Who Is an American?

group of people

Steve Hochstadt: Those who have argued for excluding some Americans from full rights, who have urged some Americans to leave because they weren’t American enough, who wanted to separate and classify and dominate people, have always been wrong.

U.S. Native Prisoners of War

Native American Man

Jessie Daniels: My father identified as Native American. In his view, Native Americans had it “much worse” than black Americans and still do. I argue that rather than trying to rank order oppression and which group “had it worse,” it’s important that we see these as connected.

The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Mark Naison

Mark Naison: When my working-class white friends and fellow coaches attacked affirmative action—which they did vociferously and often—it was about preferential treatment that they saw blacks and Latinos getting on the job, especially in the civil service.

Immigrants, African Americans, and the Struggle for Civil Rights

1944 First Grade Class of the Mexican school (Photo from collection of Sylvia Mendez)

Michele Waslin: Today, most Americans are familiar with the Brown v. Board of Education decision. However, the link between Mexican-Americans and African-Americans in the struggle for desegregation is not well known. The Mendez case and the relationship between the two cases is an important piece of U.S. history that deserves to be more widely acknowledged.

Discrimination: Now You See It, Now You Don’t

Leopold Allen and Alessandra Ferri

I don’t know if you have to experience discrimination first hand in order to be able to see it, but I do know that I learned a lot standing on that corner with my uncle in a wheelchair 20 years ago. For that reason, I have hope that maybe the Civil Rights Division under the Obama administration will do what it has often failed to do in the past – provide a line of defense for this country’s most vulnerable people.

When the Brothers Blast You and the…

iStock_000008250187XSmall

To be rendered invisible and unworthy of consideration by men who look like our fathers, brothers, cousins, uncles and the best of who we are – heroes like El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Marcus Garvey and Martin Luther King, Jr. – is beyond offensive.

Black Unity: Can It Ever Happen?

Hope

The fact is, if we had waited for Black unity to come about on the simple question of whether Barack’s candidacy was credible before we supported him, Obama would have never been elected, because the divide was in evidence and deeply entrenched.

Weimar America

Fascism

Our democracy is under attack. Men in high public office and with control over our national airwaves are deliberately stoking a potentially violent movement opposed to our democratic process.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Watching Latino Politics Disappear

Sotomayor

This exclusion of Latinos from the health debate, and from all public policy issues other than immigration, is neither coincidence nor accident. It is part of the same strategy that sees Latinos excluded from the cable political news shows, and from the Sunday interview shows on the traditional networks.

Racism and Reaction Must Be Confronted

teabagger

Rightwing populism is dangerous but the greatest potential peril lies not in the presence of some loony or deluded, irrational people parading through the streets. It arises from the certainty that there will always be someone lurking about in a trench coat to fan the flames for their own cynical purposes.

Joe Wilson’s Outburst, A Black Woman’s Perspective

Black businesswoman

Someone asked what black people thought of Joe Wilson‘s “you lie” outburst.  Of course, there isn’t a monolithic black answer to that question.  I am a black person but I can’t speak for black people and  I didn’t get together with other black people to form a consensus.  But I did read a blog post [...]

Blacks and Latinos Hit Harder in Hard Times

unemployment

Unemployment is and always has been much higher in Black and Latino communities. But the gap has widened during this recession. In fact, Black unemployment is nearly double that of Whites, while Latinos are unemployed at a rate one-third higher than their White counterparts.

Living While Black in Cambridge

Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

None of us African-American residents of Cambridge are surprised or shocked by the humiliation and harassment Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 58, of Harvard University encountered at the hands of Cambridge police.

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 [...]

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 [...]