Archive for the 'race' Category

Discovered? Or Stolen! Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery


Discovered? Or Stolen! Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery

At the Returning Citizens Forum

D.C. Mayoral Candidates Make Cases at Returning Citizens’ Forum

While there are 60,000 returning citizens in D.C. who have pressing concerns and are politically motivated, only three of the eight mayoral candidates showed up at a recent candidates’ forum to hear and address those concerns.

D.C. Council members Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) and Vincent Orange (D-At Large) joined District entrepreneur Andy Shallal as the Democratic mayoral candidates who participated in the Returning Citizens United forum at the Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church in Northeast on Friday.

Considering that the vast majority of returning citizens are black, it really stinks that only one of the three black candidates, Vincent Orange, could be bothered to show up. Considering how lop sided the arrests are for drug offenses, it really shows what a failure the current leadership is. Shame on Muriel Bowser and Mayor Gray for not even showing up. Shame on them.

Define reform

Alan Suderman reporting on Anita Bonds victory

Bonds’ victory will likely lead to plenty of hand-wringing among self-style progressive and/or reform voters, who often tend to be white and relatively new to the city and have seen their votes split among several of their chosen candidates in the last three at-large elections. Bonds’ victory follow similarly patterned wins by Councilmember Vincent Orange in 2011 and 2012. Orange eked into office with 29 percent of the vote in the 2011 special election and won 40 percent of the vote in last year’s Democratic primary, beating Sekou Biddle by only 1,746 votes.

There’s a clear appetite among the majority of the city’s voters for fresh blood on the Council. (Orange had previously been a Ward 5 councilmember and, like Bonds, has been a fixture of the local Democratic Party.) Yet no candidate has been able to bring together the disparate groups of voters looking for change in a strong majority or even a simple plurality. That might be because the reform-oriented candidates just haven’t been that impressive, but it’s more likely because “reform” means different things to different people; there’s no organized effort or group powerful enough to make or break any candidate who wants to claim the reform mantle. It’s an open casting call, and the people who answer it are often convinced of the rightness of their crusade.

In 2006 Adrian Fenty carried every precinct in the city running on reform. 4 years later Fenty was dumped in the Democratic primary because black people thought that reform was just code for push all the black people out of the city. I could be wrong, but I think the word reform is toxic in the black community.

Now the policies of gentrification have been put in place by Democratic and predominately black city councils and mayors. Electing black Democrats does not seem a solution. But it does not surprise me that white candidates running on a reform platform are not finding much support in the black community.

Paul Zuckerberg

Washington City Paper

Zukerberg has staked his campaign on one main issue: decriminalizing marijuana. (A large share of Zukerberg’s legal practice is representing accused pot smokers.) The Wilson Building has been in no rush to even ponder relaxing the laws on pot, and no one’s talked much about it in other recent local races. Decriminalization is different than legalization; Zukerberg says the city should assess civil fines to people caught with small amounts of pot, not criminal penalties. He says the only reason the idea hasn’t gotten much attention is because D.C. politicians are afraid to talk about the toll unfair drug laws have on District residents.

“It’s the largest civil rights issue we have in the District of Columbia,” Zukerberg says during a recent interview. He cites statistics showing that D.C. leads the country in per capita marijuana arrests and the fact that black residents are eight times more likely to be arrested for lighting up than white residents. “We’re saddling a lot of African Americans, mostly young black males, with criminal records.”

I don’t know if I will vote for Zuckerberg or not. I will certainly not vote for any incumbent. And Zuckerberg is certainly correct about the racist nature of our current enforcement of drug laws.

Racist buffoons

Charles Murray

Andrew Sullivan

Tom Friedman

Understanding American Gun Culture

these are links to useful articles:

The Story of a Gun

This Harpers article “my concealed weapon and me” discusses gun ownership and social class

The Real and Racist Origins of the Second Amendment

From “Operation Wetback” To Newtown: Tracing The Hick Fascism Of The NRA

DC’s race divide

Yglesias thinks that Marion Barry’s emphasis on jobs for black people is misguided. Statistics tell a different story. Also, see what is happening on H Street.

Massive resistance 2.0

Torturing Detroit’s Kids for Racist Fun and Profit

I cannot believe what is happening to our country.

The politics of education deform

“the ‘reform’ narrative”

It’s a repeated motif—white voters supporting “tough” reforms of public schools though few of them have children in these public schools or the ones being reformed, and black voters with children in the schools being reformed who do not support the individuals and/or policies and/or effects of the reforms. The idea that these types of reforms must be imposed upon the teachers, parents and children is a telling aspect of the charter movement narrative.

Understanding the DC Democratic primary

Why Michelle Rhee and Adrian Fenty Lost

When the results came in, Fenty was trounced in largely black districts. In Wards 7 and 8, his opponent, Vincent Gray, won 82 percent of the vote. In Northwest Washington, where white voters predominate, Fenty won 76 percent of the vote. Fenty decisively lost the black vote and decisively won the white vote. D.C. public schools are about 5 percent white, so it is a reasonable supposition that the anti-Fenty vote was fueled to a large degree by parents of children in the public schools. Gray won handily, 53 percent to 46 percent.

Journalists attributed Fenty’s loss to the power of the teachers’ union, but such an explanation implies that black voters, even in the privacy of the voting booth, lack the capacity to make an informed choice. When the Tea Party wins a race, journalists don’t write about who controlled their vote, but about a voter revolt; they acknowledge that those who turned out to vote had made a conscious decision. Yet when black voters, by large margins, chose Vincent Gray over Adrian Fenty, journalists found it difficult to accept that the voters were acting on their own, not as puppets of the teachers’ union.

nbc4

Gary Imhoff of DCWatch, for one, is sick of the Rhee hagiography. He says Rhee “became a national symbol of educational reform and, at least in the national press, the success of her methods was unquestioned,” and says that in both national and local coverage of the D.C. campaign, “it became a racial narrative; in fact, it became a racist narrative. Black people, who didn’t value education and who didn’t want their children to be better educated, voted against Fenty because they were angry that Rhee was improving their schools.”


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