Independence Day Edition!

Felix G. Rohatyn

Evolutionary psychology teaches us that it may take as many as 1,000 generations for even an exceptionally beneficial genetic mutation to permeate an entire species. It is not surprising, then, that a mere ten generations after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, American human nature has (apparently) changed negligibly, if at all. This point [...]

As Labor Faces Turning Point, UNITE HERE National Convention Opens

Unite_Here

UNITE HERE, best known for its Hotel Workers Rising campaign and successful organizing of the nation’s gaming industry, opens its national convention in Chicago today. When the event was scheduled, it seemed a perfect occasion for celebrating five years of increased union membership in its core jurisdictions, despite tough economic times. Instead, UNITE HERE’s celebration [...]

No Nonsense Census

Rea Carey, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

There’s been another informed and intelligent decision by the Obama administration. In August 2008, in an LA Progressive article entitled “Census Nonsense,” which decried the Bush administration’s move to exclude legally married same-sex couples from being counted as married couples during upcoming the 2010 census, I wrote, “…to capsulize the situation, as it stands now, [...]

Voting Rights Act: Have We Changed So Much?

American Aparthied

A key provision of the Voting Rights Act (first adopted in 1965), provides that jurisdictions with a history of racial and ethnic discrimination must get prior federal approval before changing election laws. Many, but not all Southern states, and a scattering of states, counties, and municipalities elsewhere, remain subject to that stipulation. In June, the [...]

Lax Enforcement Keeps Slumlords from Cleaning Up Act

Murray

A toddler wakes up with a cockroach lodged in his ear. Cat-sized rats chew through the feeding tubes of a young girl with cystic fibrosis. Conga lines of roaches parade through a house in broad daylight. Leaky pipes and constant moisture breed vast colonies of mold. Inadequately maintained plumbing backs up, causing overflows of sewage. [...]

Obama’s Upcoming Hush-Hush Damage-Control Meeting with LGBTQ Leaders

dont-rock-the-boat

The President has been an Obama-nation on LGBTQ issues since he’s taken office. The political carrots Obama dangled before us as campaign promises are now looking like merely empty rhetoric that was used to court our votes and to collect our campaign dollars. But with a 74% disapproval rating the President now has with us [...]

Black Victims of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’

Anthony Woods and Tommie Hawkins

Over 60 years ago, President Harry S. Truman took a monumental step towards social progress by integrating the US armed forces and civil service. This action allowed African American soldiers to serve in integrated combat units alongside white soldiers. Today, another military battle rages over the issue of allowing openly gay and lesbian soldiers to [...]

To the Fathers Who Lost Their Child

sad-man

I was hoping they would cancel Father’s Day this year, mostly because my son Ezra Malik died. He was my baby boy, and he died the day before he was born, in a hospital in August of last year. He was a beautiful baby with a full head of hair and flat little feet, and [...]

Mister President, Wassup?

Hey, Mr. President, just to recap: Congratulations on your election! And, let’s not forget your great election campaign: Skinning the Clintons, skunking the Republicans, and skidding into home base with the sixth largest Presidential victory margin (10 million votes) of all time, bringing a gaggle of Democrats along with you: Your coattails aren’t just stylish, [...]

Father’s Day: It Takes All Kinds

black-father

In 1995, Oakland, California, a young man helping a fellow church friend found himself the father of a 4-month-old child. This happened when the mother, who at the time had three small children, simply couldn’t afford to take care of them all. What started out as helping her on the weekends with the kids, eventually [...]

White Supremecist DC Shooting in Post-Racial America

hater-groups

On June 10th, an 88-year-old white supremecist walked into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, armed with a rifle, and killed a black security guard before being fired upon and apprehended. As usual, local authorities including the Mayor of Washington, DC used two familiar words that were recently uttered in the murder of [...]

Black America’s Double-Dealing on Drugs

Keisha Knight Pulliam

“Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man.” So wrote current U.S. president Barack Obama about his youth. In May 2009, Jabrai Jordan Copney, a black man, allegedly shot Justin Cosby, a black man, inside a Harvard University dormitory. Cosby fled, collapsed a block away, and [...]

Good Hair v Nappy Hair

iStock_000017068698Small-Optimized

The N Word We Rarely Discuss: NAPPY ike most blacks in America, I was raised in an environment where hair like mine, kinky hair, was frequently referred to as “bad hair.”  Conversely, straight hair or kink-less hair was characterized as “good hair“.  I grew up receiving a steady stream of messages that directly or indirectly [...]

Affirmative Action the Chicago Way

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi

Apparently there were no qualified Mexican Americans out of the 600 applicants for the job of Chancellor of the University of California, Davis (UCD). So the Regents, in their wisdom, chose Linda Katehi, a white woman from Illinois. She is eminently qualified to hold the job, we were told when we asked why the Regents [...]

Get That Colonization Off Your Crown, Michelle

malia-sasha-michelle

From the time Barack Obama became a fixture on the national stage, I have eyed Michelle Obama with an uneven mix of appreciation and disappointment. It’s not about her fashion sense, though she’s been ridiculed for accentuating her hips and baring her toned arms by folks with twisted aesthetic sensibilities and outright hate. It’s not [...]

Equality: Obama vs Truman

truman

July 26, 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of President Harry S. Truman signing Executive Order #9981 ending racial segregation of the United States military. 2009 also marks the 16th anniversary of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the law passed by Congress mandating the discharge of openly gay, lesbian or bisexual military servicemembers. According to Servicemembers Legal [...]

Poor, Elderly, and HIV/AIDS Citizens to Die in California

herndon-davis

In just under two weeks the state of California will go broke unless it makes deep cuts to its budget by eliminating spending on crucial programs to cover a $24 billion deficit. Among the programs hardest hit are social services which assist the elderly, blind, low-income families, single parents, the mentally challenged and those living [...]

Civil Rats Are Human Rats!

gettysburgh

I watched the movie Gettysburg again the other day. It is one of my favorites because the producer was a Mexican American and it is about the real reasons why democracy exists. In the movie, there is a scene where a New Hampshire officer is talking to two rebel soldiers. He asks them why they [...]

Forget Paper vs. Plastic: For the American Right, Gay Marriage Is the New Green

billo

Here is a well-kept secret. Notwithstanding its efforts to ignore, marginalize, or dismiss environmental science, the American right is creating an environmental movement of its own. This one, however, has very little to do with preserving the earth or its resources but instead is premised on some quite remarkable efforts to recycle various “outrages” around [...]

Remembering Multiculturalism

Clockwise from top left: Al Robles, Richard Aoki, Mark Him Lai, Ron Takaki

The passing of leading thinkers in the ethnic studies canon — Ron Takaki, Mark Him Lai, Richard Aoki, and the poet Al Robles — in the last few months challenges us to complete unfinished tasks. During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, whenever anyone would ask what am I, I always responded “human.” I didn’t [...]

Gay Pride Speaks to Equality

Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

In the Oxford English Dictionary “equality” means, “Identical in amount; neither less nor greater…having the same measure, number, value, intensity.” How did three Democratic presidents, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Lyndon Johnson, speak to equality? President Barack Obama on Monday, June 1, named June as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month” issuing a proclamation: [...]

UFW Alums Battle Over Labor’s Future

Dolores Huerta and Eliseo Medina

After electing the most pro-union President in decades, organized labor is being torn by internal fights. And at the heart of these conflicts are veterans of the United Farmworkers of America (UFW), whose strategic innovations have shaped today’s labor movement and whose “Si Se Puede” (“Yes We Can”) rallying cry became the hallmark of Barack [...]

The Poor You Shall Have with You Always

lorraine

During this current recession, I’m sure anyone watching the news has noticed the sudden interest in helping the “poor”. We sit in horror as traumatized children talk about the difficulties of adjusting to life without video games and cable TV, having to move out of their elaborate houses into welfare motels, who now find themselves [...]

Trying to be Exclusive, but Acting like Everyone Else

black-professionals

In recent times, a trend seems to have emerged. I call it the second wave of the not-always-so-Talented Tenth. This is constituted by an increasingly visible and vocal contingent; they are the crop of African-Americans, generally ages 23-40, who have christened themselves “professionals.” This isn’t necessarily professional in the conventional sense of careers – those [...]

What Blacks Can Learn From Gays

gay-protest

Before you open that bottle of champagne, can of beer, or bottle of Hennessy in celebration of last week’s decision by the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8 and the ban on gay marriage, did you ever stop to think maybe the joke’s on us? I mean, think about it. Last November, Blacks voted overwhelmingly [...]

Obama Not Marching with Black Pride

Rev. Joshua DuBois with President Barack Obama. (Photo credit: Mike Theiler for the Globe/file)

June is Pride Month. And Black Pride contributes to the multicultural aspect of joy and celebration in the queer communities. Black Pride symbolizes not only black LGBTQ uniqueness as individuals and communities, but it also affirms our varied expressions of LGBTQ life in America. This year will be our first Black Pride parade with an [...]

A White Gay’s Guide for Dealing with the Black Community: Chapter 9: Take a Chill Pill

gay_protests

THE PROBLEM: Strong feelings of entitlement, refusal to work with others, racism, extreme issues with class, sudden temper tantrums THE PRESCRIPTION: Take as needed one chill pill with a large glass of reality… The gay community needs to take a chill pill…seriously. Protesting President Barack Obama outside of the Beverly Hilton Hotel during a fundraiser [...]

Lieutenant Dan Choi Takes “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Directly To Obama

(Photo by Linda Milazzo)

Wednesday evening, in an act of daring befitting a West Point graduate and veteran of Iraq, recently discharged New York National Guard Lieutenant Daniel Choi defied the orders of dozens of crowd control police and stepped into the ‘no protest zone’ street to ceremoniously salute his Commander in Chief, Barack Obama, out of site at [...]

Marriage Equality, Beyond the Lying

From upper left: Rick Warren, Dick Cheney, Chief Justice Ronald George, and Mary Ann Glendon.

My first essay for the L.A. Progressive was about Proposition 8 and the lies that self proclaimed Christian activists were telling in order to promote their bigotry. It seems almost ridiculous to catalog the number of violations of the Commandment against bearing false witness that these “Christians” embraced in order to sell their ballot measure. [...]

Proposition Hate Redux

lesbian-couple

The California Supreme Court ruled again on same-sex marriage. This time it did to uphold Proposition 8, restricting marriage to one man and one woman. In a 6-to-1 decision, the justices decided that Proposition 8 would remain part of the state constitution. And the 18,000 same- sex couples that ran to the altar to legally [...]

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