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Opinion

What it means to be an American

What it means to be an American

With the deepening polarization of our country, I have been reflecting on the cause of this polarization.

One of the major issues confronting the U.S. is what it means to be an American. This may sound a bit trite, but this is at the heart of a lot of the intractable problems we are facing as a country. Everyone wants to carve out their own identity, with individuality being the motivating force behind the move, not the betterment of America.

There was a time when we were simply all Americans. Then we became Irish-Americans, Jewish-Americans, African-Americans, Homosexual-Americans, Illegal-Americans, etc.

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  • Written by Raynard Jackson/NNPA

‘Full plates’ and obesity overload African-American women

‘Full plates’ and obesity overload African-American women

Four out of five African-American women have a problem with being obese and each year that number seems to increase. This is an epidemic that must be reversed.

I talked with a woman recently about her weight problem and her struggle to lose the pounds. She had tried every type of diet and weight loss program on the market, but none of them helped her lose the weight. So, instead, she decided to accept the fact that she would never return to her former self, when she was more than 50 pounds lighter.

An integral part of the household, too many African-American women busy themselves around the house and care for the children without regard for themselves. Sedentary lifestyles are associated with weight gain.

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George Zimmerman v.s. Trayvon Martin: Can College Grades Prove You're a Murderer ?

George Zimmerman v.s. Trayvon Martin: Can College Grades Prove You're a Murderer ?

 In exclusive coverage for the Tri-State Defender, Dr. Jason Johnson is reporting from the courthouse in Sanford, Fla., where George Zimmerman is on trial for teh shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Johnson will provide exclusive and intimate details of the trial through it's conclusion. Check back here for coverage you canonly get at the tristatedefender.com

Can a college transcript tell what type of person you turn out to be? Most Americans would say no. The vast majority of us don't believe that what we studied in college has much to do with where we've ended up in life (and the millions of psychology, sociology and biology majors out there working in insurance, human resources and marketing are all nodding their heads in agreement). The strongest connection that most people draw between their undergraduate degrees and real life occurs when they answer an obscure question on Jeopardy. However, in the case of the State of Florida v.s. George Zimmerman, college grades make a difference, and how those grades are viewed could be a matter of life and death.

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  • Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director

Bad news for affirmative action supporters

Bad news for affirmative action supporters

The Supreme Court's ruling Monday, while not the death blow to affirmative action that many of its supporters had feared, continues a push led by the Court's conservatives to impose very high standards on any consideration of race in public policy and will likely make it harder for universities and other institutions to defend racial preferences in future cases.

The Court's 7-1 ruling in practice does not affirm or reject the affirmative action programs at the University of Texas at Austin or any other school in the country, so its direct implications depend on how the Court and lower courts interpret the justices' words. But the ruling ensures affirmative action programs across the country will be continue to be challenged in court, and it weakens the defenders of affirmative action on two grounds.

First, the Court opted against affirming the University of Texas' admission program, which at first glance looks like a non-decision, but actually is a bold stance by the justices.

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From COINTELPRO to Prism, spying on communities of color

From COINTELPRO to Prism, spying on communities of color

WASHINGTON D.C. – Revelations of a massive cyber-surveillance program targeting American citizens holds particularly chilling consequences for immigrants and communities of color. Given the history of such programs, going back to the pre-digital age, these groups have reason to fear.

Who is mined, who is profiled, and who suffers at the hands of an extensive regime of corporate and government surveillance raises issues of social and racial justice.

PRISM, the National Security Agency's clandestine electronic surveillance program, builds on a history of similar efforts whose impacts have affected racial and ethnic minorities in disproportionate ways. The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Counter Intelligence Program ("COINTELPRO"), established in 1956, represents one of the forbearers of PRISM. Created at a time when political decision makers worked to promote the idea of national security in the public consciousness, the program targeted first Communist sympathizers and later domestic dissenters under a broad remit which allowed COINTELPRO to monitor and interrogate groups that threatened social order at the time.

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  • Written by Seeta Pena Gangadharan/New America Media

Allen West: Women in combat are threat to ‘American warrior culture’

Allen West: Women in combat are threat to ‘American warrior culture’

In a recent Facebook post, former Republican congressman Allen West explained why he believes women do not belong in military units.

West expressed his disapproval towards President Obama and the Defense Department for approving a policy allowing women to fill thousands of combat jobs in the military.

The news was announced on the heels of the Congressional hearings on the increasing number of sexual assault cases in the military.

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Juneteenth is worth celebrating

Juneteenth is worth celebrating

Did you know that the official African-American holidays are: Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth? What do you, and your family, do to celebrate Juneteenth? Also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, the Juneteenth holiday is an abbreviated form of "June Nineteenth." It marks the day Blacks in Texas belatedly received word that President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had freed the nation's slaves.

Black Americans should commemorate Juneteenth as the date in 1865 when Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived with his troops at Galveston Island and read President Lincoln's proclamation freeing the state's 200,000 slaves. The proclamation had originally taken effect on Jan. 1, 1863, but word didn't reach Texas until two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and more than two years after the proclamation was issued. Explanations for the holdup vary. Depending on who's doing the explaining, the delay could have been attributed to anything from bureaucratic delays to a slow mule. Once freed, several self-sustaining Black farming communities grew up in Texas, and across the land, as freed men tilled their own soil.

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  • Written by William Reed/NNPA

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