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