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Opinion

Black names: What’s the problem?

Black names: What’s the problem?

Jamelle Bouie, writing at the Daily Beast, concludes that the perennial debate among some whites about so-called unconventional black names says more about white ethnocentrism and racial inequality than black culture.

Reddit (the website) isn't just a clearinghouse for interviews, animal pictures, and crazy stories. It's also a place where people ask questions and have discussions. Yesterday, one user wondered about "black" names, posing a question to the "Black American parents of Reddit," as he put it. "Before racism is called out, I have plenty of black friends," he noted, raising the question of why he didn't ask these alleged friends. "(I'm) just curious why you name your kids names like D'brickishaw, Barkevious D'quell and so on?" ...

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Our rotten prison system

Our rotten prison system

In the name of "full disclosure" let me say that I have a bachelor's degree in Correctional Administration (School of Sociology, University of Wisconsin). During the summer of 1969, I did my required internship at the Wisconsin School for Girls located in Oregon, Wisconsin. These were underage offenders who were found guilty of petty crimes or "bad behavior".

My ambition was to change bad human behavior into honorable behavior. The curriculum I was reading promoted the best models of rehabilitation. I was so pumped but the internship showed me the reality of our system of corrections.

None, I really mean none, of the girls in the reform school were evil or bad. They all had a messed up family life. The overwhelming majority had no fathers and their mothers lacked a work ethic (welfare dependence). Role models were nowhere to be found. For those three months I basically became their father (whites, Hispanics and Blacks alike).

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  • Written by Harry C, Alford

Beef up your plate with a new health journey

Beef up your plate with a new health journey

It's back-to-school time and students are faced with so many weighty challenges – what clothes to wear, food to eat, which hair style is best, who to hang out with and the perception of peers.

What happened to the good old days when a child could just be child? Back then a lot of these concerns really didn't matter as much because everyone tended to look and dress alike. People bought their clothes from the same five-and-dime store.

It was a rare occurrence that someone missed school or was sick. If that happened, someone went out the way and checked on them; and usually there was a health situation going on, but not for long.

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New football season, same offensive names

New football season, same offensive names

I cannot let a football season open without raising the question of the names of sports teams generally and the Washington "Redskins" in particular. I continue to be absolutely amazed at the resistance on the part of team owners to changing the names of these teams, but also the tolerance by so many fans of these racist names.

I have to pick on the Washington Redskins both because I was once a fan of the team and also because I live in the D.C.-area and have watched this situation close-up. As I raised in a column a few months ago, a poll was released this spring that indicated that most fans wanted to leave the name of the team as it is, despite the fact that it insults Native Americans. For some this was seen as the end of the discussion because it appeared to vindicate the position taken by the team's owners.

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  • Written by Bill Fletcher Jr.

Sounds odd but Jamal & Ebony do love America

Sounds odd but Jamal & Ebony do love America

The concept of patriotism is not readily associated with inner city black children. Modern-day images of patriotism that usually come to mind reflect the iconic look of Uncle Sam – suburban and rural whites clad in American flags. This traditional conception, coupled with prevalent depictions of inner city black youth as self-interested malcontents, complicates any attempt at putting a young, indigent, black face on patriotism.

But as many Americans know, though there are numerous challenges that face inner city youth, there is also a patriotism often overlooked in favor of a fixation on the tragedies.

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African-American jobs crisis: Could GOP do better?

African-American jobs crisis: Could GOP do better?

After five years of nonstop bad news regarding African-American unemployment, the Obama administration was finally able to celebrate some good news last month, or so it seemed. In July, African-American unemployment dipped to 12.6 percent, a small but significant change from June's 13.7 percent unemployment rate – and substantially lower than the high of 16.5 percent that it reached in January 2010.

But any celebration was likely short-lived. While the national unemployment rate decreased slightly in August, to 7.3 percent, reaching a five-year low, that same month, African-American unemployment rose to 13 percent.

So at this point, who exactly is to blame for the seemingly unshakable epidemic of unemployment in the African-American community? Bob Woodson, an African-American conservative, generated headlines for his fiery speech at a Republican National Committee luncheon commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. During his address he argued that when it comes to policy and progress, all other demographic groups have taken precedence over poor African Americans.

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Cheating our students

Cheating our students

There are very few things that are as vile and predatory than cheating young black students out of a decent education. There are two things that quickly come to my mind when I ponder this subject. There is also a third event that has developed in the last few years. Let's begin at the beginning.

When school segregation was ending as the civil rights era was beginning to yield results, two groups got together and concocted a scheme. In order to quickly integrate schools the idea of school busing evolved. It seemed like a good idea to many who thought by having their children sit next to white people, their skills would automatically improve. Those who stood to gain from this were bus manufacturers (many more buses will be needed) and unions that would increase their membership through the numerous number of bus drivers. So, groups such as the NAACP and others were encouraged to lead the charge for school busing.

The busing was pretty much one-way. Whites weren't going to send their kids on a bus to sit with black students. When two-way busing was being forced, the white students enrolled in private schools even if they had to quickly build the private school.

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  • Written by Harry C, Alford

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