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Monday, March 23, 2015

Starbucks - and Why the Race Conversation Is Over

By Andrew Klavan

[1]

You may be a left-wing knucklehead if…

…you think the problem with the U.S. is that we need to have a “conversation about race.”

Here’s my contribution to Starbucks’ obnoxious and condescending “Race Together” [2] effort to pour their ideas about race down our throats along with their coffee. If you think America hasn’t talked about race, you’re lying to yourself. The U.S. has talked about almost nothing but race for the last fifty years. Your real complaint is that we’re not saying what you want us to say and haven’t reached the conclusions you, in your self-righteousness, decree we should reach.

The leftists of the Democratic Party — the party of slavery; the party of the Ku Klux Klan; the party of Jim Crow; the party of segregation; the party of a welfare state that destroyed the black family in ways the most evil slaver could only dream of; the party of abortion, which snuffs out more black lives than heart attacks and cancer combined — call us racist when we oppose them. I weep sad tears. I so wanted their good opinion.

The Democrats and the rest of the left bewail the harsh treatment of black criminals — and then hamper or gut [3] police programs that lower crime in crime-ravaged black communities. The left calls for government program after program but fails to acknowledge that the black rise from poverty to the middle class was faster [4] before the leftist program explosion of the sixties and seventies began. The left calls for hiring and school admission favoritism [5] for blacks but never explains how it’s fair that a white or Asian-American baby born today should be penalized for things that happened before he or she existed.

There has been egregious injustice against blacks in the past — and you can’t fix the past by poisoning the present. There are people who don’t like blacks today — and there will be racists tomorrow and forever and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. There are horrible problems besetting some black neighborhoods — and most of them have been exacerbated [6] by leftist government programs when they haven’t been caused by them.

But let’s for a moment pretend that every misguided or dishonest assertion the left promulgates about race in America is actually true. What then?

Well, let’s say you had a friend — a real friend, someone you wished well. Let’s say your friend came to you and said, “Friend, I am a victim of circumstance. Things that happened before I was born have left me disadvantaged. Some people dislike me on sight. The police suspect me because I look like other criminals they’ve seen. I’ll never get ahead in life.”

What would you say to him?

Would you say, “Poor helpless fellow. You’re right: you’ll never get ahead until those injustices are made right. But don’t worry, I’ll keep lending you just enough money to make it unnecessary for you to work. I’ll pretend you’re qualified for positions when you’re not so people lose faith in you. Whenever you do anything wrong — commit a crime, mistreat a woman, anything — I’ll let you off the hook; I’ll use your circumstances as an excuse to make sure you keep making the same mistakes. Don’t worry. Everyone around you is evil, but I will always protect you.  For I am kind.”

Or would you say: “Hey, life’s tough, broheim. Be tougher. You can’t change the past. Only the future is in your hands. Work hard. Get an education. Stay off drugs. Don’t have kids you can’t support with people you won’t marry. You want something? Earn it. Don’t expect me or anyone else to give you any advantages. I can’t — that would be unfairly taking away from others. And every time you do wrong, expect me, your pal, to kick your ass so you don’t do it again. If things are harder for you than for other people, then you just have to be better than other people, that’s all. I wish I had an easier answer. But I don’t — and no one else does either. Good luck.”

If you said the latter, you would be a true friend and you would give your friend a fighting chance to succeed, his only chance. If you said the former, you would be a fake, making yourself feel compassionate while infantilizing someone who desperately needed your good advice.

The left are fake friends to black people; conservatives true.

And thus, my Starbucaneers, endeth the conversation.

 

http://pjmedia.com/andrewklavan/2015/03/22/the-race-conversation-is-over/

Sunday, March 22, 2015

'Hands up, don't shoot' did not happen in Ferguson

The Washington Post Fact Checker

By Michelle Ye Hee Lee

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

 

Hands Up. Don’t Shoot!

–Protesters in the aftermath of the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

This phrase became a rallying cry for Ferguson residents, who took to the streets to protest the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. Witness accounts spread after the shooting that Brown had his hands raised in surrender, mouthing the words “Don’t shoot” as his last words before being shot execution-style. The gesture of raised hands became a symbol of outrage over mistreatment of unarmed black youth by police.

That narrative was called into question when a St. Louis County grand jury could not confirm those testimonies. And a recently released Department of Justice investigative report concluded the same.

Yet the gesture continues to be used today. So we wanted to set the record straight on the DOJ’s findings, especially after The Washington Post’s opinion writer Jonathan Capehart wrote that it was “built on a lie.” From time to time, we retroactively check statements as new information becomes available. In this case, the Justice Department has concluded that Wilson acted out of self-defense, and was justified in killing Brown.

Does “Hands up, don’t shoot” capture the facts of Brown’s shooting? What has it come to symbolize now?

The Facts

“Hands up, don’t shoot” links directly to Brown’s death, and it went viral. After the shooting, St. Louis Rams players raised their hands as a symbolic gesture entering the field before a football game. Protesters chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot” during rallies after a grand jury in the state’s case against Wilson decided not to indict Wilson in Brown’s killing. The phrase and gesture were on signs, T-shirts, hashtags, memes and magazine covers. It even has its own Wikipedia page.

In November 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson after finding that witness reports did not match up with evidence. Other witnesses recanted their original accounts or changed them, calling their veracity into question. In particular, the grand jury could not confirm the “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative the way it was told after the shooting. By then, however, the phrase had taken on a message of its own.

On Dec. 1, 2014, four members of the Congressional Black Caucus repeated the gesture while delivering speeches on the House Floor titled, “Black in America: What Ferguson Says About Where We Are and Where We Need to Go.” Each of the members held up their hands, and the image spread widely online.

Yet the Department of Justice’s March 4, 2015, investigative report on the shooting of Michael Brown found federal investigators could not confirm witness accounts that Brown signaled surrender before being killed execution-style. The department’s descriptions of about 40 witness testimonies show the original claims that Brown had his hands up were not accurate.

Some witnesses who claimed they saw Brown’s hands raised had testimonies that were inconsistent with physical and forensic evidence. Some admitted to federal investigators they felt pressured to retell the narrative that was being spread after Brown’s shooting. Others recanted their initial testimonies saying they had heard it through media reports or via social media. A few witnesses said Brown had his hands out to his side with his palms up, as if saying “What?” Others said Brown’s hands were not raised, as he was charging at Wilson. A few said Brown’s hands were “balled up.”

Investigators narrowed down the “hands up” claim to a witness – Witness 128 – who had told his family and neighbors his inaccurate version of events as crowds gathered minutes and hours after the shooting, the report says. Another witness could not confirm what she saw because of her poor vision, but she heard a man running around the apartments along the street where Wilson shot Brown. The man was saying something to the effect of, “The police shot my friend and his hands were up.” The witness said that “quickly became the narrative on the street, and to her frustration, people used it both as an excuse to riot and to create a ‘block party’ atmosphere.”

A key passage from the report:

Investigators tracked down several individuals who, via the aforementioned media, claimed to have witnessed Wilson shooting Brown as Brown held his hands up in clear surrender. All of these purported witnesses, upon being interviewed by law enforcement, acknowledged that they did not actually witness the shooting, but rather repeated what others told them in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. … Witness accounts suggesting that Brown was standing still with his hands raised in an unambiguous signal of surrender when Wilson shot Brown are inconsistent with the physical evidence, are otherwise not credible because of internal inconsistencies, or are not credible because of inconsistencies with other credible evidence. In contrast, Wilson’s account of Brown’s actions, if true, would establish that the shootings were not objectively unreasonable under the relevant Constitutional standards governing an officer’s use of deadly force.

In August 2014, after Brown’s death, members of the Congressional Black Caucus delivered speeches about law enforcement’s excessive use of force against black youth. In December 2014, members again spoke about Ferguson killing and those of three others killed by police between August and Dec. 1, 2014: Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Akai Gurley in Brooklyn and Eric Garner in Staten Island. Four members of Congress– New York Democrats Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke, and Texas Democrats Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green — raised their hands during their speeches in solidarity with the “Hands up, don’t shoot” movement. The grand jury had questioned this characterization by then.

We requested an interview with those members and other caucus leaders, to see if the DOJ report changed their responses to the Brown shooting. Jeffries responded to our request. He noted that during the December 2014 hearing, none of the members used “Hands up, don’t shoot” as a factual analysis of Brown’s shooting. A review of their comments while raising their hands confirms this:

  • Clarke: “Hands up, don’t shoot. … I first want to once again offer my condolence to the family of Michael Brown, whose efforts to secure justice on behalf of their son were undermined by the decision of the grand jury. The killing of Michael Brown, and attacks by the Ferguson Police Department on protesters, demonstrate an assumption that young women and men who are African American are inherently suspicious — a false assumption with deadly consequences.”
  • Green: “This has become the new symbol, a new statement — a statement wherein people around the country now are calling to the attention of those who don’t quite understand that this is a movement that will not dissipate. It will not evaporate. It’s a movement that is going to continue because young people — a new generation — has decided that they’re going to engage themselves in the liberation movement.”
  • Jeffries: “‘Hands up, don’t shoot,’ is a rallying cry of people all across America who are fed up with police violence — in community, after community, after community, fed up with police violence in Ferguson, in Brooklyn, in Cleveland, in Oakland, in cities and counties and rural communities all across America.”
  • Lee: “I also admire the young St. Louis Rams players who raised their hands, to be able to share in the dignity of those young, peaceful protesters. If we don’t affirm non-violence, then who will?”

The same day the DOJ released the shooting report, it also published the results of its investigation into the Ferguson Police Department. This report highlighted systemic exploitation and racial profiling of black residents in Ferguson. Jeffries said that report underscored the importance of the message of “Hands up, don’t shoot.” He said: “The issue of dealing with the police use of excessive force, often directed at unarmed African American men, in the absence of subsequent accountability through the criminal justice system, remains just as important today as it was the day before the Department of Justice report was filed.”

Justin Hansford, St. Louis University professor who has been organizing legal and community advocacy after Brown’s death, said the DOJ report on Brown’s shooting did not prove that Brown never had his hands up at any point during his confrontation with Wilson. The DOJ could not find evidence to conclusively say that he did, which is an important legal distinction, he said.

Hansford said his Facebook profile photo remains an image of “Hands up” because the message is consistent regardless of the positioning of Brown’s hands: “I don’t feel any way that I was somehow duped or tricked or that my picture was based on a lie. I think it is a very symbolic gesture that really speaks to the experiences of a lot of us, a lot of youth of color.”

The Pinocchio Test

Catchy phrases like “Hands up, don’t shoot,” “Black lives matter,” “an unarmed black person is killed every 28 hours” (which we have fact checked) have resulted from protests over the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner. They are emotional messages spread easily, like the “We are 99 percent” mantra of Occupy Wall Street.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2015/03/19/hands-up-dont-shoot-did-not-happen-in-ferguson/

 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Remembering The 50th Anniversary of "Black Sunday"

 


Pinning the Tail on the Donkey
 by Paul R. Hollrah
March 14, 2015
 
Two recent outrages following the 50th anniversary "Black Sunday" march in Selma, Alabama, require a pointed response to Democrats.  First, a photograph of Barack Obama leading a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma is minus its most distinguished participant, George W. Bush.  The photo appearing on page one of the March 8 edition of the New York Times, above the fold, has been skillfully cropped to eliminate any photographic evidence that George W. and Laura Bush marched across the bridge with Obama and other black leaders.
 
Then, a black woman named Diane Nash, identified as a Martin Luther King, Jr. "Lieutenant," proclaimed that she refused to march in the reenactment because George Bush was a participant.  As she explained, the reenactment of the March 7, 1965 march was intended to show support for non-violence, which George W. Bush opposes.  Yet, she and other Democrats appear not to be concerned that Selma's most visible landmark is named after a known white supremacist, a reputed member of the Ku Klux Klan.  Nor do they seem to find any incongruity in joining forces with the Democrat Party, a party that for nearly a century imposed its will on black people with whips, bullets, fire bombs, and the hangman's noose.
 
Each and every year the American taxpayer spends billions of dollars and countless classroom hours on a curriculum called "black history."  But one wonders exactly what is being taught in those classrooms.  Are the schools and classroom teachers innocently omitting significant truths of black history, or are they purposely lying to black children?  Are black children being taught that it was the Republican Party that was born out of opposition to slavery, and that it was the country's first Republican president who put an end to the institution of slavery?  Are they being taught that hundreds of thousands of the sons of white Republican abolitionists gave their lives in order to free black men and women from the bonds of slavery?  And are they being taught that it was Republicans who gave us the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, outlawing slavery and giving blacks citizenship and the right to vote?
 
In the years immediately following the Civil War, southern Democrats found that they could no longer control and oppress their former slaves.  However, just because human slavery had been permanently abolished, Democrats didn't immediately join the ranks of abolitionists.  Instead, in 1866, they established a paramilitary auxiliary called the Ku Klux Klan to keep the freed slaves in line and to force them to vote for Democratic candidates.  And once they'd regained control of the southern legislatures they set about enacting Jim Crow laws and the Black Codes, dictating where and for whom blacks could work, where they could live, where they could eat and sleep, which restrooms and drinking fountains they could use, and where they were allowed to sit in movie theaters and on trains and busses.  Such inhumane policies were still in effect as late as the 1950s.  As black historian John Hope Franklin has written, "The personal indignities inflicted upon individual whites and Negroes were so varied and so numerous as to defy classification or enumeration."
 
Herbert Aptheker, in his book, Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States, Vol. 2, quotes the November 1, 1871 testimony of John Childers, a black resident of Livingston, Alabama, as recorded in Senate Report No. 579 of the 48th Congress.
 
Childers was questioned about threats made against him and whether or not he was afraid of what might happen to him if he voted Republican.  Childers replied, "I was sir, because… there was a man that told me he had a coffin already made for me.  Yes, sir, I voted it, and don't pretend to deny it before nobody.  When I was going to the polls there was a man standing in the door and (he) says, 'Here comes you, God damn your soul, I have a coffin already made for you.'   I had two tickets in my pocket then; a Democratic ticket and a (Republican) ticket.  I pulled out the Democratic ticket and showed it to him, and he says, 'You are all right, go on.' "
 
On March 25, 1871, Kentucky blacks sent a letter to the Congress, saying, "The Democratic Party has here a political organization composed only of Democrats - not a single Republican can join them…. We pray that you will take some steps to remedy these evils listed below?"  The letter provided details of 85 murders (hangings and shootings), 18 beatings, 5 fire-bombings, 1 rape, and 10 miscellaneous attacks in Kentucky in the three year period between January 1868 and January 1871.  Although no official records of Klan atrocities, nationwide, are available for the years 1866 to 1882, Tuskegee Institute records indicate that, between the years 1882 and 1951, some 3,437 blacks and 1,293 whites, nearly all Republicans, were lynched by the KKK.
 
On May 17, 1918, Klansmen committed an atrocity in Valdosta, Georgia that almost defies description.  Mary Turner, a black woman who was nine months pregnant, announced that she would seek the prosecution of the Klansmen who had lynched her husband, Hayes Turner.  A mob dragged her from her home, tortured her, and hanged her.  And while she was still alive, hanging from the rope, they cut open her womb, the child spilled out onto the ground and they crushed the baby's skull under the heel of a boot… proving only that Democrats, in the history of their party, have been just as ruthless and bloodthirsty as the fighters of Islamic State who have a fondness for cutting the heads off their captives and burning others alive.
 
Are black children instructed on the evils of the KKK and who they were?  If not, they may be interested in the congressional testimony of former Klan member Thomas W. Willeford.  When questioned about his initiation into the organization and what he was told of the objective of the Klan, Willeford replied: "They told me it was to damage the Republican Party as much as they could… burning, stealing, whipping n_ _ _ _ _ s and such things as that." 
 
Unlike blacks of today, 19th century blacks had a well-informed opinion of Democrats.  Herbert Aptheker has written that, on February 18, 1884, Mrs. Violet Keeling, a black woman, testified before a U.S. Senate committee regarding black voting preferences.  She was asked what she would do if she found that her husband had voted Democratic.  She said: "I think if a colored man votes the Democratic ticket he has already sold himself… I would just pick up my clothes and go to my father's, if I had a father, or would go to work for 25 cents a day."
 
And finally, what are black children taught about the Democratic Party's longstanding fondness for fraud and political corruption?  After Democrats gained control of the White House and both houses of Congress in 1894, they introduced the Repeal Act of 1894, hoping to repeal all of the major civil rights laws enacted by Republicans since the Civil War, including the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the First Reconstruction Act of 1867, the Enforcement Act of 1870, the Force Act of 1871, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, and the Civil Rights Act of 1875 (identical to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which today's Democrats attempt to take credit for).
 
Just before the final Senate vote on February 7, 1894, Senator George Hoar (R-MA) took Democrats to task on the Senate floor.  He said, in part, "Wherever there is a crevice in our protection of the freedom of the ballot there you will find the Democratic Party trying to break through.  Wherever we have left open an opportunity to get possession of an office contrary to the true and constitutional will of the majority, there you will find that party pressing; there you will find that party exercising an ingenuity before which even the great inventive genius of (the) American People, exerted in other directions, fails and is insignificant in the comparison… …
 
"If you will produce me a citizen of the United States, a Democrat, who lost his honest vote in consequence of intimidation or impediment, created by these United States marshals, I will find on record here the proof of ten thousand Republicans who have lost their votes by Democratic practices….  Mr. President, the nation must protect its own.  Every citizen whose right is imperiled, if he be but one, when it is a right of national citizenship and a right conferred and enjoyed under the Constitution of the United States, has the right to demand for its protection the entire force of the United States until the Army has spent its last man and the Navy fired its last gun.  Most of us have nothing else than the right to vote….  The urn in which the American cast his ballot ought to be, aye, and it shall be, as sacred as a sacramental vessel." 
 
And finally, are young blacks taught that, in 1909, four white Republicans issued a call for a meeting to discuss racial justice for African Americans?  The organization created as a result of that meeting was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)… the once-respected organization whose politics has drifted so far to the left that it has lost all relevance as a force for the social and economic advancement of minorities.
 
Since the earliest days of the civil rights movement in the 1950s, African Americans have been so thoroughly propagandized by Democrats that most rank-and-file Republicans consider them to be a lost cause.  They won't even attempt to reach out to blacks because they're convinced that, if they do, black leaders will only attempt to draw them into a bidding war for the hearts and minds of black people.  That, Republicans will never do.
 
Sadly, the spineless men and women Republicans elect to Congress today seem blithely unaware that they are playing an entirely different game than their colleagues across the aisle.  Perhaps one day they will come to understand that Democrats of today are pretty much like Democrats of the 19th and 20th centuries.  The only major difference being that, today, they no longer arrive on horseback in the middle of the night, carrying ropes and torches and dressed in hoods and white sheets.  Today, they fly in private jets and wear Armani suits, silk ties, and Rolex watches.
 
On March 7th, Ms. Diane Nash refused to participate in the reenactment of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge because she was afraid she might accidentally rub elbows with George W. Bush.  Wouldn't it be fun to sit down with Ms. Nash just to remind her of all the things black children are not being taught in "black history" class?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Drawing the Wrong Lessons From Selma About America Today

Ferguson, Mo., in 2015 is not Alabama in 1965. But liberals have reasons to pretend otherwise.

By Jason L. Riley

When National Public Radio on Sunday asked Selma’s mayor how—not whether, but how—“what happened in Selma 50 years ago fits into the current conversation about race relations in this country,” he rejected the query’s premise.

“I’m not so sure how it fits,” said George Evans, the Alabama city’s second black mayor. “We have a lot more crime going on in 2015 all over this country than we had in 1965. Segregation existed, but we didn’t have the crime. So now, even though we’ve gained so much through voting rights and Bloody Sunday, we’ve stepped backwards when it comes to crime and drugs and the jail system—things like that.”

The interviewer pressed him. “What is life like for the average citizen in Selma,” which is 80% black, she asked. “I mean, your city does have challenges. You’ve got chronic unemployment rates. What are the biggest problems from your vantage point?”

Still, Mr. Evans wouldn’t give her the answer she was fishing for. He wouldn’t play the race card. “Well, from the standpoint of jobs, we have a lot of jobs. It’s just that there are a lot of people who do not have the skill level to man these jobs. And that’s the biggest problem we have. There are industries and businesses here that are searching for people to come to work. But many times they’re not able to get the jobs because they’re not going back to pick up that trade or that technical skill that’s needed in order to take that job.”

The mayor’s comments are noteworthy because so many others have used the anniversary of the historic march to score political points and draw tortured parallels between the challenges facing blacks a half-century ago and those facing blacks today. In remarks last weekend at the foot of the bridge in Selma where police billy-clubbed and tear-gassed peaceful protesters on March 7, 1965, President Obama decried “overcrowded prisons” and “unfair sentencing” without ever mentioning black crime rates. He repeatedly invoked Ferguson and called photo-identification laws “voter suppression.” Maybe someone should send Mr. Obama a link to the NPR interview with Mayor Evans.

Ferguson, Mo., in 2015 is not Selma, Ala., in 1965. Black people in America today are much more likely to experience racial preferences than racial slights. The violent crime that is driving the black incarceration rate spiked after the civil-rights victories of the 1960s, not before. And if voter-ID laws threaten the black franchise, no one seems to have told the black electorate. According to the Census Bureau, the black voter-turnout rate in 2012 exceeded the white turnout rate, even in states with the strictest voter-ID requirements.

The socioeconomic problems that blacks face today have nothing to do with civil-rights barriers and nearly everything to do with a black subculture that rejects certain attitudes and behaviors that are conducive to upward mobility. Yet Mr. Obama has a political interest—and the civil-rights industry has a vested interest—in pretending that the opposite is true.

“Liberalism in the twenty-first century is, for the most part, a moral manipulation that exaggerates inequity and unfairness in American life in order to justify overreaching public policies and programs,” writes the Hoover Institution’s Shelby Steele in “Shame,” his timely new book on political polarization and race relations in the U.S. This liberalism, he adds, is “not much interested in addressing discrimination case by case; rather, it assumes that all minorities and women are systematically discriminated against so that only government-enforced preferential policies for these groups—across the entire society—can bring us close to equity.”

Liberalism, moreover, tends to ignore or play down the black advancement that took place prior to the major civil-rights triumphs of the 1960s and instead credits government interventions that at best continued trends already in place. Black poverty fell 40 percentage points between 1940 and 1960—a drop that no Great Society antipoverty program has ever come close to matching. Blacks were also increasing their years of schooling and entering the white-collar workforce at a faster rate prior to the affirmative-action schemes of the 1970s than they were after those programs were put in place to help them.

The civil-rights battles of the 1960s have been fought and won, thanks in part to the thousands of brave souls who marched 50 years ago from the Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Selma to the Montgomery Statehouse. The racial disparity that persists today is not evidence that too many blacks face the same challenges they did in 1965, that “the march is not yet finished,” as Mr. Obama asserted. Rather, it is evidence that too few blacks—as Selma’s mayor told NPR—have taken advantage of the opportunities now available to them.

Mr. Riley, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and Journal contributor, is the author of “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” (Encounter Books, 2014).

http://www.wsj.com/articles/jason-l-riley-drawing-the-wrong-lessons-from-selma-about-america-today-1426028297

Sunday, February 22, 2015

America's Most Influential Thinker on Race

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s insights are reshaping law and policy for the better.

By Juan Williams

 

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Photo: Getty Images


In his office hangs a copy of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in America. When his critics, and he has many, call him names, he likes to point to it and shout out, “I’m a free man!” This black history month is an opportunity to celebrate the most influential thinker on racial issues in America today—Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas .

Justice Thomas, who has been on the court nearly a quarter-century, remains a polarizing figure—loved by conservatives and loathed by liberals. But his “free”-thinking legal opinions are opening new roads for the American political debate on racial justice.

His opinions are rooted in the premise that the 14th Amendment—guaranteeing equal rights for all—cannot mean different things for different people. As he wrote in Fisher v. University of Texas (2013), he is opposed to “perpetual racial tinkering” by judges to fix racial imbalance and inequality at schools and the workplace. Yet he never contends racism has gone away. The fact that a 2001 article in Time magazine about him was headlined “Uncle Tom Justice” reminds us that racism stubbornly persists.

His only current rival in the race debate is President Obama. At moments of racial controversy the nation’s first black president has used his national pulpit to give voice to black fear that racial stereotyping led to tragedy. But that is as far as he is willing to go. His attorney general, Eric Holder , has gone further by calling Americans “cowards” when it comes to discussing race. And some critics have chastised him even for that.

Justice Thomas, meanwhile, is reshaping the law and government policy on race by virtue of the power of his opinions from the bench. Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American on the Supreme Court, stood up as a voice insisting on rights for black people. Justice Thomas, the second black man on the court, takes a different tack. He stands up for individual rights as a sure blanket of legal protection for everyone, including minorities.

In his dissent in Grutter v. Bollinger, a case that preserved the affirmative-action policies of the University of Michigan Law School, he quoted an 1865 speech by Frederick Douglass : “‘What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice.’ . . . Like Douglass, I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators.”

The principal point Justice Thomas has made in a variety of cases is that black people deserve to be treated as independent, competent, self-sufficient citizens. He rejects the idea that 21st-century government and the courts should continue to view blacks as victims of a history of slavery and racism.

Instead, in an era with a rising number of blacks, Hispanics, Asians and immigrants, he cheers personal responsibility as the basis of equal rights. In his concurring opinion in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena (1995), he made the case against government set-asides for minority businesses by arguing that “racial paternalism and its unintended consequences can be as poisonous and pernicious as any other form of discrimination.” The Constitution, he said, bans discrimination by “those who wish to oppress a race or by those who have a sincere desire to help.”

In the same vein he contends that people who insist on racial diversity as a worthy principle are hiding assumptions of black inferiority. “After all, if separation itself is a harm, and if integration therefore is the only way that blacks can receive a proper education, then there must be something inferior about blacks,” he wrote in his concurring opinion in Missouri v. Jenkins (1995). “Under this theory, segregation injures blacks because blacks, when left on their own, cannot achieve. To my way of thinking that conclusion is the result of a jurisprudence based upon a theory of black inferiority.”

Justice Thomas holds that quality education should be the focus of educators for children of all races and argues there is no proof that integration necessarily improves education. Black leaders, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Thurgood Marshall, he has noted, were educated at black schools.

He also makes the case that diversity in school admissions has never been proven to raise black achievement to the level of people admitted with no special consideration. “Racial imbalance is not segregation,” he wrote in a 2007 case ending Seattle and Louisville plans to reverse racial segregation in schools, “and the mere incantation of terms like re-segregation and remediation cannot make up the difference.” Federal judges, he said, are “not social engineers” charged with creating plans to achieve racial equality.

As he wrote in his concurring opinion in Fisher, even if schools have the best intentions and justify lower standards for blacks seeking college admission in the name of reparations for past injury, “racial discrimination is never benign. . . . There can be no doubt that the University’s discrimination injures white and Asian applicants who are denied admission because of their race.”

This line of thinking has helped to rein in ambitious diversity and desegregation plans in K-12 schools as well as at universities. It has also made Justice Thomas the target of liberal derision. Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson once said he simply “doesn’t like black people” or “being black.” Nevada Sen. Harry Reid once dismissed him as one of “five white men” on the high court. Paradoxically, these bitter attacks are still more evidence that Clarence Thomas is now leading the national debate on race.

Mr. Williams is a political analyst for Fox News and a columnist for the Hill. He is the author of “Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary” (Times Books, Random House, 1998).

http://www.wsj.com/articles/juan-williams-americas-most-influential-thinker-on-race-1424476527

 

 

 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Still Right on the Black Family After All These Years

The warnings that Daniel Patrick Moynihan sounded 50 years ago have come true. Will liberals ever forgive him?

By Jason L. Riley

Will liberals ever forgive Daniel Patrick Moynihan for being right?

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the future senator’s report on the black family, the controversial document issued while he served as an assistant secretary in President Lyndon Johnson’s Labor Department. Moynihan highlighted troubling cultural trends among inner-city blacks, with a special focus on the increasing number of fatherless homes.

“The fundamental problem is that of family structure,” wrote Moynihan, who had a doctorate in sociology. “The evidence—not final but powerfully persuasive—is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling.”

For his troubles, Moynihan was denounced as a victim-blaming racist bent on undermining the civil-rights movement. Even worse, writes Harvard’s Paul Peterson in the current issue of the journal Education Next, Moynihan’s “findings were totally ignored by those who designed public policies at the time.” The Great Society architects would go on to expand old programs or formulate new ones that exacerbated the problems Moynihan identified. Marriage was penalized and single parenting was subsidized. In effect, the government paid mothers to keep fathers out of the home—and paid them well.

“Economists and policy analysts of the day worried about the negative incentives that had been created,” writes Mr. Peterson. “Analysts estimated that in 1975 a household head would have to earn $20,000”—or an inflation-adjusted $88,000 today—“to have more resources than what could be obtained from Great Society programs.”

History has proved that Moynihan was onto something. When the report was released, about 25% of black children and 5% of white children lived in a household headed by a single mother. During the next 20 years the black percentage would double and the racial gap would widen. Today more than 70% of all black births are to unmarried women, twice the white percentage.

For decades research has shown that the likelihood of teen pregnancy, drug abuse, dropping out of school and many other social problems grew dramatically when fathers were absent. One of the most comprehensive studies ever done on juvenile delinquency—by William Comanor and Llad Phillips of the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2002—concluded that “the most critical factor affecting the prospect that a male youth will encounter the criminal justice system is the presence of his father in the home.”

Ultimately, the Moynihan report was an attempt to have an honest conversation about family breakdown and black pathology, one that most liberals still refuse to join. Faulting ghetto culture for ghetto outcomes remains largely taboo among those who have turned bad behavior into a symbol of racial authenticity. Moynihan noted that his goal was to better define a problem that many thought—mistakenly, in his view—was no big deal and would solve itself in the wake of civil-rights gains. The author’s skepticism was warranted.

Later this year the nation also will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which some consider the most significant achievement of the modern-day civil-rights movement. With a twice-elected black man now occupying the White House, it might be difficult for younger Americans to appreciate this milestone. However, in 1964, three years after Barack Obama was born, black voter registration in Mississippi was less than 7%, the lowest in the South. By 1966 it had grown to 60%, the highest in the South.

Today black voter-registration rates in the South, where most blacks still live, are higher than in other regions of the country, and for the first time on record the black voter-turnout rate in 2012 exceeded white turnout.

Rarely does a government action achieve its objective with such speed and precision. Racial restrictions to ballot access were removed and black political power increased dramatically. Since 1970 the number of black elected officials in the U.S. has grown to more than 9,000 from fewer than 1,500 and has included big-city mayors, governors, senators and of course a president.

But even as we note this progress, the political gains have not redounded to the black underclass, which by several important measures—including income, academic achievement and employment—has stagnated or lost ground over the past half-century. And while the civil-rights establishment and black political leaders continue to deny it, family structure offers a much more plausible explanation of these outcomes than does residual white racism.

In 2012 the poverty rate for all blacks was more than 28%, but for married black couples it was 8.4% and has been in the single digits for two decades. Just 8% of children raised by married couples live in poverty, compared with 40% of children raised by single mothers.

One important lesson of the past half-century is that counterproductive cultural traits can hurt a group more than political clout can help it. Moynihan was right about that, too.

Mr. Riley, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and Journal contributor, is the author of “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” (Encounter Books, 2014).

http://www.wsj.com/articles/jason-l-riley-still-right-on-the-black-family-after-all-these-years-1423613625

 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Black GOP Lawmakers Stress Self-Reliance at Trailblazer Luncheon

By Clyde McGrady

(Clyde McGrady/CQ Roll Call)

The Republican National Committee on Wednesday hosted its 3rd Annual Republican Trailblazer Awards Luncheon at the historic Howard Theatre — a venue graced by legendary black luminaries and performers such as Booker T. Washington, Duke Ellington and Drake.

The RNC calls the luncheon “an event that celebrates Black History Month by honoring black Republicans who have blazed a path for future leaders.” This year’s honorees were Utah Rep. Mia Love, Texas Rep. Will Hurd, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and posthumously, former Republican Sen. Edward Brooke III of Massachusetts who died earlier this year at the age of 95.

The atmosphere was loose and jovial after Patrick Lundy and the Ministry of Music led the audience in a stirring rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing (The Black National Anthem)” — all three verses, even the two that no one can ever seem to remember. Roland Martin, host and managing editor of TVOne’s daily morning show, “NewsOne Now,” co-hosted the event along with CNN political commentator and Blaze TV contributor Tara Setmayer Love.

The two emcees displayed an easy rapport but it was Martin who clearly seemed to thrive on playing to the crowd, telling Rev. Ralph Gilliam before the minister led the room in prayer, “Look, we all know God, we all know Jesus, so I need you to make this quick.”

“It’s good to know Roland goes to church once in a while to know how long preachers can talk,” Gilliam shot back.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus used the occasion to boast about inroads the Republican Party has made to the black community during his time as chair and reiterate his pledge of growing the party.

“Not only is our delegation to Congress more diverse, but we also saw increased support nationally among black voters,” Priebus said during his prepared remarks. “My commitment to you as chairman is to continue building a bigger, stronger, more inclusive Republican Party. Not because it’s good for our party, but because it’s good for our country.”

Hurd was the first honoree to take the stage, teasing Martin — his fellow Texas A&M alum — and telling the crowd why he’s proud to be a Republican.

“A lot of people don’t know we went to the same alma mater. I want to know, did you wear that ascot when you were in College Station?” Hurd asked Martin before turning more serious. “The Republican Party is willing to help people no matter where they live or what they’re doing. It’s about the Republican Party creating opportunity for all. It’s exciting for me to be here in Washington, D.C., fighting on behalf of those principles.”

Love evoked the Civil Rights movement during her speech, thanking people who marched and were thrown in jail to make her success possible. She also preached a need for self-reliance by evoking slavery. “We need to remove ourselves from a different kind of slavery,” Love said. “And what I’m talking about is the slavery that comes from being dependent on people in power.”

Brad Thomas, a black 33-year-old former Republican operative from Norfolk, Va., said he was glad to be at the luncheon and was most looking forward to hearing Sen. Tim Scott, the first African-American senator elected from the South since Reconstruction.

“If you look at his history, it’s the American Dream,” Thomas said. “Mr. Scott will tell you he had it rough growing up. He came from less fortunate circumstances but he had a mom who cared. He had some difficulties and he overcame them and he’s a United States senator. And no matter your party, being an African-American senator is a big deal. There are only two of them.”

Scott started his remarks by marveling at the unlikelihood of his success given his inauspicious beginnings as a young man. He told the audience he believes he is the only congressman to ever flunk high school civics. But Scott credited the diligence of his grandfather and conservatives principles for turning his life around.

Scott closed by encouraging Republicans to reach out to people with more diverse backgrounds. “We win the battle of ideas when we are willing to leave our comfort zones, entering the places where we rarely have been and spend some quality time understanding the potential of neighborhoods like [the one] I grew up in.”

It’s one thing to reach out to black voters with an uplifting message of freedom, hard work and self-reliance, but it becomes much more difficult when part of that messaging involves drawing sharp contrasts with the Democratic Party — a party led by a black president who enjoys 9-to-1 support within the black community.

“It’s our duty to point out problems when they persist but also offer solutions,” said Orlando Watson, RNC communications director for black media. “What you’re seeing from the Republican Party is exactly that. That’s why we were successful in the midterm elections. We have work to do and we’re going to keep at it. We stand for advancing and pushing policies that keep more money in people’s pockets, put food on the table for them and expand access to quality education for children.”

 

 

http://blogs.rollcall.com/hill-blotter/black-gop-lawmakers-stress-self-reliance-at-trailblazer-luncheon/?dcz=

 

 

NBRA Chairman Frances Rice

About Me

Lieutenant Colonel Frances Rice, United States Army, Retired is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and retired from the Army in 1984 after 20 years of active service. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Drury College in 1973, a Masters of Business Administration from Golden Gate University in 1976, and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1977. In 2005, she became a co-founder and Chairman of the National Black Republican Association, an organization that is committed to returning African Americans to their Republican Party roots.