TSD Memphis

Sat04192014

Opinion

Enough already with the knocks on RNC’s chairman

R Jackson-160Earlier this week, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Chairman Reince Priebus hosted a great 50th anniversary commemoration of the March on Washington. It was truly wonderful to see the best of what America stands for. In attendance were blacks, whites, hispanics, Asians, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, males and females. In other words, it was America.

As I sat there and listened to the various speakers during the program, it dawned on me just how diverse the crowd was. I was also reminded how there were many differences of opinions represented in the room, but for that moment in time, we all rallied around that which we could all agree on – that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington, helped move America toward delivering on its promise of equality for all.

I was also reminded that not everyone in the civil rights community agreed with Dr. King's approach. Some within the movement wanted a more aggressive, militant approach to the movement – namely Malcolm X.

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Defending Black Breast-Feeding Week

breastfeeding-400(The Root) – Kimberly Seals Allers at Mocha Manual presents a five-point response to folks who are opposed to the Black Breast-Feeding Week social media campaign she organized that began Monday. She explains why she's tailoring the issue for the black community, writing that "there has been a gaping racial disparity in breast-feeding rates." She encourages the campaign's white detractors to support her efforts.

The week will be marked with celebratory "fist bump" images to be shared on Facebook, a live interactive webcast via You Tube and a groundbreaking twitter chat, under the inaugural theme: #BlackLivesMatter (get all the info & shareable images here).

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Miley Cyrus’ imitation of black life adds insult to injury

miley-600Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but sometimes it's also the sincerest form of ignorance and annoyance.

Black women with large behinds are not accessories. Grills, trap music and stripper anthems are not all there is to black culture. These are little life lessons that Miley Cyrus seems to be unaware of as she desperately seeks to shed her Disney-approved Hannah Montana image.

The 20-year-old's latest cringe-worthy spectacle was a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards over the weekend that was a total embarrassment for Miley and anyone within a 10-foot radius.

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Obama: Standing in the shadow of MLK

king-obama-split-575In my grandmother's Arkansas home hangs a portrait of President Barack Obama with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the portrait has written beneath the two men "We Have a Dream; the Dream Has Come True."

It was one of many paintings, posters, buttons, T-shirts and other products that came out in 2008 during Obama's historic election, tying the election back to King and his historic "speech during the March on Washington in 1963.

Some felt the comparisons were premature, even inaccurate, but many simply did not care. The idea of a black president once seemed like a dream, but now it was realized. Expectations for Obama were high, but what we received after 2008 was a president often stymied by a gridlocked Congress, and a voice constrained by being the president of all and not some.

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Should Obama pay interns?

interns-600NEW YORK – The White House may not be able to afford to pay its interns.

While pressure has been mounting for President Obama to pay his interns, there could be a reason why the White House hasn't ponied up: It would cost more than $7.3 million a year.

That's double what the White House paid to give tours of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., which were infamously halted in March due to forced spending cuts.

It's also slightly more than the $6 million that Vice President Joe Biden gets paid for carrying out his White House responsibilities and taking care of his official residence, according White House budget estimates for 2013.

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Memphis Branch NAACP takes on toxic waste fight

MCTaylor-160In African-American communities across the United States, young men are besieged by violence and their families struggle to overcome economic deprivation, which threatens their way of life. In those depressed enclaves, African Americans are often relegated to poor housing conditions, and escaping such conditions has been fruitless in some cases.

But there is another threat to the African-American community that looms overhead, and in the ground water, like a modern-day plague: residue from chemical and coal burning plants. That's because African-American neighborhoods are often located in close proximity to these "killing" plants. It's happening across the United States and it's happening in Memphis and Shelby County.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has consistently been concerned about the quality of air and water in the United States on a daily basis. Our poor African-American communities are routinely oppressed with the deadly residue from coal burning plants that is emitted in the air and found in the water supply. Memphis is not immune to this plague.

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The man black history erased

march-600On August 13, 1963, in a last ditch effort to derail the pending March on Washington, Strom Thurmond took the Senate floor and hurled a series of vicious, personal attacks against the man organizing the largest protest in U.S. history.

Thurmond called him a Communist and a draft dodger.

He brought up a previous arrest and accused him of being immoral and a pervert.

The man Thurmond was attacking was not Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Why we’re still marching

22emailmarch-600For a while, it looked like the 50th anniversary observance of the March on Washington would expose a sharp split in the Civil Rights Movement. Al Sharpton jumped ahead of his colleagues by cornering Martin Luther King III and the two of them announced a March on Washington for Saturday, August 24.

Other civil rights leaders were planning events around that time and complained privately that Sharpton and Martin III had locked up key funding from major labor groups, a primary source of funding for the movement.

A series of high-profile events – the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder gutting the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, remanding a University of Texas affirmative action case back to the appellate level for stricter scrutiny and George Zimmerman being found not guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of 17-year-old unarmed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. – left African-Americans and their supporters clamoring for an outlet to express their disgust.

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For Republicans, ‘brand’ problem is not brand new

R Jackson-160During the past year, we have watched monumental change take place all over the world; not just in terms of democracy, but in terms of culture, law, and politics, etc.

Our major institutions have not been immune from this change that is sweeping across the globe. There has been a major push to redefine what a family is; we have redefined marriage; we have redefined sexuality—no longer is there male or female, now there is other; there are now gay Christians; we now have Christian gangsta rappers, etc.

Everything seems to be changing other than the Republicans approach to engaging the black community.

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Will the Senate change Cory Booker?

booker-600WASHINGTON – Cory Booker already had a national identity before he decided to run for senator.

The media-savvy, tweet-happy mayor from Newark – who easily won the New Jersey Democratic primary for Senate last Tuesday – has been known for his man-of-the-people streak, charismatic presence and social media intensity, or as some say, fixation.

But can he make the switch from a nationally popular hands-on mayor to the contentious spotlight of the United States Senate?

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Is Bloomberg racist, sexist or clueless?

michaelbloomberg-400New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had a tough week. At least, tough compared to most weeks for the white, straight male billionaire who runs one of the world's leading cities, and by most accounts has led a fairly charmed life that usually involves getting his way – even if that means paying for the privilege.

But the Bloomberg who has been praised in progressive circles for his advocacy on gun control is in danger of having his legacy eclipsed by another Bloomberg who does not inspire progressive admiration, but shame. The mayor's obsession with maintaining stop and frisk, a policy that both civil rights activists and a federal judge have deemed discriminatory in execution, a conclusion that all data collected on the subject supports, has cast him as someone who is racially insensitive at best, and subtly racist at worst.

Now his reaction to the recent ruling by federal judge Shira Scheindlin, who found stop and frisk unconstitutional, is renewing questions of whether or not the mayor is not only racially insensitive but also insensitive when it comes to gender issues.

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Why don’t you have any black friends?

Tanner Colby-600(CNN) – "So, how many black friends do you have now?"

It's a question I get asked a lot, ever since I set out five years ago to find out why I, your typical middle-class white person, had no black friends at all.

I do have black friends now, actually. Several. But I rarely offer that information when asked, because to ask white people how many black friends they have is to pose the wrong question.

Recently, a Reuters poll came out showing that 40 percent of white Americans have zero nonwhite friends, and only 20 percent of white Americans have five or more nonwhite friends. People seemed shocked that the numbers were so bad.

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Should Certain Baby Names Be Illegal?

(The Root) -- When reports surfaced that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West had named their new daughter "North 'Nori' West," it was simply assumed that they were following in the footsteps of fellow celebrities with oddly named kids -- kids like Apple Martin (daughter of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Chris Martin) and Pilot Inspektor (son of actor Jason Lee). But while little North West's name has already spawned a number of jokes, the controversy sparked by two other families' proposed baby names is no laughing matter.

Recently a Tennessee judge ordered a mother to change her son's name from "Messiah" to "Martin," citing concerns that the child would face bullying for sharing a name that has such a strong religious connotation. Meanwhile, in June, a couple of self-described Nazis recently announced that they are expecting and plan to name their new child "Eva Braun," the same name as the girlfriend of Adolf Hitler. In some ways, the disturbing name seems fitting, since "Hitler" is the name of the father's older son, of whom the couple is fighting to regain custody.

Little Hitler and his sister, Aryan Nation, along with their other siblings, were removed because of domestic violence allegations. But most observers agree that while the children's names may not have been the official reason they were removed, the names likely played some role in how the couple's parenting skills have been viewed by law enforcement and the courts.

The cases of little Hitler and little Messiah raise a question that rankles legal experts -- namely, should there be explicit laws against what parents can name their children in a country that values free speech?

Laws prohibiting certain names are not entirely far-fetched. In Australia, courts routinely rule that parents must change the names given to their offspring if they would "cause offense to a reasonable person." Names like "Sex Fruit" and "Fish and Chips" have been tossed out. But somehow the name "Violence" managed to make the cut.

In an interview with The Root, Lawrence Walters, an attorney specializing in the First Amendment, explained that it is a misconception that there are no laws restricting what parents can name their children. For instance, many states require that a child be given a last name. But such laws (pdf) are regulated by the state, not at the federal level, and there is absolutely no continuity regarding what is and is not allowed. "Some states restrict things like obscenities, numerals, pictograms and/or diacritical marks. Other states impose no prohibitions at all," he said.

Louisiana and Tennessee require that the father's last name be listed as the surname of the child if a couple is married. Iowa and Massachusetts limit how long names can be. Connecticut and Kentucky have no restrictions, while New Jersey prohibits numerals. It is worth noting that no states restrict names on the basis of meaning. So in New Jersey, where little Hitler lives, his parents would have been restricted from naming him "8," but "Hitler" is OK.

"Since parents have a constitutional right to raise their children in the manner of their choice, any restriction on naming rights would be held to a high standard if challenged in court," said Walters. "Thus far, the U.S. Supreme Court has not considered the constitutionality of a law imposing any restriction on child-naming rights."

Cathy Middleton-Lewis, an attorney specializing in child-custody cases, said, "I have constitutional questions on any laws that would encroach on parents' rights," including their right to decide what to name a child. But, she added, "The standard when it comes to custody and in any court proceedings involving a child is what's in the best interest of the child."

Read more: http://www.theroot.com/views/should-certain-baby-names-be-illegal

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