Haley Barbour’s Yazoo City and Mine

Chopping cotton on rented land near White Plains. White Plains, Greene County, Georgia, June 1941. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano.

James Loewen: The issue isn’t that Barbour misremembers the past. Nor is the problem that when he was a teenager, he was not attentive to Martin Luther King’s visit. The problem is that Haley Barbour has spent his entire life not seeing injustice, so he could work to perpetrate injustice.

Black America Still Sees AIDS as a Gay Disease

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Irene Monroe: If black America were its own country, standing on its own like Haiti or Nigeria, black Americans would rate 16th with the epidemic in the world. And the epidemic is heavily concentrated in urban enclaves like Detroit, New York, Newark, Washington, D.C and the Deep South.

Obama Attacks His Political Base

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Randy Shaw: After his decision to freeze federal salaries – not as part of any broader budget and tax deal, but unilaterally – it’s clear that the President is far more politically clueless than previously thought.

When Is a Minority the Majority?

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Sharon Kyle: What troubled me this morning and the reason this email was delayed is because I noticed that once again every article in this newsletter was written by a white man. So I decided to write this article to say. . .

Color Blindness

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Steve Hochstadt: Our nation also has far to go. Claiming that we are color blind, that whites no longer have privileges in America, that we need no longer worry about preventing discrimination is nonsense. One need only have observed the reception of our first black President to know how important skin color still is in America.

Americans, Your Country Isn’t So Great

David A. Love: A sustainable movement for social and economic justice must help this president to place him on the path of greatness that these crisis times demand, that his campaign promised. Nothing less than America’s future is at stake.

Free Speech about Saggy Pants

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Steve Hochstadt: The most unfortunate recent development in American politics is that Constitutional questions cannot be discussed calmly. Too many people care less about defending our Constitution than using it as a club to smash political opponents.

Joe the Plumber: A Political Inspiration?

Steve Hochstadt: Simple virtues and political cliches won’t solve our problems, which can’t all be blamed on “liberals.” Getting off our butts to cheer our congressman was not what Wurzelbacher wanted. If these conservatives do Take Back Illinois, they won’t know what to do with it.

Baseball Justice

Curt Flood, Marvin Miller

Peter Dreier: Major League Baseball’s corporate mentality, its failure to deal with widespread drug use, and its decline in popularity among America’s youth (more of whom now play soccer than Little League baseball), don’t reflect well on what its pooh-bahs still call the “national pastime.”

Theory of Blacks’ Intellectual Inferiority Rears Ugly Head at Harvard

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We all know affirmative action is a hot-button issue. At a basic level, it’s an attempt to take race, gender, and ethnicity (to name a few factors) into consideration to promote a level playing field for all. But the sub-text in all affirmative action debates is the fallacious belief that blacks selected to benefit from it are hopelessly and helplessly genetically inferior — that their DNA is chromosomally deficient, if not defective.

Why Not Blame It on a Black Man

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David Love: I just read a pilot study that CNN released on the racial attitudes of children. And nearly 60 years after the watershed Brown v. Board of Education case – in which the Supreme Court invalidated Jim Crow school segregation – it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Media & the Murder of Aiyanna Jones

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Sikivu Hutchinson: When a little white girl goes missing, online news, supermarket tabloids and cable network stations bombard us with up-to-the-minute dispatches on the crime, the victim, her shattered family and anguished community. When a little black girl is murdered in cold blood by a big city police department it is up to the community and those who care about social justice to ensure that the case doesn’t fade into the national obscurity that is usually reserved for the lives of people of color.

California’s Cutbacks Imperil “the Obama Generation”

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Randy Shaw: From an environmental agenda imperiled by nationwide public transit cuts, to a “Jobs” agenda jeopardized by state-induced layoffs, to the lack of full implementation of the President’s prized national service expansion, state budget cuts imperil progressives’ electoral gains of 2008. And no group risks having their expectations more shattered than the students and recent college grads – often described as “the Obama Generation” —whose energy and turnout helped define the 2008 election cycle.

The Usual Suspects: Arizona and the Black/Latino Divide

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Sikivu Hutchinson: Homegrown black support for or ambivalence about the Arizona law is symptomatic of a deep vein of frustration, anger, cultural resentment and xenophobia. Study after study indicates that African Americans are the most residentially segregated, suffer the greatest discrimination in job application and employment, and are amongst the biggest recipients of predatory mortgage loans.

President Obama Campaigning for Deadbeat Democrats

Anthony Samad: I fell out of love years ago with the Democratic Party because of the way they disrespect black folk. Blacks “default” to the Democratic Party and get little (or nothing) in return. The Democrats think African Americans don’t have a choice but to vote for them, and they don’t have to work to keep their vote. And blacks often give their vote away before most Democrats can do something to earn it, thus earning the title as the Democrat’s “doormat constituency.”

Are Black Women Too Hard?

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K. Danielle Edwards: If you’re a black woman, those odds are you’ve heard some incarnation before of this statement: “Black women are too hard, too tough, too difficult.” It may have been part of the lead-in to the punch line of a joke. It might have been words shouted out in anger with an ex. It could have been the “company line” mindlessly uttered by black men who choose not to date black women.

How the War on Drugs Gave Birth to a Permanent American Undercaste

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Michelle Alexander: The uncomfortable truth, however, is that crime rates do not explain the sudden and dramatic mass incarceration of African Americans during the past 30 years. Crime rates have fluctuated over the last few decades — they are currently are at historical lows — but imprisonment rates have consistently soared. Quintupled, in fact. And the vast majority of that increase is due to the War on Drugs.

Where Have All the Black Men Gone?

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Michelle Alexander: They’re missing in churches, missing from their families, missing from college campuses, and absent from work. Black women can’t find a man to marry. Black children don’t know where to find their fathers. Where are those guys?

The New Jim Crow

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Michelle Alexander: The clock has been turned back on racial progress in America, though scarcely anyone seems to notice. All eyes are fixed on people like Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey who have defied the odds and achieved great power, wealth and fame.

South Africa: A Model for the Future

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Carl Matthes: Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and a Nobel Peace Price winner, has lent his name to the fight against homophobia saying, “Homophobia is a ‘crime against humanity’ and ‘every bit unjust’ as apartheid.” Brad Pitt, in a 2007 Vanity Fair interview of Tutu, remarked, “So certainly discrimination has no place in Christianity. There’s a big argument going on in America right now, on gay rights and equality.”