What should the role of government be in the arena of race and race relations in the U.S. today? This question has moved into the national conversation again after the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. Representing the U.S. government, Attorney General Eric Holder flew to Ferguson recently to look into what the federal government could or should be doing to ameliorate the types of situations that occurred in that city when a young black man was shot and killed by a white police officer. A recent Politico story, for example, focused on the possibility that the situation in Ferguson could result in changes in police procedures and other aspects of race relations that might help prevent such a situation in the future.
Historically the federal government has been at the forefront of bringing about change in race relations in this country, extending back not just to the President Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, but more recently to President Harry Truman's integrating the armed forces, presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy sending in federal troops to control situations with high racial tension, and the historic Civil Rights Act passed under President Lyndon B. Johnson. But with many overt or legal race barriers now removed by law, and with a wide ranging federal apparatus for adjudicating cases of race discrimination, the issue remains as to what additional actions or steps the federal government or other levels of government could or should take relating to race. Some proposals that have developed out of the Ferguson situation so far have focused on the Defense Department's program of providing excess military equipment to local police departments and the possibility of a federal effort to require police officers to wear vest cameras while on patrol.
A review of our data from last summer's major Minority Rights and Relations poll helps shed light on Americans' views on the general question of how much government should be doing in the realm of race relations. The poll included updates on many Gallup trends relating to race and involved samples of 1,010 blacks and 2,149 non-Hispanic whites. more >>
Rafael Cruz, father of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, said in a town hall meeting that African Americans need to be educated about the history of Democrats, return to the Republican Party, and learn why minimum wage is bad.
Cruz was at a Aug. 21 Western Williamson Republican Club meeting in Williamson County, Texas, and spoke of a meeting he had with an African-American pastor in Bakersfield, California. The pastor told him that his values are conservative but the Democratic Party "embraces us."
"I said, as a matter of fact, 'Did you know that Civil Rights legislation was passed by Republicans? It was passed by a Republican Senate under the threat of a filibuster by the Democrats,'" Cruz said. "'Oh, I didn't know that.' And then I said, 'Did you know that every member of the Ku Klux Klan were Democrats from the South?' 'Oh I didn't know that.' You know, they need to be educated." more >>
A U.N. committee that monitors racial inequality and discrimination says the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by a white policeman in Missouri last month illustrates a bigger problem of racism in the United States.
"Racial and ethnic discrimination remains a serious and persistent problem in all areas of life, from de facto school segregation access to health care and housing," Noureddine Amir, vice chairman of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, told reporters while issuing the panel's conclusions Friday.
The excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against racial and ethnic minorities is an ongoing issue of concern and "particularly in light of the shooting of Michael Brown," Amir, an expert from Algeria, said, according to Reuters. more >>
"Just wait a few more generations. Soon all the old people will be gone."
"My children's generation is so much more diverse. They'll be better at this."
"The bigotry will end as the generations move further from history." more >>
Can you imagine a television program airing in America that portrayed Muhammad as a foul-mouthed pothead? Given that earlier this year ABC canceled Alice in Arabia—a show about an Arab-American who goes to live with her grandparents in Saudi Arabia—because CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) complained that the show relied on stereotypes of Muslims, it seems highly unlikely. Yet Black Jesus –the latest reminder that Christianity is the only major religion it is universally permissible to denigrate—began airing August 7 on Adult Swim.
Why did this show make it past the network censors while a similar show about Muhammad never would have? Probably for the same reason P*ss Christ—a 1987 photograph of a crucifix submerged in the "artist's" urine—was exhibited in the Stux Gallery in New York and won an award for visual arts from the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. And the same reason Madonna could perform her single Live to Tell wearing a crown of thorns while suspended from a giant cross. In America, mocking Christianity has gone from being considered a sign of poor taste to the mark of artistic courage.
Although Megan Kelly was nearly "crucified" for affirming that Jesus was white, this series takes the issue of Jesus' ethnicity to the point of absurdity. Black Jesus began as a series of shorter skits on YouTube, where its antics fit well with the millions of hours of similarly amateurish material. The show has one joke: a black man in Compton dresses in robes suitable for a middle school play and calls himself Jesus. He's a nice enough guy, but he spends his days drinking forties, smoking joints, and dropping the f-bomb. And if you don't think that's just hilarious, then according to Robert Lloyd of the Chicago Tribune, you are an uptight religious fanatic who needs to relax. Lloyd writes: more >>
In the aftermath of the robbery, assault, and then police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, I can offer some advice: Be sure not to forget to also steal those AAA batteries for the flat-screen remote. It is frustrating to get home and not have them. Then you just have to turn around and go back to the convenience store, where they are expensive, and choke a hapless clerk to get your batteries.
To be fair, at least when you loot a TV you don't have to fight off that store clerk's hard sell, hot boxing you into buying the extended warranty.
Police shootings are not a major issue. There were 12 million total arrests in the United States in 2012 and, according to FBI statistics; there were only 420 police shootings during those 12 million arrests. The highest percent of those shot, 42 percent, were white. Blacks were 32 percent and Hispanics 20 percent -- about in line with crimes committed. But shootings only happened in .000035 percent of arrests. It is not a "crisis." more >>