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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Republican U.S. Congresswoman Blames Blacks for Financial Crisis

Read it and rage:

CBC Presses Republicans: Do You Agree With Bachmann's Assertion That "Minorities" Caused Financial Crisis?

During a Senate hearing on Thursday, Rep. Michele Bachmann pinned blame for financial crisis on President Clinton, “blacks,” and “other minorities.” To make her point, she read from an article written by Terry Jones in the right-wing publication Investor’s Business Daily. Jones criticized the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and said Clinton was misguided for pushing “homeownership as a way to open the door for blacks and other minorities to enter the middle class.” Watch Bachmann’s speech, followed by sharp criticism from Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) here.

In a new letter to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) obtained by ThinkProgress, 31 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) call Bachmann’s claims “ridiculous” and ask Boehner whether her comments represent the views of the Republican Caucus:

It is clear from Rep. Bachmann’s comments that she believes that the bipartisan laws enacted over the past decade ensuring that minority communities have equal access to banking and other financial services are the cause of this financial situation. […]

There is no evidence to support Rep. Bachmann’s assertion that “minorities” caused the current financial crisis. Laws designed to open opportunities for equal access to credit do not require banks or thrifts to make loans that are unsafe or unprofitable. In fact, laws like the CRA mandate exactly the opposite. […] Additionally, research clearly shows that the majority of the predatory loans that have led us to this financial mess were originated by non-bank financial institutions and other entities that did NOT have a CRA obligation and lacked strong federal regulatory oversight. Shifting the blame for the current economic crisis to laws that allow equal access and opportunities to communities of color is ridiculous.

As members of the CBC, we simply ask if Rep. Bachmann’s position that it was lending to minority communities that caused the current financial crisis, represent the position of Republican Caucus?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sad, Ugly, Infuriating Incident in OR

It only takes one (or a few) persons to remind us that racial hatred is alive and well. The following is an account of an incident conflating derision and resentment over low-income and/or minority scholarships with not so subtle threats against our first black presidential candidate from a major party. Read it and weep (or rage):

(article from;_ylt=Air6p7Rp8WmycbMtB9JSUjJH2ocA)
Obama effigy found hanging from Ore. campus tree By MARY HUDETZ, Associated Press writer

NEWBERG, Ore. - Officials of a small Christian university say a life-size cardboard reproduction of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was hung from a tree on the campus, an act with racial undertones that outraged students and school leaders alike.

George Fox University President Robin Baker said a custodian discovered the effigy early Tuesday and removed it. University spokesman Rob Felton said Wednesday that the commercially produced reproduction had been suspended from the branch of a tree with fishing line around the neck.

Taped to the cardboard cutout of the black senator from Illinois was a message targeting participants in Act Six, a scholarship program geared toward increasing the number of minority and low-income students at several Christian colleges, mostly in the Northwest.

The message read, "Act Six reject."

The disturbing image found near the heart of the campus recalled the days of lynchings of blacks and was all the more incongruous at a university founded by Quaker pioneers in 1891. Felton said he had been at the school since he enrolled two decades ago, and "I've never experienced or heard of any type of overt racial act."

At the end of the college's regular chapel service Wednesday, Baker told students he was "disheartened and outraged."

"It has been my dream to establish a university that more adequately represents the kingdom of God," he said. "This act causes some to question our commitment."

Baker added, "What I've learned is we still have work to do."

Administrators at the university said Wednesday they do not know who hung the effigy, which Felton said few people saw before it was taken down.

Newberg police Sgt. Tim Weaver said officials are working with the university to find out who was responsible. He also said the police department has notified the U.S. Secret Service, although it's not clear yet whether the act was a crime.

"It doesn't fit as a hate crime and it doesn't fit in as intimidation, necessarily," he said. "If it's not a crime, we're not going to be involved."

Brad Lau, a university vice president, said school officials have been questioning students to find out who was responsible. He and other school officials wouldn't say what action it might take.

The school has 17 students in the Act Six program, whose name derives from the New Testament book of Acts. All but one are members of minority groups, Felton said.

Students in the program receive full scholarships and are selected on the basis of leadership potential.

Several students in the program said they are angry but do not feel threatened.

"To me, I just felt like they weren't ready to have a black person be president," said Courtney Greenidge, a sophomore. "We're trying to bring change. Obama's trying to bring change." She described herself, like Obama, as biracial: half black, half white.

She also said that overall, the campus has a welcoming and positive environment, but that she has heard comments along the lines of, "Oh, I wish I was black. Then I could get a scholarship like that."

Obama spokeswoman Sahar Wali said the effigy hanging was "an unfortunate incident but you know we have had a very positive response from Oregonians across the state."

Obama is widely considered to be ahead in Oregon. In the run-up to the state's May primary, he drew a crowd of about 75,000 people in Portland.

George Fox University's campus is in Newberg in the Willamette Valley south of Portland. About 1,800 students are enrolled. It also has centers in Portland; Salem; and Boise, Idaho.

Felton said that about 2 percent of the students are black and about a quarter of the freshman class belongs to minority groups. That number includes international students, largely from Asia and Africa.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Reagan's "didn't know we had a racial problem" part 2

Here's the context in which Reagan made the statement posted on earlier from time magazine. In the debate with Carter in 1980, the questioner asked Reagan: "Governor Reagan. Blacks and other non-whites are increasing. in numbers in our cities. Many of them feel that they are facing a hostility from whites that prevents them from joining the economic mainstream of our society. There is racial confrontation in the schools, on jobs, and in housing, as non-whites seek to reap the benefits of a free society. What do you think is the nation's future as a multi-racial society?"

The beginning of Reagan's reply: "I believe in it. I am eternally optimistic, and I happen to believe that we've made great progress from the days when I was young and when this country didn't even know it had a racial problem."


Monday, September 15, 2008

Reagan: U.S. "didn't know it had a racial problem"

Oh, the good old days! I just read in Time magazine a quote from Reagan during a debate with Carter (1980). Says that Ronnie talking about an America that existed "when I was young and when this country didn't even know it had a racial problem." Did he really says that? Did he really get AWAY with saying that? Pining for those good old days, when everyone knew their place and everyone was OK with it (or at least kept their complaints to themselves). Unbelievable. Somehow I think a very large part of America knew full-well they had a racial problem, but the whites just didn't want to deal with it. Harriet Martineau and Alexis de Tocqueville each separately saw it clear as day whay back in the 1830's--the difference between the stated principles of "all men are created equal" and the reality on the ground slapped them in the face. Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie. I was 18 in 1980, and don't remember him getting away with such poppycock. Maybe I wasn't sensitized to the issues yet, I don't know.

Monday, September 8, 2008

"I'm Not a Racist: I Just Play One in Public"

Student GOP leader resigns over Obama remark By MICHAEL RUBINKAM, AP writer (

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The leader of a statewide group of college Republicans has been forced to resign after posting racially insensitive comments about Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama on the Internet.

Adam LaDuca, 21, the former executive director of the Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans, wrote on his Facebook page in late July that Obama has "a pair of lips so large he could float half of Cuba to the shores of Miami (and probably would.)"

LaDuca, who previously had called Martin Luther King Jr. a "pariah" and a "fraud," also wrote: "And man, if sayin' someone has large lips is a racial slur, then we're ALL in trouble."

The College Republicans asked LaDuca to resign after his remarks were publicized by the Pennsylvania Progressive, a blog written by a Democratic committeeman from Berks County. The group announced LaDuca's resignation on its Web site Friday.

"The comments were completely uncalled for and very offensive," said Anthony Pugliese, 22, a senior at West Chester University and chairman of the College Republicans, an umbrella group with more than 50 chapters statewide. "The P-A College Republicans do not accept or tolerate racism in any way."

LaDuca said Monday that he regrets posting the comments and understands how they can be construed as racist. "In hindsight, when you read it a second time, it's like, 'oops,'" he said. "It was just a dumb move on my part to make a statement like that public."

He said he is not a racist [emphasis added] and that he admires prominent blacks such as economist and author Thomas Sowell and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He compared the comment about Obama to jokes about Republican presidential nominee John McCain's thinning hair or President Bush's large ears.

LaDuca is a senior at Kutztown University. Two years ago, Kutztown's College Republicans chapter was heavily criticized for holding a "bake sale" to protest affirmative action in which whites were charged more for cookies than blacks. LaDuca, then the group's spokesman, made a public apology on the group's behalf.

My comments: So the guy calls MLK "a pariah" and "a fraud," thinks describing an African American's lips as big enough to float Cubans on is equivalent to comedian's teasing over a white man's thinning white hair or big ears, he admits not that the comment was dumb, but that making it public was dumb; but none if this adds up to being racist, not to mention the bake sale fiasco. Now, I know that accusations of "racist" can be incendiary, and that it's not a case of you are or you aren't, but rather gradations of racism, but this guy is far to the racist end of the racist/not racist sliding scale. Good riddance. I say.

RIP Don Hoskins, TX Western (El Paso) B-ball Coach

OK, so I'm skeptical of those great inspiring stories of overcoming racial prejudice that make the white guy out to be the hero--rewriting history along the lines of Mississippi Burning or some white going in and reforming inner city schools because the colored folks all love him/her. Or Glory, where the white commander is the key to the black soldiers' success. You know the type: those who extol William Lloyd Garrison and ignore Frederick Douglass; worship Harriet Beecher Stowe and pooh-pooh the stories of Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman as so much hokum. Having said all that, here is a story that seems genuine (maybe I'm blinded by my whiteness, I don't know.) Don Haskins, coach of the first all-black starting 5 to win the NCAAs, never moved beyond his second-tier school in the middle of nowhere, because no one's white alumni bigwigs wanted him to come to their school and do that to THEIR team (at least not in the 60's and 70's). As the article says, the unwritten rule then (has it changed all that much in some places?) was “you played two [blacks] at home, three on the road and four if you were behind.”

According to (white) sportwriter Dan Wetzel (
"He was a man of great courage and conviction who essentially gave up on making it to the big time of college basketball when he dared to start all those black players. Almost no big school would touch him after that. He was typecast as an outcast in a dark and unforgiving time."

Here's another pertinent, revealing excerpt:
"The story of the 1966 Texas Western Miners was perfect for a Disney movie: On the night before the title game against Kentucky, Haskins decides to start five black players, they win and all is good.

Haskins liked “Glory Road.” He hated that part. He never said it publicly. He was above that. Fact is he had started five black players from Day 1, and the movie made Haskins look like he was afraid to do so. That pained him.

To pretend everything was great after the championship was a stretch, too. Racial slurs were never his greatest enemy. It was far more personal.

He was 36, with a wife and four kids. He had a low-paying job at a school no one had ever heard of. It had taken the family three years of living in the football dorm to save up for a house.

And he had a decision to make. A decision none of his coaching peers could understand why he was contemplating.

There was an old coaching axiom back then, when many college teams were still segregated. If you coached at a school that allowed black players, the joke went: “you played two at home, three on the road and four if you were behind.”

You never played five, especially in the South. Jackie Robinson had come along well before in baseball, but he was one black on a team full of whites. An all black team presented a different image to America.

Every coach knew it, including all of Haskins’ friends.

“They’d say, ‘Don, are you crazy?’ ” Haskins said.

By starting five black players, as he planned to do, the upward arc of his career would be over. He had started as a high school coach in a town of 253. He was a talented guy, big money and big opportunity awaited. Not this way though.

If he won, bigger, richer schools would see him as the coach of “the black team.” They’d never hire him. If he lost or, heaven forbid, there were any discipline problems with his players (there weren’t), he’d be fired and likely never work in the NCAA again.

“I understood what they were saying, I just said, ‘Piss on them,’ ” Haskins said. “Piss on them all. I brought these kids here; I’m playing my best players.’ “

The victory helped integrate not just schools but entire conferences – the ACC, SEC and Southwest Conferences were segregated at that point. Almost immediately the floodgates opened.

“He literally got thousands and thousands of black kids scholarships to college,” said Nolan Richardson, a former Haskins player. Later in life some of those players he had never met would approach him at airports and restaurants and thank him.

Haskins, as his friends predicted, got zero job offers. The only major school to ever try to hire him was his alma mater, Oklahoma State. Today if someone won an NCAA title at a mid-major, they’d choose their multimillion dollar job. Not in 1966. Not with that starting five.

He did get hate mail by the bucket. And the NCAA dispatched an investigator to look into the players’ academics (they were legit). He was shredded in much of the national media. Sports Illustrated even concluded he was exploiting blacks, not helping them, a charge his old players still bristle at.

“For a long time I said winning that championship in 1966 was the worst thing that ever happened to me,” he said.

In recent years he was no longer bitter about those days. He had come out on top in the end. The world had come around on the Glory Road he paved.

People began to appreciate that in a sports world filled with hyperbole, a young man gave up so much personally because it was the right thing to do. The thing no one else would."

My comments: Know what was missing? Interviews with some of those black players (save the one quote from Nolan Richardson). Contact with those players through Haskins over the years. You get the feeling that there is still a lot of "feel-good" aura surrounding the story that papers over enduring racial divides. Still, Haskins seems deserving of some credit. Interesting too, though, that the article never mentions the names of the five guys who won the championship on the court. Oh, yeah, and the title, "basketball's John Wayne"? When did John Wayne show an ounce of racial courage? Doesn't Wetzel know that the Wayne image is a joke to many in the black community, from the way he walked to the way he talked and the way whites idolized him? Oh, well, RIP Don Haskins. You did more than most of us whites in the way of pushing racial progress in our country. For that, I salute you.

Friday, September 5, 2008

LPGA English Only Policy Redeaux

Maybe somebody knocked some sense into the LPGA poobahs, although the threat of fines still sounds barbaric...

LPGA backs down on English requirement

AP - Sep 5, 12:38 pm EDT Golf Gallery Under increasing criticism, the LPGA Tour on Friday backed off plans to suspend players who cannot speak English well enough to be understood at pro-ams, in interviews or in making acceptance speeches at tournaments.

LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens said she would have a revised plan by the end of the year that would not include suspensions, although fining non-English speakers remains an option.

Bivens disclosed the tour’s original plan in a meeting with South Korean players two weeks ago at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore., Golfweek magazine reported. The policy, which had not been written, was widely criticized as discriminatory, particularly against Asian players.

The LPGA membership includes 121 international players from 26 countries, including 45 from South Korea. Asians won three of the four majors this year.

“We have decided to rescind those penalty provisions,” Bivens said in a statement. “After hearing the concerns, we believe there are other ways to achieve our shared objective of supporting and enhancing the business opportunities for every tour player.”


The reversal was quickly hailed by two California lawmakers who challenged the original policy.

State Sen. Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco, had asked the Legislature’s legal office to determine whether the English policy violated state or federal anti-discrimination laws. If it was deemed legal, Yee said he would have pushed for legislation banning such policies in California.

The LPGA Tour plays three events in California, including its first major championship.

“I’m very pleased that the LPGA saw the wisdom of the concerns that we raised,” Yee said. “It’s a no-brainer for those of us who have been the recipient of these kinds of discriminatory acts.”

State Assemblyman Ted Lieu, a Democrat from the Los Angeles area, said he would target corporate sponsors if the LPGA persisted with its English requirement.

“I’m pleased they have come to their senses,” he said.

Bivens’ announcement came two hours before the Asian Pacific American Legal Center planned a news conference in Los Angeles to demand the LPGA overturn its policy.

“Until they completely retract it, issue an apology to the players and the fans, I think we’ll remain very concerned and interested in what happens,” said Gerald D. Kim, a senior staff attorney for the center. “The LPGA has gone about this totally the wrong way.”

One of the tour’s title sponsors, State Farm, already weighed in this week by saying it was “dumbfounded.”

“We don’t understand this and we don’t know why they have done it,” State Farm spokesman Kip Diggs told Advertising Age on its Web site. “And we have strongly encouraged them to take another look at this.”

Bivens said the tour will continue to help international players through a cultural program that has been in place for three years and offers tutors and translators.

Earlier this week, Bivens sent a 1,200-word memo to the LPGA membership to outline the goal behind the new policy. She said players would never be required to be fluent or even proficient in English, but rather would be asked to get by with the basics of the language.

She argued that international players who could communicate effectively in English would improve the pro-am experience, sponsor relations and could help land endorsements for the players.

“We do not, nor will we ever, demand English fluency, or even proficiency, from our international players,” she wrote. “To the contrary, we are asking that they demonstrate a basic level of communication in English at tournaments in the United States in situations that are essential to their job as a member of the LPGA Tour.”

Yee said he understood the tour’s goal of boosting financial support, but disagreed with the method.

“In 2008, I didn’t think an international group like the LPGA would come up with a policy like that,” Yee said. “But at the end of the rainbow, the LPGA did understand the harm that they did.”

The lawmaker said he will continue with his request to the Legislative Counsel’s Office, as a way to prevent similar policies in the future.

Lieu said the LPGA’s explanation made it seems as though the tour felt it more important to socialize with sponsors than to play golf.

“If you’re a sports fan, you should be outraged,” Lieu said.

Associated Press Writers Don Thompson and Judy Lin in Sacramento, Calif., and Amy Taxin in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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