Rev. Irene Monroe: I am troubled, however, in this recent kerfuffle concerning the n-word how many of us African Americans, in particular, go back and forth on its politically correct use.
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.
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.
Norman Solomon: Demagogues in the Republican Party, and their Democratic allies, will say this is about amnesty and open borders. No matter how many times they repeat it, it won’t be true.
Robert Reich: So the race to the bottom is now official. Wall Street will set up its casino wherever financial gambling is least regulated.
Steve Hochstadt: I will keep talking about race because my students cannot understand American history without knowing the role played by racism.
Rev. Irene Monroe: But, our culture’s present-day cavalier use of the n-word speaks less about our rights to free speech and more about how we as Americans — both White and Black — have become anesthetized to the damaging and destructive use of this epithet.
Sylvia Moore: It seems to be far easier to punish a broadcaster for one f-bomb dropped on the air, than it is if the same on-air personality unleashed a tirade of bigoted garbage.
Anthony Samad: America so badly needs a history lesson on race right now. Not necessarily to indict, but to enlight. Then maybe we wouldn’t as susceptible to episodes like Breitbart’s and other race baiters trying to gain Rush Limbaugh-Glenn Beck type notoriety.
Sherwood Ross: Slumlords charge exorbitant rents. “Convenience” stores charge higher prices. Military recruiters have their pick of jobless youth desperate for work. And the for-profit, private prisons increase their head count (and income) as the judicial system hands off the young drug peddlers caught in the legal web. As the Kaiser Family Foundation reported, African-Americans fill 40 percent of the nation’s prison cells. Yet they make up just 13 percent of the nation’s population.
Sharon Kyle: Unless they’re compelled to address it, as Barack Obama was during the explosion of negativity around Rev. Jeremiah Wright, you can pretty much count on race not being discussed on the campaign trail.
Yet, the long view shows that since this racial system had a beginning, and important changes have taken place, one can venture that it will also have an end. The election of Barack Obama is an encouraging sign.
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.