Friday, April 30, 2010

The Real Issue with the Harvard Law School Race Problem

Let me just state at the outset that the race problem referenced above is not exclusive to Harvard Law School, but rather, is a common problem shared across the board at all law schools and, therefore by extension, the legal profession in general.  Harvard just so happened to be the situs of the wrong for this particular example.  And just what exaclty is that example, you ask?  Earlier this week, the infamous legal blog Above The Law broke the story about a Harvard Law School 3L (third-year student) who recently attended a law school dinner at which the great legal minds of Harvard apparently engaged in a personal discussion about race.  The 3L, later identified as Stephanie Grace (pictured right), was apparently so unsatisfied by her own racial comments during the discussion that she felt compelled to write an e-mail to the other participants to further explain her position on race:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scattered Thoughts on the Release of Malcolm X's Assassin

It is hard to describe how one feels after hearing news that the man who killed one of the greatest civil rights leaders in history was released from prison. How does one put a time limit on how long an individual should spend caged up like an animal, for taking the life of another human being? Murder is indeed a touchy topic, in the context of this particular case. When a criminal is murdered by another criminal, in the sort of "trick of the trade" type of situation, there is little doubt that the murdered individual had sealed his own fate by the life that he had chosen to lead. But when a man like Malcolm X is murdered, a man who unified a people, brought pride and dignity to a race and wrote one the most inspirational auto-biographies ever written, you tend to wonder, "How in the hell could his assassin ever be released?"

Thomas Hagan, was the only person out of three other assassins, who admitted to the martyrdom of Malcolm X. The day of the murder, Hagan, then known as Talmadge X Hayer, was beaten by the crowd of spectators that had poured out of the Audubon Ballroom, onto the streets of Harlem much like Spike Lee's dramatic depiction, in the movie X. Hagan was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for Malcolm's murder. After being turned down for parole several times during his 40 plus years of incarceration, Hagan was finally released this week. Currently he resides in Brooklyn with his family. While incarcerated he obtained his Masters Degree, has repeatedly expressed remorse for his role in Malcolm's murder and plans on becoming a substance abuse counselor. He attributed his heinous act to impulse, the stupidity of youth and loyalty to religious leaders. Now a 69 year old man, with his life behind him and what I am sure are frightening memories of prison life, the issue of his release has inevitably become a platform for commentary and debate.

Should a murderer be punished based on the life they took and the victims potential impact on the world? Is Thomas Hagan more of an animal then the drug dealer who murders another murdering drug dealer over drug turf, or the organized crime syndicate, who only murder each other, fully aware of the rules of the the life that they had all chosen to lead? When judging Hagan, should we have taken into account the many lives that Malcolm X touched and would have touched had he lived? Should we take into account the demise of African American self-respect and the deterioration of the black family and associate this with the lack of leadership within the black community? A void which could have and should have been filled by Malcolm, had he lived? Do we remember Malcolm's life and the sacrifices he made for his people and despise the criminal justice system for allowing his assailant to walk free, in contrast to a man like Mumia Abu Jamal, currently on death row for the murder of a police office, a case that is full of doubt, yet he is continuously refused a new trial? Or do we forgive Hagan? Realizing that he was a victim of his times, that he was a very young man in his early 20's at the time and that his actions over the last 4 decades have proved that he his no longer a danger to society and that he has is generally sorry of the crime that he committed?

There is a scene in the film X, when Denzel Washington, who plays Malcolm, is sitting in a hotel room, talking to his right hand man on the telephone. It is the evening before his murder. The two men are discussing security arrangements for the following day's meeting at the Audubon Ballroom and his security head, is trying to persuade Malcolm to allow them to search attendees as they entered the building, much in the same fashion that has become the status quo. Malcolm does not allow this to occur. He states "We have to change our way of thinking brother. We don't want black folks killing each other." The irony of these words are chilling, given the nature of his own murder, at the hands of black men, and they still resonate to this day, as we face record numbers of "black on black" crime. Malcolm's killer may be a different man and may plan to spend his last few years trying to help others, but nothing Mr. Hagan does in this life, will ever make up for the life he snuffed out. A life that was suppose to linger on much longer than it did to help our people to reach a higher and deeper level of consciousness.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

By The Time I Get To Arizona!!!

Arizona became a State on February 14, 1912, and from that day forward it has consistently drawn attention to itself from the rest of the nation over its ineptitude in dealing with all things racial. This state which gave us Barry Goldwater's race-based "Southern Strategy" politics is also the same state that refused to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national federal holiday (which Senator John McCain voted against btw). So even though we are not surprised by the latest developments from the Great State of Arizona, we're still irritaged by them all the same. In case you haven't heard, Arizona's latest and greatest ideas come in two flavors: (1) a state Immigration Law that was signed into law last Friday by Arizona's Republican Governor Jan Brewer; and (2) legislation that has passed the Arizona House and is awaiting approval from the Arizona Senate that would require Barack Obama and others to show their birth certificates before Arizona will allow them to be on the Presidential ballot in 2012. It is just us or is anybody else wondering what in the hell is wrong with Arizona? The Urban Politico squad weighs in after the jump:

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Urban Beat - April 26, 2010

3.  The RNC sends out fake census mailers...Really.

10 Reasons Why A Sister Named Ann Claire Williams Could Be The Next Supreme Court Justice

Now I know what you're thinking - there's no way Obama is going to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court of the United States - right?  Well hold up for a second and just hear me out; I have 10 solid reasons for you skeptics out there that might change your mind.  Before we get into them, Jay Leno once did a segment on his show where he stopped random Americans on the street and asked them questions about the Supreme Court.  As you can probably guess, nobody could even say how many Justices there are on the Supreme Court, let alone name one, and since I recognize that some of you may fall into that category (that's ok, we won't call you out) perhaps a brief breakdown of the current Supreme Court is in order. (for the rest of you political junkies, feel free to skip ahead to the 10 reasons after the jump)

Contrary to what you may have heard on the street there are nine (9) Supreme Court Justices; 8 Associate Justices and 1 Chief Justice.  The Constitution requires them to be appointed by the President and then approved by a simple majority vote of the Senate.  If they pass all of that, then they serve on the Supreme Court for life.  Unlike the President or members of Congress, there is no age requirement for this job.  In fact, to be honest, there are no "rules" at all about who can or can't be a Supreme Court Justice other than the process I've already mentioned. But note, even though there are no "rules" per se about who gets this job, there are very very very strong "unspoken rules" that have been established for years. We'll get into those below.  Lastly, although the Court is not supposed to be political, it is widely known to be quite partisan at times. The Court's 4 "conservatives" are Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito.  The Court's 4 "liberals" are the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, and the new edition Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  In the middle serving as the "Swing" voter is Justice Anthony Kennedy (no relation to The Kennedys).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blog Talk Radio: The African American Body Image Episode: When We Look in the Mirror, Just What Do We See?

From our Cousin Max Reddick of the blog SoulBrother v.2:

Do me a favor, please.  Go to the mirror and take a good long look at yourself.  What do you see?  Take a good look at your facial features, your hair, your body type, the lines in your face, the various scars, and tell me what you see.  Are you pleased at what you see?  How does this affect you interaction with others?  How does this influence your attitude and outlook on life?

I know that my questions are a lot to hit you with this morning, but my questioning does serve a purpose.  Theory posits the human body as a historical narrative, a broad palimpsest—a scroll written on and over innumerable times—that invariably proceeds us.  Even before we open our mouths, even before we have the chance to speak for ourselves, to allow others to get to know us, our body with its various adornments and embellishments is always already presenting its own biography.

The question then becomes just how much this body narrative affects us in our day to day lives.  Just how much does this narrative coincide with our own self-image?  Just how much does this narrative dictate our actions? 

The African American Body Image is the theme of our discussion tonight over at Freedom thru Speech Radio on BlogTalkRadio.  Please join me and my co-hosts RiPPa of The Intersection of Madness and Reality and The Janitor of The Urban Politico.  Also sitting in on the panel tonight will be @MelzieC of The Curvy Girl Chronicles, Tondalaya from Club Cushions, and our old friend Nic McClean of My Fabulous Boobies.

The show starts at 8 PM EST.  You can listen to the show by accessing our BlogTalkRadio platform by clicking here, or you can listen or comment by dialing in through our dial-in number, 914-803-4881

Don’t miss out because this promises to be an informative, entertaining show, and don’t listen alone;  please run tell your friends.  And, as usual, the most important voice missing from this conversation is invariably your own.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

The 2010 Version of America's Jim Crow South

Yesterday, the Arizona governor signed a the toughest immigration law in the entire country.  Basically, anyone with a tan can be stopped on the street by the police if there is a "reasonable suspicion" (read: basically, if a cop is having a bad day) that they might be in the country illegally, unless they have proof to the contrary.

This is all types of bad and Obama has come out strongly opposed to this new legislation.

Stephen Colbert basically breaks down the bill the only way he knows how, by making fun of it. It's probably the most poignant break down of the bill and it's so sad that you HAVE to laugh. Sigh.

Check it out after the jump:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Some Hip-Hop For Your Friday

As many of you probably know, we lost a great one this week with the passing of Guru from the classic hip-hop GangStarr.  For you Playstation 3 generation kids out there, just press play after the jump - you might actually learn a thing or two about true Hip Hop:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Black Republicans Part 2 of 3: The Civil Rights Era

Thanks for tuning back in for Part 2 of our Black Republican Series inspired by the question: "How in the hell could a Black person ever vote Republican?!?!?"  In Part 1 we went all the way back to the beginning of the relationship between the Black Community and the Republican Party during the time of slavery in the 1800's and we found out that, even though Republicans weren't exactly what you might call "Pro-Black," the Democrats were definitely about 2 seconds away from holding their own national Klan rally.  Now we turn to another pivotal moment in Black Community/Republican History - the Civil Rights Era.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Trouble With the Vatican

Has anyone been wondering, like me "What the heck is going on with the Vatican?" Today Pope Benedict meets with Victims of sexual abuse in Malta. Last week British Atheist leader, Richard Dawkins, called for the "Holy Father's" arrest on the grounds that he assisted in the widespread cover up of sexual abuse by Catholic Priests. The Pope, this week, became engaged in more controversy over a letter he signed arguing that the "good of the universal church" should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sexual offenses against 2 boys, back in the 80's, before he became Pope. The Vatican has stated that the Pope is beyond reproach, as he is a head of state, yet the United Nations has not recognized the Vatican as a member, which raises the question as to weather or not this arrest is even possible. Dawkins believes he can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998. This will probably not happen, however the implications that the notion of arresting a Pope brings are astounding.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Black Republicans Part 1 of 3: The Beginning

This series was inspired by the following question heard all throughout the Black Community from the blogosphere to the barber shop: "How in the hell could a Black person ever vote Republican?!?!?"

Although, lately, many of us here at The Urban Politico may have been guilty of wondering the same thing (don't act like it's just us) we decided to go beyond the hype and take a deeper look at the connection between the Republican Party and the Black Community.  We wanted to know why 4% of the Black Community felt so passionately about a political party that they would risk voting against the first (and for all we know, perhaps the last) Black President in United States history. We wanted to know how people as night and day as Colin Powell and Michael Steele seem to be can possibly belong to the same club.  And most importantly, we wanted to know how it all started.  So over these next few weeks in April, in honor of our Book of the Month, we're about to get down to the bottom of all this Black Republicanism, and we warn you in advance: the answers may shock you!

Since this is the first part of the series we figured it is only appropriate to start at the beginning.  As it turns out, when the Republican Party started back in 1854, the question we would have all been asking ourselves back then is "how in the hell could a Black person ever vote Democratic?!"  Although it may be hard for some of you to picture by today's standards, did you know that the Democratic Party, which had been around for about 60 years by the time the Republicans got their start, was effectively the pro-slavery party?

The Urban Beat - April 16, 2010

1.  President Obama takes on the tea partiers. Ha!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Urban Beat - April 15, 2010

Don't forget to fill out AND mail in your CENSUS forms! Tomorrow is the last day!

1. Happy Tax...I mean Tea Bagger day! Are these tax day protesters dumb or in denial about their taxes going down in the past year?  Also polling suggests that the socialism is the devil tea partiers are more likely to be living off of the government.  Um what?

2. As we are hearing the news of Larry King's 700th divorce on cable news tonight, I am reminded of this Onion spoof of cable news.  The news always covers the BS instead of reporting the news!

Breaking News: Some Bullshit Happening Somewhere

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Urban Beat - April 14, 2010

1.  SCOTUS abortion fight on the horizon?  New Nebraska law might just test this uber conservative Roberts Court.

2.  Massive earthquake in China kills 400 and injures thousands.

3.  New super strict Arizona immigration law is some straight up BS.  Immigration reform is so needed. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Can't Get Right: Black on Black Violence Claims Jersey City Couple

Black on Black crime is, unfortunatley, nothing new in the Black Community, but every now and again you run across a story like this one that makes you stop and say "Black people, we really need to do better."  Michael Muchioki was a 27 year-old software engineer who grew up in Jersey City and attended the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark where he became a member of the historically black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha and graduated with a degree in Computer Science in 2004.  Mike's fiancĂ©e, Nia Haqq, was a 25 year-old associate producer for a Nickelodeon affiliate and native Jersey-Girl who attended The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing, New Jersey (near Trenton) where she became a member of the historically black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha and graduated with a degree in Interactive Multimedia in 2007.

The couple had recently become engaged and bought a house together in Jersey City.  On Easter Sunday, as the couple was driving back from their engagement party in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Nia parked her Honda CRV in Jersey City near the couple's home at approximately 3am when reportedly 3 black youth (one male and two female) dressed in hoodies stopped Mike & Nia at gun-point, told them to get out of the parked car, and when they did, they murdered the couple execution style: Mike was shot in the back of the head with a shotgun, Nia was shot in the back of the head by a hand gun.  The car-jackers attempted to drive off in the Honda but were unable to because of its anti-theft device.  In the end, the would-be car jackers made off with a few gift cards, an ipod, and Nia's engagement ring.  A few days later, the 3 black youth were identified as Darmelia Lawrence, Latonia Bellamy and Shiquan Bellamy; they were arrested and charged with felony murder, armed robbery, and illegal weapons possession.  All three murder suspects are only 19 years-old.  Mike and Nia were buried together in the Rosedale & Rosehill Cemetery in Linden; they would have been married in April of 2011.

Scandal? New Book Claims Oprah Lied About Sexual Abuse

A new "tell all" book about Oprah that officially came out today is making a number of shocking claims, the most serious being that Oprah lied about being sexual abused as a child.  The source of this "tell all" written by Kitty Kelly is Oprah's cousin Katherine Carr Esters. 

This type of story drives me completely insane for two reasons:

1.  The media will sensationalize and try to bring Oprah the queen of daytime television down WITHOUT any actual proof.  (See: Michael Jackson).

2.  The book claims that Oprah lied about being sexually abused which perpetuates the myth that it is common for the victims of sexual abuse to lie about it.  In fact, less than 2% of reports of rape are made up by victims.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Urban Beat - April 12, 2010

1.  Brand New Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on SNL!  Watch all the rest of the Fey as Palin clips here.

2.  Would President Obama nominate Secretary Hillary Clinton for the SCOTUS?  Interesting question.  Oh and nerd alert!!! Use C-SPAN's video archives to research all of President Obama's potential SCOTUS

3.  President Obama convenes a huge nuclear summit today.  It is the largest meeting of world leaders arranged by a U.S. President since FDR in 1945.  Whoa.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blogtalk Radio Topic: The Prison Industrial Complex

Via Freedom Thru Speech Radio:

The Prison Industrial Complex Episode: Is the Criminal Justice System the New Jim Crow?

Where it concerns the criminal justice system and the minority communities—primarily African American and Hispanic, something has changed. Perhaps my experience is unique, but when I was a child, those families in my community with family members incarcerated were few and far between, at least, as far as we knew because going to prison, or the “pen” as my grandmother called it, was deemed disgraceful, so families often went to great pains to hide the incarceration of a family member. But today there is hardly any family that has not been affected the incarceration of a family member. According to the numbers, in 1980 only 350,000 were incarcerated; by the turn of the century, that number had increased to over 2 million. But let me ask you this question: Why do you believe this is so? Join us at Freedom thru Speech Radio as we discuss this nation’s criminal justice system and seek to answer these questions and more. Tonight we will be introducing our new co-host, The Janitor of the blog Urban Politico. Also, gracing us with their presence is The Prisoner’s Wife of the blog This Side of the Wall and LoveBabz of the blog Lovebabz: A Life in Transition.

Date / Time: 4/11/2010 8:00 PM (Eastern)
Call-in Number: (914) 803-4881


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Confederate Patriotism or American Patriotism - Pick One Already!

In light of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's recent proclamation that April is "Confederate History Month" in the state of Virginia, a quick history lesson is in order:

March 4, 1861 - 7 states in the South (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas) were pissed off at the anti-slavery infringement on "state's rights" by the Federal Government, declared that they were officially secceeding from the United States of America (aka "the North"), and formed their own government: the Confederate States of America. [can you imagine how wild that would look in today's context?]  About a month later, they attacked the United States at Fort Sumter, causing 4 more states to join the cause (Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia).  President Abraham Lincoln, who had just taken office by the way, ordered the troops of the United States to fight the Confederacy and officially started what we all now know as The Civil War.  That war lasted for another 4 years killing more Americans (over 620,000) than any other war or military operation that America has ever been a part of since.  As we all know, the United States won the Civil War in 1865, reclaimed the Southern states through the "Reconstruction" period, and ended slavery in America.

Fast forward to today, Governor McDonnell steps into office in Virginia and within his first few months in office he signs an executive order reducing the legal protection for gays and lesbians in his state, and then, while he's on a roll, issues a proclamation to honor the Confederacy.  One can only imagine what's next.

But before we get off on that tangent, about a week ago The Fed did a post about the so-called "Real Americans;" people who claim that their patriotism for America is superior to others because of certain enumerated beliefs typically revolving around a social conservative agenda.  One of the biggest ironies (or perhaps "hypocrisies" is a more apt description) of this group is their love for the Confederacy, it's flag, and all things associated therewith.  Nothing could be more anti-patriotic.

All racial implications of slavery aside (and that is a HUGE aside, people), the reason why honoring the Confederacy is anti-patriotic is simple: secession from the United States is treason. Text-book treason at that.  If you love America, you cannot love something that tried to destroy America. The two concepts are mutually exclusive.  We can add this inconsistency to the long line of inconsistencies talked about by The Fed and others regarding how so-called "Real Americans" seem to be missing the point about what it means to actually be, well, an American.  If you wanted to honor the memory of the Civil War, then decalre April "Civil War History Month," not "Confederate History Month."   In sum, Governor McDonnell's declaration of "Confederate History Month" in order to honor the Civil War is analogous to declaring September as "Al-Qaeda History Month" in order to honor 9/11.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Get off My TeeVee: CNN Edition

CNN "seriously" just had a segment titled: "Homosexuality: Is It A Problem In Need Of A Cure?"

People imma need you to catch up.  This ain't 1950 when we thought being gay was a mental illness.  It's not. Move the eff on.

Can we just get rid of the whole friggin channel?????

Epic total complete fail.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Get Off My TeeVee: RNC Chairman Michael Steele Edition

So Mr. Steele your excuse is that they mad because you are black?


While I do agree that President Obama has a slimmer margin for error, it irks me to no end that this incompetent fool is able to use the race card as an excuse for his inability to do his job effectively. 

What do you guys think?  Is it fair game for Steele to use the race card to justify criticism against him for going to strip club on the RNC donors tab?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The President Of Cool

Is President Obama cool or what?  During halftime of the first Final Four game of the night, he plays HORSE (subbed as P-O-T-U-S) with Clark Kellogg.  Who wins the President or the All-American from Ohio State?  Watch to find out!

FYI - I love love love when Obama goes, "Wap." Classic.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Urban Beat - April 2, 2010

1.  Newark, New Jersey has first murder free month in 44 years!

Mayor Cory Booker speaks with Rachel Maddow about this milestone.

2.  Obama is really enjoying pwning Republicans and the mainstream media for their ridiculous statements about health reform.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Book of the Month - Republicans and the Black Vote

Republicans and the Black Vote
Michael K. Fauntroy

Fauntroy assesses the Republican Party and its relationship with African Americans in context of the party's conservative ideological shift. He traces the origin of the Republican Party's antislavery, expansionist perspective and support of Reconstruction to the current southern strategy that has sought to secure white southern votes with what is perceived as significantly antiblack views. Fauntroy examines demographic changes in America that conflict with that strategy. But he sees Republican outreach to black voters to be more form than substance, with too many of the issues, policies, and even symbols of the party perceptibly antiblack. Fauntroy, who spoke with prominent Republican policy makers and its few black party members, including former Oklahoma representative J.C. Watts, gives an overview of policies and strategies that have failed to attract blacks, and suggests some areas of overlapping interest can be more effectively highlighted. In addition to the relationship between blacks and the Republican Party, this work provides an excellent overview of domestic political issues of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

At the time of this posting, new copies available for $26, used for $14 HERE.