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Today, 10:24 amWisdom to live by...

Entry #425
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December 19, 2014, 1:22 amRacism in the movie industry is systemic

Sony Producer Says Black Actors Shouldn’t Have Lead Roles Because International Audiences Are Racist

Emails between a producer and Sony chair Michael Lynton discussed that idea while talking about the financial performance of Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer.

posted on Dec. 18, 2014, at 3:03 p.m.
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos BuzzFeed News Reporter

An unnamed producer wrote in an email to Sony chairman Michael Lynton that films with black actors — using Denzel Washington in The Equalizer as an example — don’t perform well because the international audiences are “racist,” according to documents found in the Sony hack.

The producer suggested that the two-time Oscar winner should not star in big-budget films as the international audience will not accept him in a leading role because of his race.

“I believe that the international motion picture audience is racist — in general pictures with an African American lead don’t play well overseas. When Sony made Equalizer they had to know that Denzel opens pics domestically, however the international gross would be somewhat limited,” the producer wrote in an Oct. 27 e-mail.

Lynton wrote back asking if he was saying The Equalizer “shouldn’t have been made or that African American actors should be excluded?”

“No, I am not saying ‘The Equalizer’ should not have been made or that African American actors should not have been used (I personally think Denzel is the best actor of his generation),” the producer responded. “Casting him is saying we’re ok with a double if the picture works,” the producer wrote, using a baseball analogy.

Washington is “reliable at the domestic [box office], safe, but has not had a huge success in years. I believe whenever possible the non event pictures, extra ‘bets’ should have a large inherent upside and be made for the right price. Here there isn’t a large inherent upside,” the producer wrote.

The producer also wrote that he or she hoped the statement wasn’t “inappropriate or provocative.”

The Equalizer grossed about $191 million worldwide. Approximately $90 million was earned overseas. The producer said this figure would have been higher if a black man wasn’t in the lead role.

According to the emails, a sequel to the movie was set for 2017, but would be “a double, with a remote chance of a home run.”

Calls to Denzel Washington’s publicist were not immediately returned.

Entry #424
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December 17, 2014, 12:38 pmLiving in Denial is torture for the soul

On Racism and White Privilege

Overview:  Explores issues of race and white privilege

Excerpted from White Anti-Racist Activism: A Personal Roadmap by Jennifer R. Holladay, M.S.

On Racism Racism is a doctrine or teaching, without scientific support, that does three things. First, it claims to find racial differences in things like character and intelligence. Second, racism asserts the superiority of one race over another or others. Finally, it seeks to maintain that dominance through a complex system of beliefs, behaviors, use of language and policies. Racism ranges from the individual to the institutional level and reflects and enforces a pervasive view, in whitedominated U.S. culture that people of color are inferior to whites.

Racist beliefs include things like “White people are smarter than people of color,” or “White people make better teachers.” Racism can manifest itself in terms of individual behavior through hate crimes, or in institutional behavior through employment discrimination. Racism might manifest in individual language through the use of slurs, or in institutional policy through a school’s selection of Eurocentric textbooks.

Related to these relatively obvious manifestations of racism is a subtle system that also contributes to the maintenance of the racial status quo. That subtle system is white skin privilege.

On White Privilege White skin privilege is not something that white people necessarily do, create or enjoy on purpose. Unlike the more overt individual and institutional manifestations of racism described above, white skin privilege is a transparent preference for whiteness that saturates our society. White skin privilege serves several functions. First, it provides white people with “perks” that we do not earn and that people of color do not enjoy. Second, it creates real advantages for us. White people are immune to a lot of challenges. Finally, white privilege shapes the world in which we live — the way that we navigate and interact with one another and with the world.

White Privilege: The Perks White people receive all kinds of perks as a function of their skin privilege. Consider the following: • When I cut my finger and go to my school or office’s first aid kit, the flesh-colored band-aid generally matches my skin tone. • When I stay in a hotel, the complimentary shampoo generally works with the texture of my hair. • When I run to the store to buy pantyhose at the last minute, the ‘nude’ color generally appears nude on my legs. • When I buy hair care products in a grocery store or drug store, my shampoos and conditioners are in the aisle and section labeled ‘hair care’ and not in a separate section for ‘ethnic products.’ • I can purchase travel size bottles of my hair care products at most grocery or drug stores.

My father, who has worked in economic development for 30 years, would explain away these examples of white privilege as simple functions of supply and demand economics. White people still constitute the numerical majority in this country, so it makes sense, for example, that bandaid companies would manufacture “flesh-tone” bandages for white people.

Even if I concede to his argument (and ignore the “buying power” of communities of color), it still does not change the impact of these white privileges. As a white person, I get certain perks that people of color do not; I get the bandages and the pantyhose and the shampoo at the hotel that works with my hair. And in a new grocery store, I will not have to scan the aisles for my hair care products. They will be in the section called “hair care.” This is how I experience the world.

These seemingly benign perks also demonstrate a danger on closer examination. Let’s say that I forgot to pack my shampoo for a business trip. When I get to the hotel, I see that the complimentary shampoo is not the standard Suave product to which I am accustomed but rather Pink Oil Lotion for African American hair. I would be surprised and might even think to myself: “Those black folks and all their lobbying … This is so unfair!” I expect these perks. As a white person, I think I am entitled to them.

White Privilege: The Advantages Certainly, white privilege is not limited to perks like band aids and hair care products. The second function of white skin privilege is that it creates significant advantages for white people. There are scores of things that I, as a white person, generally do not encounter, have to deal with or even recognize. For example: • My skin color does not work against me in terms of how people perceive my financial responsibility, style of dress, public speaking skills, or job performance. • People do not assume that I got where I am professionally because of my race (or because of affirmative action programs). • Store security personnel or law enforcement officers do not harass me, pull me over or follow me because of my race.

All of these things are things that I never think about. And when the tables are turned and my white skin is used against me, I am greatly offended (and indignant). The police department in my community, like so many other law enforcement agencies throughout this country, uses policing tactics that target people of color. Two years ago, I was driving down Rosa Parks Boulevard, a street that runs through an all-black and impoverished area of town, at night. I was looking for a house that I had never been to before, so I was driving slowly, stopping and moving as I searched for numbers on residences.

Out of nowhere, this large police van pulled me over, blue lights flashing and sirens blaring, and a handful of well-armed police officers jumped out of the van and surrounded my car. I did as I was told, and got out of my car. (“Hands above your head; move slowly!”) I then succumbed to a quick physical pat-down, as well as a search of my car. The officers had pulled me over -- not only because of my erratic driving -- but also, because, in the words of one officer, I was “a white woman driving down Rosa Parks after dark.” They thought I was looking to buy drugs.

When I went to the office the next day, I relayed my story to several white colleagues. They shared my sense of violation, of anger, of rage. These co-workers encouraged me to call our legal department and report the incident. I later told the story to a colleague who is black and who lives on Rosa Parks. “You just never have to worry about those things, do you, Jennifer?” she asked and then walked off. In twelve words, she succinctly challenged my sense of privilege.

White Privilege: The World View The third thing that white privilege does is shape the way in which we view the world and the way in which the world views us. The perks and advantages described above are part of this phenomenon, but not all of it. Consider the following: • When I am told about our national heritage or “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is. • Related, the schools that I attend or have attended use standard textbooks, which widely reflect people of my color and their contributions to the world. • When I look at the national currency or see photographs of monuments on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., I see people of my race widely represented and celebrated.

As a white person, I see myself represented in all of these places. And, until a couple of years ago, I never questioned that representation — or why people of color were excluded. After all, people like me have done a lot for this country and for the world. If people of color had done their part, so the theory goes, they too would see themselves represented.

Well, people of color have done more than their share for this country. There is an old saying that the victors of war get to write the history of the world. White privilege works this way, too. Since white folks have been in control for so long, we have determined what is valuable or interesting or useful in terms of education. Greek and Roman mythology, Chaucer, and other canonized works have been selected and revered through the ages as critical components of any “solid liberal arts education.”

I rarely have to question the validity of these selections — this is, after all, what is valuable and considered “the real stuff.” And I am entitled to a good education, aren’t I? I never question how or why some things are valued and others are not — why some things are important to “us” and other things are not. When people begin talking about diversifying a curriculum, one of the main things that opponents say is: “I am not willing to lower standards for the sake of minority representation.”

The Black Student Coalition at my college, for example, lobbied the faculty to diversify the readings for the Literature 101 class, a required course for first-year students. One professor objected, saying: “You want me to replace Chaucer with the likes of Alice Walker?” Why do we value Chaucer more than the literary offerings of Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, or Audre Lorde? Who assigns that value and on what basis?

Things are starting to change slowly. Perhaps your high school hosted programs during Black History Month or during Asian and Hispanic Heritage Months. Maybe your college offered courses in Black, Latino, Caribbean, Native American, Asian or ethnic studies. These are good places to start, but we should not need separate months or classes. Black history is U.S. history; Chicano literature is valuable literature.

White privilege is a hidden and transparent preference that is often difficult to address. Only on closer inspection do we see how it creates a sense of entitlement, generates perks and advantages for white people and elevates our status in the world.


I have posted several articles concerning white privilege. Each article was written by a White author. I did this on purpose. I wanted to show all that deny the existence of white privilege that they are only fooling themselves. And to make sure that their perks remain white only, they have come up with a counter measure known as Reverse Discrimination.

Entry #423
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December 16, 2014, 5:29 pmSuper Chicken

My name is super chicken. I am protector of the weak, low informed and privileged. I talk a lot of chicken sh1t and can't back-up anything that I say. I love to hear myself talk, all the while knowing that I am as chicken as they come. I like to fool my friends by trying to act like a bad-azz, but inwardly I am a yellow-bellied coward. Sometimes I think I'm losing my plucking mind. I need help because my friends say I'm starting to look and sound like a chicken.

Entry #422
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December 14, 2014, 12:16 pmKnow Thyself

Derek Penwell Headshot

Derek Penwell

Author; Editor; Speaker; Activist

Why You May Be a Racist (Even Though You Don't Feel Like One)

Posted: 12/08/2014 5:43 pm EST Updated: 12/08/2014 5:59 pm EST

I don’t understand. I just don’t.

I’ve watched the Eric Garner tape for what seems like the hundredth time, and I don’t understand how we not only tolerate, but go to great lengths to make excuses for, a system that disproportionately kills young black men. I saw the tape. And while I realize that video tape isn’t a panacea, in that it is the product of a series of framing choices that doesn’t always allow for a full understanding of context, still, I saw that man killed. I heard him say, “I can’t breathe.”

And I don’t understand.

Should the fact that the police have chosen a vocation rife with peril offer that much latitude when it comes to violence? Shouldn’t the fact that we extend that latitude in acknowledgement of the danger they face mean that they should be more rather than less accountable--which is to say, more prepared to defend that latitude when they exercise it?

The reason I ask those two questions is because, to the extent that you issue an expanded license to inflict violence, you automatically raise questions of abuse when you fail to account publicly for each use of it. A social contract cannot retain the ties that bind it together when part of the population always seems to draw the short straw when it comes to the application of power.

Because, here’s the thing: Racism isn’t just people intending other people harm because of the color of their skin. Racism is toleration of (and, therefore, participation in) a system that routinely disadvantages people because of their race. In other words, it’s entirely possible to be racist without intending to be. That’s why we so often encounter racist statements that begin with “I’m not a racist, but … " --which then go on to use racist placeholders like“thug” or “inner city” or “you people.”

And I take (most) people at their word--that they don’t consider themselves racist. But whether you feel like a racist is largely beside the point. If you prop up a system--either actively or passively, through silence--which regularly negatively impacts non-white people, you’re a racist.

That you don’t belong to the KKK, or sport a Confederate flag license plate, or call people appalling epithets is a step in the right direction.

That you have a friend of a different race is laudable.

That you like Martin Luther King, Jr., and have a soft spot in your heart for his “I Have a Dream” speech is wonderful thing.

But none of those things get you off the hook.

Because you can do all of those things and still make excuses for a system that repeatedly refuses to hold white police officers accountable for abusing, and too often killing, people of color.

Because you can talk all you want about being “color blind,” while still unconsciously assuming that middle class white lives are the standard against which all other lives are to be measured.

Because you can feel sympathy in your heart for Eric Garner and Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and their families, but still assume that if they were killed, the bulk of the blame must lay with them--since they had obviously questionable elements in their past or in their character, since they shouldn’t have questioned their treatment at the hands of someone with a gun who was (or claimed to be) in a position of authority, since maybe they shouldn’t have been where they were looking all menacing with their hoodies and scary giant man-bodies.

Because you can talk about how everyone gets the same fair shake in our “post-racial” society, but still give the benefit of the doubt to a system that incarcerates African Americans at six times the rate of whites; a system where African Americans and Hispanics comprise 60 percent of the prison population, while comprising only 25 percent of the total population; a system that is three times more likely to arrest an African American person than a white person; and where estimates suggest that two African American people per week are gunned down by white police officers.

Feeling strongly that you’re not a racist isn’t enough. Avoiding using overtly racial stereotypes and epithets isn’t enough. Not being “prejudiced” isn’t enough.

Whether or not it’s intended, if the practical effects of a system over time continually disadvantage one race to the benefit of another, it’s a racist system. If you think a system that’s obviously weighted to keep those in charge … in charge … is fair, and that any fault in it can always be traced to poor choices made by individuals, whether you feel like it or not, you’re a racist.

Now, me calling you a racist under that description of racism isn’t a value judgment about you personally (I don’t even know you); it’s merely an observation about the criteria necessary to establish that racism exists, and that otherwise nice folks (Christian or not) are up to their eyeballs in it.

But here’s the thing that keeps occurring to me: If you find that you’re continually defending yourself from charges of racism, maybe it’s you who needs to reexamine your relationship to race, and not a demonstrably disproportionately disadvantaged group of folks who need continually to reexamine their relationship to you.

Look, I take no pleasure in pointing this out, since it means I also have to contend with my own grievous complicity in a racist system. 



Follow Derek Penwell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/reseudaimon

Entry #421
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December 13, 2014, 1:10 pmThis is who I am:No apology

Man walking at sunset

Entry #420
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December 6, 2014, 11:50 pmWhite Christians Are Taking A Stand

After Ferguson And Eric Garner Decision, White Christians Are Taking A Stand

Religion News Service  | By Adelle M. Banks
Posted: 12/06/2014 8:25 am EST Updated: 12/06/2014 8:59 am EST

Rev. Russell Moore, left, director of the Southern Baptistâ??s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, leads a discussion during the group's national conference Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (RNS) “African-American brothers and sisters, especially brothers, in this country are more likely to be arrested, more likely to be executed, more likely to be killed.”

It’s the kind of statement that’s often cited by black clergy and civil rights activists. But hours after a grand jury on Wednesday (Dec. 3) chose not to indict the New York City police officer who put Eric Garner into a fatal choke hold on Staten Island, those words came from none other than white evangelical leader Russell Moore.

With back-to-back grand jury decisions that white police officers will not face charges in the deaths of unarmed black men, white Christians, including evangelicals, have grown more vocal in urging predominantly white churches to no longer turn a blind eye to injustice and to bridge the country’s racial divides.

“It’s time for us in Christian churches to not just talk about the gospel but live out the gospel by tearing down these dividing walls not only by learning and listening to one another but also by standing up and speaking out for one another,” said Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Other white evangelicals issued similar pleas.

“I weep & pray for his family,” tweeted Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the day before he led a prayer for justice at his school in Wake Forest, N.C. “I beg our God to bring good out of this tragedy.”

“’Love your neighbor as yourself’ means you picture yourself being choked and surrounded by five men while you say, ‘I can’t breathe,’” tweeted Scott Slayton, a white Southern Baptist pastor in Chelsea, Ala.

The Rev. Alan Cross, a white pastor in Montgomery, Ala., said the publicized video of Garner’s choke hold has moved some white Christians to speak when they might not have after Officer Darren Wilson was cleared in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Cross is encouraging them to not just speak but listen to black people’s perspectives instead of only considering their own.

“What often happens when white evangelicals try to speak into this is that we continue to think first in terms of our own position,” said Cross, a Southern Baptist and author of “When Heaven and Earth Collide: Racism, Southern Evangelicals, and the Better Way of Jesus.”

“We should consider what people in the black community are saying, what are they going through, what is their experience.”

Cross and others went online in the hours after the Garner decision to share how blacks were reacting. Author Barnabas Piper chose to post what others were saying about Ferguson and Garner on his blog, saying as “a young white man” he wasn’t in the best position to explain it all.

“Put yourself in the shoes of the authors and immerse yourself in the experiences they describe,” he wrote. “You and I need to do so if we want to contribute anything to stopping injustice and closing the racial gap that exists.”

The Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-chair of the National African-American Clergy Network, sees a growing interest among white Christians and others to speak up about the “pile on” of events capped with the Garner decision.

“It just so offends the human spirit of people of every race that it compels them to act,” she said. “We don’t have to ask young white students and young white adults anymore to act. They understand … if the system will so violate the rights of people of color today, they will violate everybody’s rights tomorrow.”

She had already witnessed an interest across races in the Ferguson events when her network’s planned letter on justice from black church leaders took on a more interracial feel.

Even before the Garner decision, the progressive Christian group Sojourners had gathered 50 leaders, including black clergy and white evangelicals, for a retreat on Tuesday and Wednesday that included a “historic pilgrimage of racialized St. Louis” and a discussion of theological implications for “our nation’s broken justice system.”

“There were white evangelicals in the room in Ferguson who were weeping when the Garner decision came down,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of the Washington-based social justice group.

White Christians beyond evangelicalism added their voices to the outcry about the ruling.

“The degradation and demeaning of black life must stop,” said Serene Jones, president of New York’s Union Theological Seminary. “What the hell kind of country do we live in?”

Moore, noting some of the reaction after he called for racial reconciliation in the wake of the Ferguson strife, said some white Christians see no reason to speak up for better race relations.

“I have gotten responses, and seen responses, that are right out of the White Citizens’ Council material from 1964 in my home state of Mississippi, seeing people saying there is no gospel issue involved with racial reconciliation,” he said in a podcast.

He doesn’t agree with them.

“Are you kidding me? There is nothing that is clearer in the New Testament than the fact that the gospel breaks down the dividing walls that we have between one another.”

Entry #419
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December 5, 2014, 6:01 pmWhat? Double Standard...

Criming While White’ and ‘Alive While Black’ Reveal America’s Racial Double Standard

By Liz Dwyer | Takepart.com

Jaywalking in the middle of the street or allegedly selling individual cigarettes—in America, these are the kinds of activities that, as we have seen in the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, can get a black man killed by police. Scrolling through tweets connected to the Twitter hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite suggests that if Brown and Garner had less melanin in their skin, they’d still be alive.

Jason Ross, a writer for The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, kicked off the hashtag on Wednesday afternoon when he tweeted his own criminal past—a past that did not result in his being shot (as Michael Brown was) or choked to death (as Eric Garner was) by a police officer.

“Busted 4 larceny at 11. At 17, cited for booze + caught w gun @ school. No one called me a thug. Can’t recommend being white highly enough,” wrote Ross. He then asked other white people to share their stories of getting away with crime because of racial privilege.

Thousands of tweets later, the unverifiable stories paint a clear picture of just how differently law enforcement officers tend to treat white Americans who commit crimes.

In light of the deaths of Brown and Garner, those tweeted incidents, and the countless similar ones, should raise the eyebrows of any American who cares about justice. But the sad reality is that in America black folks don’t have to commit a crime to experience harassment, abuse, or death at the hands of police officers.

Just ask the 5 million mostly black and Latino and supposedly suspicious New York City residents who experienced stop-and-frisk treatment at the hands of the NYPD. Most were found with no weapon on their person. (Mayor Bill de Blasio made reforming the controversial practice a key part of his election campaign.)

Remind yourself of the 1999 Bronx killing of Amadou Diallo, who was simply holding his wallet on the stoop of his building when NYPD officers decided to fire 41 shots simply because the immigrant father fit a description. And yes, those officers were acquitted.

Or feel free to watch the gruesome video of footage of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the black child who was shot and killed by police on Nov. 23 while playing with a toy gun in a park in Cleveland.

That’s why in response to #CrimingWhileWhite, Ebony editor Jamilah Lemieux started the hashtag #AliveWhileBlack on Thursday.

Lemieux then asked her African American Twitter followers to share stories of being harassed by police while just going about their daily lives. The stories of injustice began pouring in.

Some Americans may still be tempted to say that Garner and Brown were nothing but thugs and criminals, and if the two men had simply complied with the directions of police officers, they’d still be alive. But #AliveWhileBlack also shows that in the eyes of some police officers, being black is crime enough. As for the disturbing stories being shared through #CriminingWhileWhite, they reveal to us that no matter what’s going on, many white people who are doing things that are against the law tend to come through their interactions with police unscathed. If that’s not an unjust double standard worth rallying and protesting against, what is? 

Entry #418
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December 4, 2014, 7:52 pmOut of the mouth of a Ferguson Youth

Marquis Govan on how to fix Ferguson


Entry #417
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December 2, 2014, 8:16 pmPeople that live in glass houses...

Republican Who Attacked Obama Girls Was Arrested as a Teenager for Misdemeanor Larceny

By: Sarah Jones more from Sarah Jones
Monday, December, 1st, 2014, 2:19 pm

 Elizabeth Lauten

Apparently “misdemeanor larceny” is the new “teenager showing class” in the Republican Party.

I didn’t realize just how true it was when I wrote that Ms. Lauten had a double standard for this President’s children. And normally I wouldn’t touch a story about a GOP staffer who got arrested as a teenager, but in this case it’s not only relevant because she clearly has a projection problem but serves as a shining example of GOP double standard and white privilege in action.

So. Elizabeth Lauten, who “resigned” this morning after making a fool of herself by airing her Obama Derangement Syndrome in public by aiming it as his teenage children, was arrested as a teenager in December 2000 for misdemeanor larceny, according to court records reported by The Smoking Gun.

Yes, a 17-year-old Lauten stole from Belk department store in her North Carolina hometown according to the Smoking Gun:


Lauten, pictured above, was arrested in December 2000 for misdemeanor larceny, according to court records. Lauten, then 17, was collared for stealing from a Belk department store in her North Carolina hometown.

Because Lauten was a first-time offender, her case was handled via the District Court’s deferred prosecution program, which resulted in the charge’s eventual dismissal after the future scold stayed out of trouble for a prescribed period.

Since Lauten was just another teenager caught shoplifting at the mall, it appears unlikely that she was publicly pilloried for her lack of class, nor were her parents criticized as poor role models.

Some first offenders get shot at and killed after stealing something like, oh, say — cigars. This one rose to the ranks of privilege in the Republican Party from whence she felt it her right to scold two very well behaved young girls for acting like teenager girls who are not being arrested for larceny.

As The Smoking Gun notes, Ms. Lauten was probably not attacked in public for her lack of class and no one blamed her parents for her misdemeanor larceny charges. Remember, she scolded the Obama girls for what they wore as well. Obviously, had they stolen it from Belks, it would have been so much better:

“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.”

If this is true, this is a case of projection of Ms. Lauten’s own poor behavior onto young girls who were only slightly bored by their father’s prattling on about a turkey pardon and the ugly white hood of white privilege. The white privilege is evident in the fact that her arrest charges were dropped and she was allowed a second chance as if it were her due because she was a good girl; also known as a white girl from a good family in the South.

I believe in second chances, so good for her. But I don’t believe that skin color mitigates a person’s right to a second chance. And this is the issue. She publicly mocked the Obama girls over nothing, but expected her own apparently criminal actions as a teenager to be just part of growing up. If she knew she had this history, a smart person wouldn’t have opened herself up for closer scrutiny about the behavior of teenagers.

So what we have here is a woman who was arrested as a teenager for larceny, attacking the Obama girls over their eye rolls.

Let’s just let that marinate for a while.

Republican Who Attacked Obama Girls Was Arrested as a Teenager for Misdemeanor Larceny was written by Sarah Jones for PoliticusUSA.
© PoliticusUSA, Mon, Dec 1st, 2014 — All Rights Reserved
Entry #416
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December 1, 2014, 12:42 pmUseless distractions concerning Ferguson

What Does 'Black-On-Black Crime' Have to Do With Ferguson?

Posted: 11/30/2014 1:26 pm EST Updated: 11/30/2014 1:59 pm EST

Joe Raedle via Getty Images

The answer to the question posed in this post's title is nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not one thing. Nada. Zip. Zero.

The "Black-on-Black crime" moniker is racist rhetoric functioning under the guise of concern for the state of Black America. People of all races -- Blacks included -- seemingly love to discuss how not killing our own and being more respectable will alleviate the effects of racism.

It's dangerous, however, to tell Black people to dress better, work harder or be respectable because it diverts attention from the gaze of the oppressor to the behavior of the disenfranchised. It showcases how deep anti-blackness runs within our society. This highly misinformed line of thinking negates the complex historical implications surrounding a white cop killing an unarmed Black teenager.

Authority has a long history of not respecting Black people so why some folks think becoming more respectable will solve anything is confusing. Our respect means nothing to those who see no value in Black life. They don't care for or want our respect -- they want our compliance. They want our submission.

"Black-on-Black crime" highlights the fear surrounding Black masculinity, the lack of Black femininity, and perceived inherent Black criminality. And, when Black people are shamed for committing the same crimes at almost the same rates as whites, it illustrates how much the white supremacist gaze has been internalized.

The term, which originated in the 1980s, cites Black people as a problem as opposed to poverty, poor educational opportunities, proximity and other factors that lead to increased crime rates within all communities -- regardless of color.

Research conducted by David Wilson explains how the media picked up on a new wave of violence within Black communities -- which was undoubtedly fueled by job loss, debased identity and "rampant physical decay"-- and constructed the misperception that intraracial crime was a malady only plaguing Black America.

But racial exclusivity is apparent in the majority of violent crimes. Around 91 percent of Black victims are murdered by Black offenders while 83 percent of white victims are killed by another white person, based on the most recent FBI homicide statistics.

The "Black-on-Black" crime argument alludes that there's nothing normal about Black intraracial crime. "White-on-white" violence is simply called crime. Why is Black intraracial violence depicted as some rare Pokémon in crime discussions when it is only slightly more prevalent?

Flawed white perception is not assuaged is these talks -- Black behavior is, instead, attacked. This places Black folk in a "Catch 22." No matter how "respectable" we are or become, as long as our skin is Black we will never amount to white standards though we are expected to be a reflection of them.

Respectability will never be a solution because the issue isn't us; it's how white America views blackness.

Mike Brown's death, and the subsequent lack of justice, isn't about the myth of "Black-on-Black crime." It's about how Blacks are disproportionately, and often unjustly, targeted by law enforcement. It's about how systemic racism frames the way in which Black people, especially men, are viewed. It's about how Black corpses are criminalized and put on trial but their white killers often go unindicted.

The circumstances surrounding Mike Brown's death represent a much larger racially oppressive government and police structure that excuses white killers but refuses to humanize black victims due to the inherent guilt attributed to black people and blackness.

And when you tell Black people to be more respectable and not kill one another, you're identifying us as savage brutes who deserve to be gunned down due to this assumed lack of humanity.

The protests in Ferguson do not show the supposed intrinsic animalistic nature of Black people. They showcase a community -- and reflect a nation of people -- tired of constantly being at the mercy of a justice system that sees no value in their livelihood.

Ferguson is illustrating what happens when people are fed up with being targeted. Ferguson is spearheading a movement. Stop detracting from that with baseless "Black-on-Black crime" discussions.

Follow Julia Craven on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CurlyCrayy


Amen to that. Using useless distractions only adds to the problems at hand.

Entry #415
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November 30, 2014, 6:57 pmSome just don't get it!

When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 5

NOV. 29, 2014

Protests over the grand jury’s decision on the shooting in Ferguson, Mo., have been held across the nation, including in Ann Arbor, Mich. Credit Tyler Stabile/The Ann Arbor News, via Associated Press

WE Americans are a nation divided.

We feud about the fires in Ferguson, Mo., and we can agree only that racial divisions remain raw. So let’s borrow a page from South Africa and impanel a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to examine race in America.

The model should be the 9/11 commission or the Warren Commission on President Kennedy’s assassination, and it should hold televised hearings and issue a report to help us understand ourselves. Perhaps it could be led by the likes of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and Oprah Winfrey.

We as a nation need to grapple with race because the evidence is overwhelming that racial bias remains deeply embedded in American life. Two economists, Joseph Price and Justin Wolfers, found that white N.B.A. referees disproportionally call fouls on black players, while black refs call more fouls on white players. “These biases are sufficiently large that they affect the outcome of an appreciable number of games,” Price and Wolfers wrote.

If such racial bias exists among professional referees monitored by huge television audiences, imagine what unfolds when an employer privately weighs whom to hire, or a principal decides whether to expel a disruptive student, or a policeman considers whether to pull over a driver.

This “When Whites Just Don’t Get It” series is a call for soul-searching. It’s very easy for whites to miss problems that aren’t our own; that’s a function not of being white but of being human. Three-quarters of whites have only white friends, according to one study, so we are often clueless.

What we whites notice is blacks who have “made it” — including President Obama — so we focus on progress and are oblivious to the daily humiliations that African-Americans endure when treated as second-class citizens.

“In the jewelry store, they lock the case when I walk in,” a 23-year-old black man wrote in May 1992. “In the shoe store, they help the white man who walks in after me. In the shopping mall, they follow me.”

He described an incident when he was stopped by six police officers who detained him, with guns at the ready, and treated him for 30 minutes as a dangerous suspect.

That young man was future Senator Cory Booker, who had been a senior class president at Stanford University and was a newly selected Rhodes Scholar. Yet our law enforcement system reduced him to a stereotype — so young Booker sat trembling and praying that he wouldn’t be shot by the police.

My sense is that part of the problem is well-meaning Americans who disapprove of racism yet inadvertently help perpetuate it. We aren’t racists, yet we buttress a system that acts in racist ways. It’s “racism without racists,” in the words of Eduardo Bonillo-Silva, a Duke University sociologist.

This occurs partly because of deeply embedded stereotypes that trick us, even when we want to be fair. Researchers once showed people sketches of a white man with a knife confronting an unarmed black man in the subway. In one version of the experiment, 59 percent of research subjects later reported that it had been the black man who held the knife.

I don’t know what unfolded in Ferguson between Michael Brown, a black teenager, and Darren Wilson, a white police officer. But there is a pattern: a ProPublica investigation found that young black men are shot dead by police at 21 times the rate of young white men.

If you’re white, your interactions with police are more likely to have been professional and respectful, leaving you trustful. If you’re black, your encounters with cops may leave you dubious and distrustful. That’s why a Huffington Post/YouGov poll found that 64 percent of African-Americans believe that Officer Wilson should be punished, while only 22 percent of whites think so.

That’s the gulf that an American Truth and Reconciliation Commission might help bridge just a little. In 1922, a Chicago Commission on Race Relations (composed of six whites and six blacks) examined the Chicago race riots of 1919. More recently, President Clinton used an executive order to impanel an advisory board on race that focused on how to nurture “one America.”

A new commission could jump-start an overdue national conversation and also recommend evidence-based solutions to boost educational outcomes, improve family cohesion and connect people to jobs.

White Americans may protest that our racial problems are not like South Africa’s. No, but the United States incarcerates a higher proportion of blacks than apartheid South Africa did. In America, the black-white wealth gap today is greater than it was in South Africa in 1970 at the peak of apartheid.

Most troubling, America’s racial wealth gap, pay gap and college education gap have all widened in the last few decades.

There are no easy solutions. But let’s talk.

Last Edited: November 30, 2014, 7:17 pm

Entry #414
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November 29, 2014, 11:51 pmGOP 'Payback' - You got your wish

GOP 'Payback' to White Working Class That Voted Them in: Cut Earned Income Tax and Child Tax Credit

Posted: 11/28/2014 8:00 pm EST Updated: 11/28/2014 8:59 pm EST

Rep. Joe Barton and Rep. John Boehner announce something or other.

First, some data. In the recent midterm elections, a study by the Public Religion Research Institute found that white working-class voters -- defined as those lacking a college degree, and whose jobs paid an hourly wage -- voted for the Republican over the Democrat for Congress by a whopping margin of 61 percent to 26 percent.

Got that? Good. Also, the "vast majority" of recipients of the Earned Income Tax Credit -- and remember, that credit only goes to people who earn enough money that, without it, they'd be paying income taxes -- are white, according to data collected by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Finally, the 2009 Obama stimulus package expanded the Child Tax Credit to make more working class families eligible. We don't have exact data on the racial composition of those who benefited from the expansion, but given that about half of families in poverty are white, we can extrapolate that somewhere around half of beneficiaries are white.

Still with me? Okay. Now check this out, from a New York Times article about a deal in the works that centers around making corporate tax cuts permanent:

The emerging tax legislation would make permanent 10 provisions, including an expanded research and development tax credit, which businesses and the Obama administration have wanted to make permanent for years; a measure allowing small businesses to deduct virtually any investment; the deduction for state and local sales taxes; the American Opportunity Tax Credit for college costs; deductions for employer-provided mass transit; and four different breaks for corporate and charitable giving.

Smaller measures already passed by the Senate Finance Committee, from tax breaks for car-racing tracks to benefits for racehorse owners, would be extended for one year and retroactively renewed for the current tax year.

[snip] Left off were the two tax breaks valued most by liberal Democrats: a permanently expanded earned-income credit and a child tax credit for the working poor. Friday night, Republican negotiators announced they would exclude those measures as payback for the president's executive order on immigration, saying a surge of newly legalized workers would claim the credit, tax aides from both parties said.

It's worth noting that the deal would also mean the expiration, in 2017, of tax credits that support the development of wind power because, oh noes, the oil and gas industry thinks they are unfair. Doesn't the oil and gas industry receive billions in tax breaks? Er, well, hey, look over there!

The absurd hypocrisy of that aside, think for a second about how Republicans understand payback. President Obama does something Republicans don't like on immigration, and their idea of payback is to stick it to working-class Americans who have kids, most of whom -- when we are talking about whites -- just voted to make them the majority party in both the House and the Senate. At this point, the only thing standing in the way of the loss of those tax breaks for working Americans is President Obama. Oops.

I guess the lesson of the story is: be careful who you vote for. A better lesson of the story is: Republicans are boot-licking corporate sycophants who hate working families.

Follow Ian Reifowitz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ianreifowitz

Entry #413
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November 29, 2014, 8:03 amStick to the Script

Entry #412
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November 28, 2014, 5:42 pmDifferent circumstances - Same results

Entry #411
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