Friday, August 29, 2008

Councilman Clarke Victime of Hate Crime

The Philadelphia Daily News on is reporting that Councilman Darrell Clarke was the victim of a hate crime:.

City Councilman Darrell L. Clarke was the victim of an apparent hate crime, police and Clarke just told Philly Confidential.

Clarke said he walked outside his house this morning and found Nazi symbols and the letters "KKK" spray-painted on his car, a vehicle belonging to a relative of one of his staffers and another local resident's car. Crime Scene Unit investigators are currently dusting his car for prints while detectives try to determine what motivated the incident.

"Some idiot decided for whatever reason they needed to paint a swastika and 'KKK' all over my car," Clarke said. "I couldn't believe it."

Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said investigators "are treating this as a hate crime. It's disgusting and we're trying to get to the bottom of who is behind it."


I just returned home from watching something that I spent most of my life believing I would never see - a black man accepted his party's nomination for president. I don't think that I have fully comprehended all of what this means or all of what it will mean if this journey is completed and this nation for the first time elects an African American. However, it is with great hope and anticipation that I look forward to the many who will walk boldly through the doors that have been swung wide open today. As corny and partisan as it may sound, I today believe again, as I did when I was a small child, that we have the power to change the world.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

No Win With Fox

Apparently, being successful it not a quality we want in our president and first lady.
I stumbled upon this video on Blog Obama '08.

Now, aside from the general disgustingness throughout (mainly from FOX "news," although I think Keith Olbermann was a little over-excited), the part that stands out to me is that one of FOX's commentators took a cheap shot at the Obamas' elitism based on the colleges they attended (Columbia, Princeton, and Harvard Law).

Let me get this straight. FOX, a "news" outfit that routinely sides with the right wing, the branch of politics that often justifies inequality be claiming blacks need to work harder to be more successful is calling Barack and Michelle Obama elitist for working hard to be successful. Do they realize that the Obamas had to take out student loans to go to school, and were still paying those loans not so long ago? That's not out of touch and that's not elitist, that's real life.

Being a young black man that goes into more and more debt each year in order to be a student (at what I believe is America's leading public university), I'm glad that at least on presidential candidate understands the struggle of paying for school. I'm also glad that at least one candidate understands the new set of criticisms and struggles that come with being black and achieving something positive. It's as if doing right or doing wrong doesn't matter, we get punished anyway.

I think we can chalk this one up as just another example of why FOX news should not be considered a legitimate news source. It's one thing to be conservative. It's a whole other thing to spit in the face of reality and reason in order to achieve partisan goals. That's not journalism; that's a propaganda machine.

How About This Week?

What a week the Democrats picked for their convention:

  1. The week immediately after the Olympics end - no better way to get up that USA pride.
  2. Tuesday was the 88th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Hillary Clinton addressed the convention on this day.
  3. Wednesday would have been President Lyndon B. Johnson's 100th birthday. President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law in 1964, helping to fight segregation in the United States. He also signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which helped to ensure many blacks, given the right to vote a century earlier, would get to realize that right, many for the first time. On this day, the Democratic Party also became the first major party to nominate an African American (or any non-white male, for that matter) for president.
  4. Today is the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Barack Obama will accept the nomination for president. (And, of course, this is less important, but Al Roker is exploring his roots today. From slavery to the white house.)

Who ever decided to have the convention this week deserves an award. For their part, the Republicans will hold their convention in St. Paul during the week that a major hurricane is expected to hit New Orleans - right around the three-year anniversary of Katrina. I'm sure that will bring them good memories of the competency of Republican government.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What's he Supposed to Do?

I read this post over at - JammieWearingFool talking about how the McCain campaign is making fun of Obama's set for his acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium (why such a long name?). This is just another example of the racism you can't see. What, exactly, is Obama allowed to do? Does he need to have an ugly set? Does he need to find someone who can't sing to sing the national anthem? How about that? I'm volunteering to go out to Denver and lead the National Anthem tomorrow night. I'll help him get rid of that "celebrity" status. And while we're at it, let's move the convention to a small corner bar. That will limit the number of people that can attend and help him connect with "blue collar" workers. Then we can send the Senator for a Michael Jackson style makeover so that people who aren't comfortable voting for a black man will fill at ease. He can even start going by Barry O'Bama. Sounds ridiculous? I thought so.

A Disturbing Comment

Last night I was glued to my TV and computer screen, watching the coverage of the Democratic National Convention. In the run-up to Senator Hillary Clinton's speech, PBS was discussing the historic nature of her candidacy and the women's vote (it was also the 88th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote). One of the commentators, historian Michael Beschloss, said something that really didn't sit well with me.

He was discussing voting rights and noted that when President Lindon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (which allowed black people to vote a century after they had actually received the right) he noted that the true measure of the law's success would be an increase in black voter turnout and black elected officials. He then went on to say that Johnson would be pleased to see Senator Barack Obama's success, but that it's a shame that it's disgraceful that after all these years there still has not been a woman elected president.

Now, of course, he's right. It is disgraceful. Certainly over the history of our nation there have been women capable of holding our nation's highest executive office. And, judging from the failings we have seen in history I am certain that we would have been better off with those women than with the men we elected in their place (George W. Bush comes to mind). However, the way in which the statement was made, contrasted against some perceived black political success, is what bothered me.

Consider the following. The statements came a few hours after a string of remarks by about eight of the twelve women in the United States Senate – a great underrepresentation but about 1200% more than the number of African Americans in the same body. Yes, there is only one African American in the Senate, and if things go as those gathered at the convention hope there will be ZERO, because that one senator, Barack Obama, is running for president.

Consider that in order to defeat Clinton in their hard-fought primary battle, Obama had to overcome violent racist threats against him, disgusting and untrue rumors, and an opponent who was not above exploiting racial fears to get a vote. Remember that in some states, over a quarter of the voters said that race played a role in their decision making. Obama was walloped in those states.

Consider the Florida fiasco of just eight years ago. Many believe, and there is evidence to suggest, that African Americans were targeted and unjustly barred from the right to vote in that election. Those that were unjustly disenfranchised outnumbered the George Bush's margin of victory in the state, meaning that not only did racial disenfranchisement continue into the modern era, but it changed the course of history. It lead to further erosion of civil rights, an abandonment of our public schools, a further delay in health access for all, more pollution, a crippled economy, and an unjust war.

So, as we celebrate the triumphs of the Women's Suffrage Movement, let us be careful not to re-write history. Let's not forget that while black men received the right to vote before women, it took a century for that right to be realized. Let's not forget that when the 19th Amendment was ratified, many black women did not see an actual increase their rights. As we honor the great achievements of Senator Clinton, let us not in doing so forget the struggles of women like Shirley Chisholm. While it is important to recognized the struggle for rights fought by various oppressed minority groups, it is not appropriate to contrast these struggles against the imagined success of other groups. To do so is to insult that group by ignoring the struggle it is in.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Is It "Bayh, Bayh, Veepstakes"

So, does this mean that it's safe to assume, pre-text message, that Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana is going to be Obama's VP? A TV station in Kansas City found out that these bumper stickers were being made. This could be the unexpected leak in the lead up to the announcement. It's not really an exciting pick after all the build-up, but it is surprising for me. I expected Deleware Senator Joe Biden or Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. I even feared the Senator Hillary Clinton would be more likely to get the nod than Bayh. Somehow, the graphics on this sticker just don't look like something Obama would use, but we'll see. The fonts are the ones that he uses on campaign materials, they just never look like this when it's all put together. Also, spell check recognizes the last names of neither of these two men. Click here to read the story.

UPDATE (at about 9:20): My Internet goes out, and when it comes back, MSNBC reports that Bayh and Kaine are out - the were called and told they lost. The report also states that our friends in Chicago had stickers with various names made up (boy, they're smart)

Still listed as possibilities by MSNBC: Biden, Clinton, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Texas Representative Chet Edwards (last name might not be a good idea right now), and, as an almost impssible stretch, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. We'll se

Democrats go to Church

Is it just me, or does the stage for the Democratic National Convention look like church. Granted, it would be a megachurch.

In fact, one of the first things that I thought when I saw the pictures was, "Wow! That looks like Joel Olesteen's church." I mean, compare the pictures. Here's another shot of the Pepsi Center in Denver, where the convention will be held:

And here's an image from Olesteen's Lakewood Church in Houston, TX:

But you don't even have to compare it to America's largest church (by the way, the NBA's Denver Nuggets play in the Pepsi Center, while Lakewood Church used to be the home of the Houston Rockets). If you look at the DNC's stage, you can see where the choir and the pastor and associate pastors / ministers / deacons would sit. The steps are much more inviting than the '04 setup. The stage seems lower, and you can imagine people "coming to the alter," or, as will be the case this Thursday, running around with "Obama / [insert running mate] -'08" signs as confetti and balloons fall from the rafters.

I even see a spot for a baptismal pool, right under the white and red glowing "2008."

Now, is this just a coincidence, or is it intentional? Democrats will be taking the lead of their nominee this year and focusing more on faith. There will be a faith-centered event. Gospel legend Richard Smallwood will also be ministering on the day before the convention starts at a DNC event. Who knows, maybe they'll be a Tye Tribbett sighting. Can't you just imagine that - Barack, Michelle, Hillary, and Nancy Pelosi shouting to "I Still Have Joy"? It wouldn't be unpresidented. Donnie McClurkin performed at the 1992 Democratic Convention.

I want to make an appeal to everyone across the political spectrum. Listen, no matter what side of the aisle you shout on, let's pray that the nonsense in this election seasons stops. We need an end to the lies, smears, and racially-undertoned scare tactics that have plagued this campaign so far. The candidates, the media, and the electorate need to start acting like adults. Maybe a little church at the convention will help.

The set up the Dems have is the hottness. Let's see what boring mess the RNC cooks up for their convention. And I promise to weave in an Allen Iverson reference this week.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

McNabb & Race

Who Writes This Stuff?

My photo
Kevin Lockett is a secondary education major at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. As is evident in his blog posts, his is quite interested in societal issues, mainly those surrounding race, education, and politics, although he by no means considers himself to be an expert in this area.
Kevin is also committed to his Christian faith and to the field of education.

The LC21 Glossary

Colorblind - "I don't see race;" Similar to ignoring the fact that you have cancer

Disease, The - The way in which racism warps the way of thinking; the negative impact that racism has had on all who live in a racialized society

FLOTUS - First Lady Of The U.S.

GOP - Grand Old[people] Party

HWCU - Historically White Colleges and Universities

Ice Queen - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

JTP Syndrome - Joe The Plumber Syndrome; includes: blaming economic hardship on minorities, strict adherence to imagined small-town values, blind resistance to government action, excessive patriotism, and unrestrained accusations of socialism

McNabb Effect - Animosity towards minorities that don't fit traditional racial archetypes

Oppression Sweepstakes - Battle over which group was more oppressed (blacks or women) that was apparent during the 2008 presidential primary

Post-racial (age, era, society) - a theoretical world in which race is no longer a factor, systemic racism is no longer a significant concern, and society's racial baggage has been completely disposed of

POTUS - President Of The U.S.

Progressive - Liberal without the baggage

Racism - a systematic tool that allows the dominant culture of a given society to oppress other members of the society to the advantage of the dominant culture.

SCOTUS - Supreme Court Of The U.S.