Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Not Good Enough, Bernie (updated)

Here are a few of the things I'm reading about today:

The Supreme Court has decided to hear a case that could overturn the practice of "one person, one vote."
For 50 years the “one person, one vote” principle has been used to divvy up political power by counting all people in states and putting them into electoral districts of roughly equal size.

But the mathematics of power may be about to change in a way that could shift political clout away from fast-growing Latino communities in states such as California, Texas and Florida and move it to the suburbs and rural areas.

The Supreme Court surprised election-law experts Tuesday and said it would hear arguments this fall about whether voting districts should continue to be drawn by using census population data, which include noncitizen immigrants who are in the United States both legally and illegally, or whether the system should be changed to count only citizens who are eligible to vote, as conservative challengers are seeking.
A U.S. Appeals Court ruled on the current hold on President Obama's immigration action (made necessary when Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform).
President Barack Obama's plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation was dealt another setback on Tuesday when a U.S. appeals court refused to lift a block put in place by 26 states that argued Obama overstepped his authority.

By a 2-1 vote that could pave the way to a Supreme Court ruling, the judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that Obama's executive action should remain on hold pending further judicial proceedings.
A new study shows that teachers of all races are more likely to punish black students.
Two students. One is black and the other is white. On Tuesday, they both refuse to complete the math worksheet. On Wednesday, neither will stop talking during lessons.

Same behavior. Will they receive the same punishment?

A new Stanford University study predicts that the black student will be punished more harshly. Why? Not because of overt racism. Rather, harsher discipline might be the result of unconscious partiality to the white student, a phenomenon called “implicit bias” by psychologists. The study also finds that the bias might be just as likely to come from a black teacher as a white one.
Alana Massey writes about how the Apotheosis of Washington - which was painted in 1865 by Constantino Brumidi and adorns the ceiling of the U.S. Capitol Rotunda - points to the white protestant roots of American racism.

When the fresco was completed, four million black people called the United States home but were only that year able to enjoy even the most limited experience of citizenship when the Civil War ended and the Emancipation Proclamation began the process of ending slavery. Of course, Brumidi’s fresco only features white faces.

His painting illustrates the complexities of a nation inextricably informed by the religious ethics of its founders and those who continue to wield power today: Religious white men, ascending to fame on the strength of their ideals. Even those founding fathers—who identified primarily as deists—shared views that aligned with Christian theologies. American society is heavily informed by this religious foundation, specifically in terms of racial injustice, even as religious identification declines.
But perhaps the most gut-punching story of all was about the release of this picture:

Chicago Police Officers Jerome Finnigan, left, and Timothy McDermott with an unidentified man | Photo from court file

That photo would be horrifying at any time. But coming on the heels of all the incidents of police shooting unarmed black men and the Department of Justice report detailing the outlandish racism that permeated the Ferguson Police Department, City Hall and Court system, it is nothing short of soul-crushing.

It is due to all of the above that I have to say that when Sen. Bernie Sanders kicks off his presidential campaign with a suggestion that he is launching a "political revolution to transform our country," and yet makes zero mention of any of the issues that burden people of color in this country, my response is simply..."Not good enough, Bernie."

UPDATE: Dara Lind does a good job of looking into why Sen. Sanders doesn't talk about race. It has to do with the fact that he's more of a "1930s radical as opposed to a 1960s radical."
To him, focusing on racial issues first is merely treating the symptom, not the disease.


  1. Mo'nin, Nancy

    Yeah. He's gonna take it to the oligarchy! He, and it may just be me, has impressed me for a goodly bit now as being rather emo. And, I see Boo's nose is out of joint about Ms. Massey's piece. Don't be messin' with the Protestant history, now. Brother. If you're gonna punch on folk, you gotta be able to take it, too. THANK YOU, again. for all you do

    1. Oh My!!! I hadn't seen that one from BooMan yet.

      I didn't want to write this one today...tried to avoid it. But I just couldn't shake it. There are a lot more thoughts about this running around in my head. To tell you the truth - its not just Bernie. It is SO easy for white people to ignore all this...liberals are not exempt.

    2. I admit I'm not everywhere all the time, but I'm honestly trying to recall EVER seeing something from Bernie about #BlackLivesMatter. Or any other issue impacting the racism in America.

      And I don't think I ever have.

    3. I work for a large, Protestant organization. Telling the truth of who painted that fresco and what it says about the lies we tell ourselves is VERY important to our members! So Boo should heed Ms. Massey's teachings. It matters.

  2. I agree that Sanders needs to branch out and speak to a number of issues that he has yet to say much on. That said, I'm glad he's thrown his hat into the ring.

    1. Sanders has shown very clearly where his priorities are (and are not).

    2. I would classify (no pun intended) this as a case of necessary, but not sufficient. It's necessary for him to speak out on the things he does. But that alone doesn't make him the best candidate.

    3. If Rural White Retirees whose grandkids can get accepted to but can’t afford to go to Cornell need a voice, then Bernie Sanders is there to provide it. If you are the downtrodden, not so much.

  3. "It is due to all of the above that I have to say that when Sen. Bernie Sanders kicks off his presidential campaign with a suggestion that he is launching a "political revolution to transform our country," and yet makes zero mention of any of the issues that burden people of color in this country, my response is simply..."Not good enough, Bernie."

    Exactly. They [Sanders, Warren, Clinton, Schumer, O'Malley & others of both parties] view Black people as nothing more than props during an election season. All they care about is donations & scoring points with White voters by attacking PBO with lies.

  4. Dunno Nancy.

    Bernie marched in Selma earlier this year. He said:

    “What Bloody Sunday was about was showing the entire country and the entire world how far some of the racist officials in Alabama would go to prevent African-Americans from participating the political process and from voting,” Sanders said. “What happened on that bridge that day was a huge step forward for democracy in America. But what is happening right now – not just in the South but all over this country – are efforts by Republican governors and Republican legislatures to make it harder for African-Americans, for low-income people and for senior citizens to vote.”

    In his announcement on Monday, he said:

    "In Vermont and at our town meetings we know what American democracy is supposed to be about. It is one person, one vote – with every citizen having an equal say – and no voter suppression. And that’s the kind of American political system we have to fight for and will fight for in this campaign.


    [We can live in a country:]

    - Where every person, no matter their race, their religion, their disability or their sexual orientation realizes the full promise of equality that is our birthright as Americans."

    Bernie is aware of the issues that African Americans (and other long-repressed groups) face. He's on our side on these issues. Perhaps he talks about more about the issues in terms of voting rights, but we know that voting rights are vitally important.

    This isn't the end of the campaign - it's just the beginning. I'm sure we'll hear more on these issues in the coming months.

    My $0.02.


  5. "It is SO easy for white people to ignore all this..."

    What a silly essay, and written by a very white lady.

  6. Bernie led protests against segregated dorms at the University of Chicago. He was an organizer for SNCC. He has repeatedly marched on D.C., Selma and elsewhere for civil rights.

    What have you done that gives you the right to decide what Bernie has done "isn't enough?" Clearly not much research into your target, lol.

    1. But what has he done lately....i do not trust much of white political left ...they believe that somehow they are immune to white privilege and have no problem beating up on the President...when has any of them ever given the President kudos for's either he has not done it fast enough or he has not done enough...or he has not done it right aka as we think it should be done...

      i am not surprised that racism is not on Bernie Sanders' list...

    2. This reminds me - Rick Perlstein wrote a long profile of Bernie in the recent University of Chicago Magazine -

      It's a good read if you (any reader) want to understand more about what makes Bernie tick.


  7. Black Americans, on average, are emerging much worse off economically than white Americans after 2 terms under Obama. What is it we're supposed to give him kudos for?

  8. I will not take the bait...smilin