Andrea Bradley had her first child at age 15. Now 28, the East Walnut Hills woman gave birth to six children and is due in July with her seventh. That child likely will be born while Bradley is in jail.
Tara Macke, a third-grade teacher at Glenn O. Swing Elementary in Covington, works with her students on math problems. (Photo: The Enquirer/Amanda Rossman)
It goes like this: A child’s parents can’t afford preschool, so he’s a bit behind in kindergarten. That makes learning to read more difficult, so in third grade, he’s still behind. At that point, children switch from learning to read to reading to learn. That child never catches up, and he drops out.
Dropouts don’t tend to get high-paying jobs, so when that child has children of his own, he won’t be able to afford quality preschool for them, either. The second generation falls behind, and the cycle continues.
When children start behind, “they stay behind,” said Donna Jones Baker, Greater Cincinnati Urban League president and CEO. Then, they pass that on for generations.
“Poverty doesn’t mean that they’re dumb,” Baker said. “It means they’ve not been given what they need to succeed. … And in many instances, their parents haven’t been given what they need.”
Barkley said that young black men who do well in school are accused of “acting white” by their peers. “One of the reasons we’re never going to be successful as a whole, because of other black people. And for some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. And it’s a dirty, dark secret.”
No, college isn’t the answer. Reparations are.
By Tressie McMillan Cottom
May 29 at 3:13 PM
12:58 AM EST
How much would white people have to pay to get the black crime rate down to that of whites? If whites paid the agreed-upon amount and blacks didn’t uphold their end of the agreement by reducing the number of crimes they commit, could whites get their money back? Maybe whites could put the payment in escrow for, say, two generations after which blacks could collect the payment if they met the goal.
12:36 AM EST
Ultimately, the only thing that can raise up the Black Community is the Black Community itself. The government is not going to help, the churches aren’t going to help, and the white community is not going to help, and frankly, reparations won’t help. When other minorities were shut out of businesses, social clubs, neighborhoods, banks, etc., they formed their own. Until the community is willing to take the steps to be self sufficient, it will continued to be mired with the problems that it has. Every American should read the Autobiography of Malcolm X. If you’re black, you’ll understand the goals and the necessity of self-determination. If you’re white, you’ll understand how the black community sees the world. If you’re something in between…it’s a good read. Honestly, if this book was required reading by all students, regardless of race, creed or color, racism would quickly recede.
Riley’s book discusses why these depressing statistics stem not simply from poverty or prejudice, but from cultural changes that have occurred in the black community and the unintended consequences of liberal efforts to blame everything on poverty and prejudice. Much of Riley’s discussion has to do with what has happened to black culture. He describes the pernicious effect of even middle-class black youngsters eschewing proper diction and devotion to schoolwork. In one study of fairly affluent kids in a Cleveland suburb, Riley reports that researcher John Ogbu, a Nigerian-born anthropologist and Berkeley professor who died in 2003, found that “black kids readily admitted that they didn’t work as hard as whites, took easier classes, watched more TV and read fewer books.”
But, of course, the major problem in the black community that accounts for so much of the disparity in achievement and criminal behavior is that more than 7 in 10 black children are born to single women and will spend much of their lives with no father present.
In college, I read the Autobiography of Malcom X. It’s a “put down” book, you can’t put it down. Read it and learn.
October 12, 2014 4:54 pm
Readers respond: Still waiting for our first black president
The riddle of black America’s rising woes under Obama
By Edward Luce
Those who have fared worst under this president are the ones who love him the most
A paradox haunts America’s first black president. African-American wealth has fallen further under Barack Obama than under any president since the Depression. Yet they are the only group that still gives him high ratings. So meagre is Mr Obama’s national approval rating that embattled Democrats have made him unwelcome in states that twice swept him to power. Those who have fared worst under Mr Obama are the ones who love him the most. You would be hard-pressed to find a better example of perception-driven politics. As the Reverend Kevin Johnson asked in 2013: “Why are we so loyal to a president who isn’t loyal to us?”
The problem has taken on new salience with the resignation of Eric Holder. America’s first black attorney-general has tried to correct the gulag-sized disparities in prison sentencing between blacks and whites. His exit leaves just two African-Americans in Mr Obama’s cabinet. Given the mood among Republicans, it is hard to imagine the US Senate confirming a successor to Mr Holder who shares his priorities.
Mr Obama shot to prominence in 2004 when he said there was no black or white America, just the United States of America. Yet as the continuing backlash to the police shooting of an unarmed young black man in Ferguson has reminded us, Mr Obama will leave the US at least as segregated as he found it. How could that be? The fair answer is that he is not to blame. The poor suffered the brunt of the Great Recession and blacks are far likelier to be poor. By any yardstick – the share of those with subprime mortgages, for example, or those working in casualised jobs – African-Americans were more directly in the line of fire.
Without Mr Obama’s efforts, African-American suffering would have been even greater. He has fought Congress to preserve food stamps and long-term unemployment insurance – both of which help blacks disproportionately. The number of Americans without health insurance has fallen by 8m since the Affordable Care Act came into effect. Likewise, no president has done as much as Mr Obama – to depressingly little effect – to try to correct the racial bias in US federal sentencing. Bill Clinton was once termed “America’s first black president”. But it was under Mr Clinton that incarceration rates rose to their towering levels.
By no honest reckoning can Mr Obama be blamed for the decline in black America’s fortunes. Yet the facts are deeply unflattering. Since 2009, median non-white household income has dropped by almost a 10th to $33,000 a year, according to the US Federal Reserve’s survey of consumer finances. As a whole, median incomes fell by 5 per cent. But by the more telling measure of net wealth – assets minus liabilities – the numbers offer a more troubling story.
The median non-white family today has a net worth of just $18,100 – almost a fifth lower than it was when Mr Obama took office. White median wealth, on the other hand, has inched up by 1 per cent to $142,000. In 2009, white households were seven times richer than their black counterparts. That gap is now eightfold. Both in relative and absolute terms, blacks are doing worse under Mr Obama.
Why then do African-Americans still give him such stellar ratings? To understand, listen to the dog whistles of Mr Obama’s detractors. The more angrily the Tea Party reviles Mr Obama, the more ardently African-Americans back him. When Newt Gingrich, the former Republican leader, described Mr Obama as a “food stamp president”, the subtext was plain. It was too when Joe Wilson, a Republican lawmaker, interrupted Mr Obama’s address to Congress to call him a liar – an indignity none of his predecessors suffered.
Likewise, no president has been forced to authenticate that he was born in the US (rather than Kenya). Donald Trump then demanded proof that the president had attended Harvard. How could a black man get so far without cheating? That at least is what many black Americans heard.
Then there is Mr Obama’s impact as a role model. With the exception of the fictional Cosby Show – the 1980s sitcom about an upbeat black household – many whites have little experience of intact black families. The latter remains dishearteningly uncommon. Barack and Michelle Obama have done much to counteract that image.
There is a prominently displayed photograph in the White House showing the moment that a young black boy touched Mr Obama’s hair to compare it with his own. “So, what do you think?” asked Mr Obama. “Yes, it does feel the same,” said the child. That episode conveys something no Fed statistician can measure.
Black Americans seem to grasp something many of Mr Obama’s white supporters often forget. If the opposing party controls Congress and wants to make trouble, it can stop almost any White House initiative in its tracks. Most voters hold the president accountable for the big trends affecting their lives, particularly economic. But there are times when this is not fully deserved. Under this president at least, black America’s insights may be a step ahead of the rest.
Walter “Doc” Hurley, athlete, teacher and friend to Hartford students, is seen in the gym of the former Weaver High School, where he excelled as an athlete in the 1930s. (Stephen Dunn / Hartford Courant/ April 27, 2000)
Doc Hurley’s Legacy: Inspiring City Youths To Excel
‘Hartford Has Lost Its Greatest Citizen’
“Doc Hurley represented hope,” said Windsor football coach Rob Fleeting, a 1988 Weaver graduate and former football coach there. “If someone in the community needed guidance, a parent seeking advice on how to get a son or daughter into a college, you’d call Doc. He helped a lot of students go to college with scholarships or by calling college administrators he knew to open up a door.
Liz Hoover (used2b2)
SUPER USER·161 Fans·Only on the side of truth
I have universal love and do not see color but this does not mean that I haven’t learned and seen mob mentality from both the the black and white population. I started getting educated from my children’s black school friends when they were very young about the black mindset regarding white people. Over time these children would learn to trust me and finally end up saying how their mother’s hated me because I was white. These children would say they are taught that white people are evil and are only here to suppress the black population but were confused because I did not reflect what they were taught about white people. I have also case managed young adults coming from underprivileged backgrounds. One of these young men has obtained a 4 year college degree against all odds having Cerebral Palsy, growing up in the ghetto with 11 siblings with different fathers. His mother, sister’s and brother’s automatically hated me. This young man only grew to trust me over time witnessing years of my actions reflecting what I would teach.
These young men are a product of their environment. What they’ve done is Horrific. No one rushed in to assist this man being beaten, they only watched. Until everyone starts being honest about racism and change the way they view people of different color, it will never change. There will be more and more violent acts as time goes on. Black and white alike. Extreme prejudice exists going both ways.
12 APR 10:50 AM
Brainy: Anala Beevers, aged four, who can recite the capital of every country and U.S. state and says she’s smarter than her parents, has become the newest member of the high IQ society, Mensa
Homestead: A small community of African-Americans descended from slaves are fighting to stay on their island home in light of a burdensome new property tax
On their own: Residents argue that they aren’t being given a fair deal with the increased property taxes, since they don’t receive the same services as the rest of the county
“Only the family of God can solve the problems of our time,” he offers. Point two of his manifesto, for example, says simply: “The Bible says you should train up a child in the ways of the Lord and when he is old, he won’t depart from it.” He argues that every black church in Mississippi should take direct responsibility for every black child in their parish and should keep a written record of everything they do and achieve until the age of 21.
One newspaper described him in these eight words: “The bravest colored soldier of the Civil War.”
Chuck Berry tunes are as American as baseball – these lyrics are unsurpassed…
It was the third of September; that day I’ll always remember,
‘Cause that was the day that my daddy died.
I never got a chance to see him;
Never heard nothin’ but bad things about him.
Mama I’m depending on you to tell me the truth.
Mama just hung her head and said Son,
Papa was a rollin’ stone.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
And when he died,
All he left us was alone.
James Barber wrote:
9/19/2013 9:32 PM EDT
I grew up with Motown, Philly International and Casablanca Records. I know that Parlament and Funkadelic are basically the same musicians. I love the Dramatics, Whispers, and Isley Brothers. My favorite album is the World is a Ghetto by War. And the three things that I know about Tupac is that he is dead, was in the group Digital Underground, and was in the comedy “Nothing But Trouble” with Demi Moore and Chevy Chase.
Now when it comes to CRap music (the C is silent like in Czar), I have no love, especially the modern version. I have teenage sons and when I hear that noise I tell them to put on headphones or turn it off, their choice my house.
The double standard in CRap music is that it glorifies in many cases what is wrong with black society i.e. “I have ho*s in every area code.” When Motown was big, the out of wedlock birth rate was about 9%, now it is 72% with CRap as the dominate music form. When I compare the lyrics of the Holland Dozier Holland, Ashford and Simpson, and the Philly song writers to Jay-Z (I only know one song by him, the horrid use of Sinatra’s “New York”), I quickly put on Smokey Robinson, think about the days when I could go to a house party without worrying if the party will be filled with too many Bloods or Crips.
Ultimately, I see no redeeming qualities in listening to an “artist” berate a woman or talk about using drugs so freely. I have no control of what is played, idolized or purchased, but I do have my opinion and I will not be politically correct to appeased over aged teenagers who were in most case produced with the help of the “baby making music” of Motown, Epic and Philly Intl Records.
The Negro Family:The Case For National Action
Office of Policy Planning and Research United States Department of Labor
Adults Film Toddler Cursing, Talking About Sex & Gangs. Omaha Police Post Clip Online & Get Criticized. Who’s Wrong Here?Omaha Police Post Clip Online & Get Criticized. Who’s Wrong Here?
Fights break out at shoe stores across the country as fans battle to get their hands on latest Air Jordan 11 Gamma Blue sneakers
Chaos followed the release of Nike’s Air Jordan 11 Gamma Blue sneaker on Saturday morning as fights broke out in stores across the country between customers keen to get their hands on a pair. Each year, the highly anticipated release of a new version of limited edition Air Jordans is released and each year, a spate of robberies, assaults, riots and even deaths occur. This year, videos and photographs from around the country depict frenzied crowds fighting in queues outside sports stores and inside shops.
The shoes retail for $185. A new, limited edition version of Air Jordans are released each year, and each year similar violence and frustration erupts.
The Knockout Game — NYT/NPR Say No Big Deal
So why is this happening? Look to the family.
As then-presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama told a mostly black congregation: “Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.” In 1960, only 5 percent of children were born into single-parent households. Today it’s 40 percent, with nearly 75 percent of black children born to single mothers.
Crowd Watches as Man Beaten Unconscious Outside Belmont CTA Station
MARK EVERY DEATH. REMEMBER EVERY VICTIM.
FOLLOW EVERY CASE.
HOMICIDE WATCH CHICAGO
6 dead, 23 wounded in holiday weekend violence
Chicago ‘gang member’ charged with murder after he ‘shot dead six-month-old girl because her dad stole his video-game console’
Murdered: Jonylah Watkins was shot as she sat on her father, Jonathan’s lap. She survived a separate shooting of her mother Judy when she was still in the womb
Accused: Koman Willis is facing first degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm charges after he allegedly shot dead baby Jonylah Watkins while aiming for her father, Jonathan Watkins
One unusual aspect of the recent cases, [Lt. Col. Dave] Bailey said, is that more killings seem to be over simple disputes between people who have only loose connections, making it harder to find the perpetrator, Bailey said.
“It’s about respect and disrespect,” Bailey said.
“That’s aggravating for us, because sometimes all of this is over something relatively minor.”
Black film-maker sparks controversy by wearing Ku Klux Klan robes in public to highlight gun violence in African-American community
TOM DODGE | DISPATCH
Eric Thomas, 14, left, and Davonte Johnson, 13, are to serve at least three years in a juvenile facility for their role in a murder.
Homicide is the leading cause of death among young black men – more than suicide, accidents and disease COMBINED, finds study
Surveillance photo of Devonere Simmonds, 17, from the carryout where a store clerk was shot and killed on the South Side last night. Police filed a murder charge against him today.
“We tried to work with them and reason with them, but you can’t make a person do anything,” Price said. “The pull to the streets was too great for them. We tried, and they just didn’t want to let go of the streets.
Four men have been arrested over the death of a lawyer shot in front of his wife during a carjacking outside a New Jersey mall last week, authorities said. The suspects in the fatal carjacking on Sunday last week, in which Dustin Friedland, pictured with his wife Jamie, was killed at The Mall, Short Hills, were arrested in a series of raids overnight. The suspects were identified as, clockwise from top left, Basim Henry, 32, Hanif Thompson, 29, Kevin Roberts, 33 and Karif Ford, 31. Three were arrested in their homes in New Jersey and Henry was arrested in a Pennsylvania hotel, between 9pm on Friday and 3am Saturday.
Hailed as a hero: Bismark Mensah, pictured April 4, who works at a Walmart in Washington, will be honored for his quick work in returning an envelope stuffed with cash to the customers who had accidentally left it in a shopping cart
Incarceration rates for black Americans dropped sharply from 2000 to 2009, especially for women, while the rate of imprisonment for whites and Hispanics rose over the same decade, according to a report released Wednesday by a prison research and advocacy group in Washington.
Proud: Sisters Chelesa (right) and Chelsea (left) graduated as valedictorian and salutatorian respectively, despite spending many of their high-school years homeless
Trio bucks trend, friendship paves way to UC medical school
Friends, from left, Nicolette Barbour, Sara Stigler and Ashley Sutherland chat with UC President Santa Ono, right, after receiving their white coats on their admission to the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine. / The Enquirer/Gary Landers
June 21, 2013, 10:36 pm 58 Comments
Breaking Medicine’s Color Barrier
By CATE LINEBERRY
On Jan. 7, 1863, just six days after the Emancipation Proclamation authorized African-American men to serve in the Union Army and Navy, Dr. Alexander T. Augusta, a freeman born in Norfolk, Va., wrote to President Lincoln requesting to serve as a surgeon “to some of the coloured regiments, or as physician to some of the depots of ‘freedmen.’” The 37-year-old Augusta had attended Trinity Medical College in Toronto; as he explained in his letter, “I was compelled to leave my native country, and come to this on account of prejudices against colour, for the purpose of obtaining knowledge of my profession; and having accomplished that object … I am now prepared to practice it, and would like to be in a position where I can be of use to my race.”
Lincoln sent the letter to the Army Medical Board, which initially ruled against allowing Augusta to serve. Refusing to give up, Augusta traveled to Washington to personally appeal his case, and he finally persuaded the board to overturn its decision. In April 1863, Augusta became the first African-American commissioned as a medical officer in the Union Army and was awarded the rank of major. He was one of only 13 African-Americans to serve as surgeons during the war, out of a total of 12,000.
Augusta was assigned as the surgeon in charge of the Contraband Hospital in Washington. The hospital, a collection of mostly tents and barracks, had been established to provide medical treatment to thousands of former slaves, known as “contraband,” who had fled to the capital after Lincoln ended slavery in the District of Columbia in April 1862. By the time of Augusta’s selection a year later, the hospital was also treating African-American soldiers.
Shortly after his appointment, Augusta was viciously attacked on a train in Baltimore, while in uniform, by a group of white men. He later responded to the attack in a weekly African-American newspaper, writing, “My position as an officer of the United States, entitles me to wear the insignia of my office, and if I am either afraid or ashamed to wear them, anywhere, I am not fit to hold my commission.”
After six months with the Contraband Hospital, Augusta left to become a regimental surgeon for the Seventh Infantry of United States Colored Troops in Maryland. (He was soon transferred to an African-American recruiting station after several white surgeons objected to his serving as their superior officer.) With Augusta’s decision to leave the hospital, William P. Powell Jr., the son of an African-American father and American Indian mother, who had received his medical training in England, became the surgeon in charge.
In all, 7 of the 13 black surgeons worked at the Contraband Hospital. Among these men were Augusta’s protégé, Anderson R. Abbott, a Canadian whose parents had emigrated from Alabama to Toronto, who joined the Union as a contract surgeon in 1863, as well as the abolitionist Charles B. Purvis, who first served at the hospital as a nurse before graduating from Wooster Medical College in Cleveland in 1865.
John V. Degrasse, who had studied at Maine Medical College and who, like Augusta, was a commissioned officer, was the only African-American surgeon to serve in the field with his regiment. The other five surgeons who did not work at Contraband Hospital were assigned to various military hospitals and recruiting stations.
In addition to these remarkable men, who overcame almost insurmountable obstacles to care for wounded soldiers, countless other African-American men and women, with no formal training, worked as nurses in black-only and white-only hospitals and on battlefields. Some of them had been born free; others were former slaves. Charles Purvis’s cousin Charlotte Forten, born free in Philadelphia in 1837, had traveled south to St. Helena Island, S. C., in 1862 to help teach former slaves to read and write. When soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment of the United States Colored Infantry in South Carolina were defeated at Fort Wagner during brutal hand-to-hand combat in July 1863, she volunteered as a nurse to care for them.
United States Naval History and Heritage Command The Red Rover, a captured Confederate paddle steamer that was converted into a naval hospital.
Ann Stokes, a former slave, was the first African-American woman to serve on a United States military vessel when she began her work as a nurse in 1863 under the Sisters of the Holy Cross. She worked aboard the Red Rover, a former Confederate paddle steamer that had been converted into a naval hospital. Stokes was paid for her work and eventually became the only black woman awarded a pension from the Navy for her service during the Civil War.
Another former slave, Susie King Taylor, who had been taught to read and write at secret schools while a child living with her grandmother in Savannah, Georgia, spent more than three years working for the Union’s First South Carolina Colored Volunteers while her husband served as a sergeant in the regiment. Officially a laundress, she tended to the wounded while teaching others to read and write. She was never paid for her work.
In 1902, more than three decades after the war, Taylor published “Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33d United States Colored Troops Late 1st S.C. Volunteers” — the only published memoir by an African-American nurse during the Civil War. In the opening she explains her reasons for writing the book:
So I now present these reminiscences to you, hoping they may prove of some interest, and show how much service and good we can do to each other, and what sacrifices we can make for our liberty and rights, and that there were ‘loyal women,’ as well as men, in those days, who did not fear shell or shot, who cared for the sick and dying; women who camped and fared as the boys did, and who are still caring for the comrades in their declining years. So, with the hope that the following pages will accomplish some good and instruction for its readers, I shall proceed with my narrative.
The Union wasn’t alone in depending on African-American nurses. Some Confederate hospitals relied on black nurses to help care for the overwhelming number of sick and wounded. The largest Confederate hospital, Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, Va., used hundreds of African-Americans, most of them male slaves, to provide care to thousands of patients. The surgeon in charge of the hospital in 1862, James Brown McCaw, wrote, “It will be entirely impossible to continue the hospital without them.” After Richmond was captured in April 1865, the Union turned it into a hospital to treat black soldiers.
When the war ended, the contributions of many of these African-Americans were largely forgotten. In fact, when William P. Powell Jr., who served as the surgeon in charge of the Contraband Hospital after Augusta’s departure, retired from medicine in 1891 because of poor health and a disability, the government denied his request for a pension, citing his role as a contract surgeon rather than a commissioned officer and determining that he did not have enough proof of his disability. Powell spent the next 24 years fighting the decision, and even wrote letters to Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt asking for their assistance, until his death in 1915 at the age of 81. He never received his pension.
Wide racial gap persists in education testing
Within the African-American demographic, that number spikes up to 86 percent, a number that surpasses the national average.
In truth, he used to be a bit of a devil, until his grandmother got hold of him….“My grandparents cracked the whip on me and got me back in line. They gave me love and direction when I needed it.”
Naz, 24, a father-of-two who has served time in prison, believes his life may have been different if he’d had a father in his life
Families: Ruth Haile, 33, with her three-year-old daughter Lulia, has three children by two fathers.
“A lot of kids fail in that situation without their parents, or when they don’t have a good life when they’re young,” he said. “I was a kid who just loved the game of basketball, and I knew from watching NBA games that it can take you to great places and make you a great person. So I just kept my head in it, and my grandma always kept after me to do the right thing, to trust in God, and the sky was the limit.”
The father of all support groups
Men participating in Project Fatherhood are trying to rise above their own life experience, and help their families along the way.
Reds Hall of Famer Eric Davis and Baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin are two of the Reds’ great African-American players. FILE
PITTSBURGH — Eric Davis made his living as a center fielder, not a sociologist. But his explanation for why more African-Americans are not playing baseball is rooted in the social fabric of the black community.
“The reason there’s a steady decline is the black male’s fault because he’s not around,” Davis said. “Baseball is a sport that has to be introduced to you through a male figure.”
THE HUMBLE NFL PLAYER WHOSE MODEST LIFESTYLE DOESN’T MATCH HIS MULTIMILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT
ATLANTA, GA – AUGUST 08: Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals rushes against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on August 8, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Credit: Getty Images
Quoting statistics combed from the 2004 University of Georgia Selig Center Study, the National Black Chamber of Congress, and the 2004 National Urban League’s “State of Black America” report: In 1960, when most blacks were Republicans, 80% of black children were born in wedlock. By 2002, when most blacks were Democrats, only 25% of black children were born in wedlock.
Scholars sketch bleak economic picture for black Americans
Fifty years after March on Washington, economic gap between blacks, whites persists
8/27/2013 9:30 PM EDT
It’s time blacks stop blaming whites for their failure to achieve and look inside their own dysfunctional culture. Not likely to happen as politicians of all hues pander to them for their votes. Only when blacks – and all cultures – do the things that make success happen will anything change. Stay in school, don’t have babies you can’t support, stay off drugs, stop supporting entertainers who degrade their own race, to name a few. If that’s “acting white” and you can’t abide that, then stay poor.
BET founder offers plan to cut racial disparity in hiring
By Michael A. Fletcher, Published: December 17
Backed by leading civil rights leaders, prominent African-American businessman Robert L. Johnson Monday renewed his call for President Obama to address the gaping employment gap that has long separated black and white workers.
Johnson, the billionaire chairman of the RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television, said the disparity could be narrowed if Obama encouraged U.S. corporations to voluntarily embrace a plan to interview at least two qualified minority candidates for every job at the vice president level or above. He said companies should also interview two minority-owned firms for vendor supply and other contracts.
“We are never going to close this gap unless there is a conscious commitment to do so,” Johnson said in an interview.
He said the idea is patterned after the National Football League’s Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates seeking head-coaching or general manager jobs before making hiring decisions.
Johnson said he broached the idea with Obama and about a dozen black business leaders in December last year at a White House meeting. At the time, Johnson said, Obama said he liked the idea and would pursue it with his jobs council, a panel of corporate leaders that advises the president on job creation.
Johnson said he held follow-up meetings with White House staff but eventually the effort “fizzled out.”
Johnson, whose idea has been endorsed by the National Urban League, the Congressional Black Caucus and the U.S. Black Chamber Inc. said he decided to issue a public statement pushing the idea after reading a Washington Post article about the racial unemployment gap.
The article noted that for at least four decades blacks have a jobless rate that is roughly double that of whites — a disparity that persists across education levels and occupations. Blacks with with at least a bachelor’s degree, for example, had a jobless rate of 7.1 percent in 2011, compared to 3.9 percent for whites with similar educational credentials. The overall black jobless rate is 13.2 percent, while the white rate is 6.8 percent.
Scholars note that although discrimination is the major factor hampering black job seekers, they also suffer from having fewer social networks with the power to land them in jobs.
“Hiring in this country is still a friend of a friend kind of thing,” Johnson said. He added that putting more blacks in hiring positions could reshape that pattern.
Asked to respond to Johnson’s remarks, Kevin S. Lewis, a White House spokesman, said in a statement: “President Obama is deeply committed to growing our economy from the middle out by ensuring a strong, secure, and thriving middle-class and ensuring that everyone has a fair shot, a fair shake and plays by the same set of rules.”
Johnson said he was reluctant to put pressure on Obama to embrace an “African-American-centric” policy prescription. The president, he said, seems to believe that an improvement in the economy would address the problem. But, Johnson said, black joblessness needs to be tackled head-on.
Even as the nation has poured billions of money into education, which has resulted in the number of black college graduates tripling over the past 25 years, “it is not moving the needle” on unemployment, Johnson said.
Under Obama, black unemployment back to twice the white rate
Film explores African-Americans’ unhealthy “soul food” habit
By Harriet McLeod
Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:55pm EST
(Reuters) – After interviewing food historians, scholars, cooks, doctors, activists and consumers for his new film “Soul Food Junkies,” filmmaker Byron Hurt concluded that an addiction to soul food is killing African-Americans at an alarming rate.
In South Carolina, where the black share of the population fell by 2 percent, single parenthood rose by 5 percent. In Kentucky and Louisiana, where the black population was constant, single parenthood increased 6 percentage points according to the Washington Times.
Fathers disappear from households across America
Big increase in single mothers
Nicole Hawkins‘ three daughters have matching glittery boots, but none has the same father. Each has uniquely colored ties in her hair, but none has a dad present in her life.
As another single mother on Sumner Road decked her row-house stoop with Christmas lights and a plastic Santa, Ms. Hawkins recalled that her middle child’s father has never spent a holiday or birthday with her. In her neighborhood in Southeast Washington, 1 in 10 children live with both parents, and 84 percent live with only their mother.
Controversial: Rapper Shawty Lo, pictured with eight of his 11 children (seated) and seven of the women that he fathered them with, as well as his 19-year-old girlfriend (left), are all set to star in a new TV show
The overlooked plight of black males
By Michael Gerson, Published: December 13
A president’s first term is a fresh track in the snow. His second term moves on a set of rutted paths. The shiny cause has become a vast machine, its wheels spinning on internal impulses unrelated to presidential priorities or pressing needs.
As President Obama moves toward his fourth State of the Union address, he will be looking for policies that appeal to the country, but he will also try to rekindle the purpose of his administration. Inertia and intellectual exhaustion are fought with presidential initiatives.
One issue in particular cries out for attention while receiving almost none. Our politics moves from budget showdown to cultural conflict to trivial controversy while carefully avoiding the greatest single threat to the unity of America: the vast, increasing segregation of young, African American men and boys from the promise of their country.
America is in the process of managing, accommodating and containing a crisis that should be intolerable. More than 50 percent of young black men in inner cities are now dropping out of school — making high school graduation the exception to this dismal new rule. They consequently lag behind other groups in college attendance and graduation. Their rates of incarceration are disproportionately high and rates of workforce participation disproportionately low. “For virtually each outcome considered,” Harry Holzer of Georgetown University has written, “young black men now lag behind every other race and gender group” in the United States.
The problem has gotten worse for decades, in good economic times and bad. Others benefited from the tight labor markets of the 1990s. African American men did not. By 2004, more than half of all black men in their 20s were unemployed. And the size of this problem gets consistently underestimated, since employment figures exclude the incarcerated. A problem that seems insoluble is thus rendered invisible.
Social scientists debate which are the greatest causes of these problems, but they generally agree on the list. Declining blue-collar employment opportunities. Failing schools. Lingering racism. Absent parents (just 37 percent of black children are raised in two-parent families). The growth of an “oppositional culture” that undermines achievement. Child-support policies that unintentionally penalize honest work (up to half of black males are involved in the child-support system). An incarceration boom that has made ex-offenders less employable.
Some of these trends gather a disturbing momentum. More than 50 percent of prison inmates are parents with minor children — and those children are significantly more likely to be suspended or expelled from school. Issues of economics and values are often impossible to disentangle. “As relative rewards to mainstream legal work of less-educated young black men have declined,” argues Holzer, “so have their own attachment to the mainstream worlds of school and work and to mainstream behaviors and values more broadly.”
Who in America devotes sustained, practical attention to young African American males? “Perversely enough,” Hugh Price of the National Urban League has observed, “the only potent lobby that looks after their food, clothing and shelter is the prison-industrial complex, which thrives on incarcerating them.”
This general lack of national urgency is an indictment of people on the whole ideological spectrum, including liberals. Once upon a time, liberalism was about something more than the marginal tax rates and the interests of the middle class. Leaders such as Hubert Humphrey, Robert F. Kennedy and Daniel Patrick Moynihan focused national sympathy on marginalized groups. Moynihan gave sophisticated attention to African American males in his 1965 report on black families in America.
If the reelection of President Obama is to mark a new era of liberal governance, let’s at least have some causes worthy of the liberal moral impulse. The one advantage of a social challenge on this scale is that it offers broad opportunities for creative policy: promoting early childhood education and parenting skills; encouraging youth development and mentoring; expanding technical education and apprenticeships; fostering college enrollment and completion; offering greater opportunities for national service; extending wage subsidies to low-income, noncustodial fathers; reforming sentencing and easing prisoner reentry. When there is a canyon to fill, just about everyone can usefully take a shovel.
A large presidential initiative on this topic would have an influence beyond policy. It would encourage understanding for some Americans who currently attract little of it. It would allow Obama to solicit conservative input and engage religious institutions. And it would be a powerful way to dispel the second-term blues.
The Faux Revrund, Al Sharpton, pursues marketing his brand, like Sarah Palin, but solves none of the myriad problems that beset his black community.
PICTURED: Tawana Brawley still hiding in Virginia 25 years after historic gang rape case that turned out to be a hoax
Found: The New York Post tracked down Tawana Brawley, pictured, in Hopewell, Virginia, 25 years after her historic gang rape hoax
A goateed gunman was caught on CCTV tape moments before shooting a livery-cab driver in The Bronx early on Sunday morning
Chicago grapples with gun violence; death toll soars
VIDEO: THE moment that a 76er fan shoots a Bulls fan upon exiting the subway
At large: These two suspects, pictured on the car moments before the shooting, are still at large
Favored Comment1 minute ago in Politics
“Blacks_in America…………..we are our OWN WORST_enemy”
Guy C • Wallingford, Connecticut • 15 hrs ago
I find this years awards of BET appauling as a Black man, father, grandfather and great grand father…the obscenities too much and the “so called music” from some i.e. Nikki ( foolish blonde) and others…Where’s their dignity as young influencial men and women ( especially with the filthy mouths) Rest in peace, Marvin Gaye, Nat Cole, Sam Cooke, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Phyllis Hyman, Ella Fitzgerald, classy, respectable entertainers. “for give them for they know not what we know of music!”
Before the Civil War, Abolitionists wanted to free the slaves, educate them, and reform their perceived dissolute character. Abolitionts asserted correctly that the soul of a black man was equal to that of the white man in the eyes of God.
Book Review: Eugene Robinson’s ‘Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America’
By Lawrence Jackson
Sunday, October 10, 2010
The Splintering of Black America
By Eugene Robinson
Random House. 254 pp. $24.95
Eugene Robinson’s new book, Disintegration,” opens with an account of a Washington dinner party dripping with influential Americans whom the reader can only assume are white. But these kingmakers, gathering shortly after the election of Barack Obama, turn out to be black.
Robinson proposes that this group — which included Eric Holder, soon to be nominated as attorney general; Valerie Jarrett, an Obama fundraiser who has Oprah Winfrey’s private phone number; Franklin Raines, a banker with a reputation nearly as bad as Kenneth Lay’s; and Soledad O’Brien, a hard-charging, racially ambiguous newscaster — signals the fulfillment of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. Even if it does, a small part of Robinson regrets the achievement of the hallowed plateau. He contends that the exercise of respectable power by these black people actually splinters a formerly coherent and unified black community.
Robinson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post, carves modern American blacks into four categories. His dinner-party comrades are members of a tiny group he calls the Transcendent class of wealthy blacks, composed chiefly of athletes, singers and media darlings. The Transcendents are more than offset by the regular black headline-makers, a “large minority” of African Americans that sociologists famously called the underclass in the 1980s and that Robinson now labels the Abandoned. A third group he identifies is the Emergent, people who are biracial, the children of parents from Africa or the African diaspora, or, like Obama, both.
Although Robinson calls for a “domestic Marshall Plan” to tackle African American “poverty, dysfunction, and violence,” he gives the heart of the book to the fourth group, the one he identifies with: the nebulously defined black Mainstream, a “middle-class majority with a full ownership stake in American society.”
The notion of what constitutes a middle-class life has changed over the years. In the 19th century, Americans still clung to Thomas Jefferson’s hope of yeoman farms. After World War II, a middle-class life meant home ownership, a college education, an annual vacation and the possibility of a cozy retirement. Always there was the hope that children would attend better schools, build larger homes and enjoy more material prosperity than their parents.
Being middle class means something different in 2010, and most black families with two college-educated parents are up to their ears in lingering school loans, extravagant mortgages and consumer debt. In other words, these black Americans compose a class without wealth, a feature common in the white upper-working class, as sociologists Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro reminded us in their 1995 book Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality.”
Sadly, Robinson skirts this issue, among others. He suggests that educated, financially secure black women living alone are “blazing another trail” to “redefine the concepts of household and family.” This is glib at best, and at worst it cynically casts black women as the engineers of something beyond their control: a socio-historic dynamic that graduates many more women than men from college every year. Robinson contents himself with upbeat platitudes to reinforce a worldview in which Transcendent, Emergent and Mainstream have something deeply symbolic in common with American whites: In unison, they “lock their car doors when they drive through an Abandoned neighborhood.”
Robinson is among the group able to take the fullest advantage of King’s sacrifice, and his concern seems more closely aligned with King’s focus on the “content of our character” than on the civil rights leader’s other battle with “the inner city of poverty and despair.” The ongoing plight of the black American poor — really a people who never recovered from slavery — bears an eerie similarity to the lives of black people living in Congo, Sierra Leone or Liberia. Americans like to keep a lot of distance between themselves and Africa, and African Americans who are not materially successful stir residues of guilt regarding the African genocides of our own day and the genocides of slaves and Native Americans. The mass incarceration of blacks is parallel to enslavement and peonage laws, as recent books by Michelle Alexander (“The New Jim Crow”) and Douglas Blackmon (“Slavery by Another Name”) make clear. As King understood, the black experience is shaped as much by the harshness of American society as by the content of the black character.
The black Mainstream that produced King was long on courage, determination and compassion, but short on cash. It was, and is, really a lower middle class, now tethered to an urban setting with compromised educational structures and weakened public services, and is only superficially like the white middle class. Consider this: Black autobiographers Malcolm X, Chester Himes, Nathan McCall and Dwayne Betts all seem to qualify for Robinson’s Mainstream, yet all served prison time for armed robbery between 1929 and 2005. It is difficult to dismiss 80 years’ worth of poignant testimony that black American “middle class” lives are extraordinarily different from those of their white counterparts.
Robinson evades the fact that the boundary between the black Mainstream (whose “historic” gains he admits are “precarious”) and the Abandoned is a highly porous one. What often happens is that the Abandoned follow the Mainstream from one part of a city to another and then from the city to the suburbs and back again. It’s a scenario of boom and bust that for more than a century has swamped ambitious black migrants who take advantage of residential and employment opportunities and then, 20 years later, have to pack up and move again in the face of a socio-economic tsunami. It happened to them in the inner cities of the 1960s, the larger metropolitan areas of the 1980s and the foreclosed suburbs of the 2010s. Moving is portrayed as a success, but the cycle of run-ruin-run should not really be thought of as part of the hearty prosperity of a new class. Robinson advocates gentrification as a solution to black urban blight, but that ship “been done sail,” as it were. The next wave of the black Abandoned is already tucked into suburbia, in Dekalb County, Ga., and Prince George’s County, Md. Ironically, these are Robinson’s twin geographic locales that exemplify the successful black middle class.
PD: Teenager Tried To Rob Officer At Police Station
May 8, 2012 3:17 PM
Suspected police station robber Keithan Manuel. (credit: Dallas Co. Jail)
WILMER (CBSDFW.COM) – Keithan Manuel is sitting inside the Dallas County Jail Tuesday night waiting for someone to believe him –– it was a joke, he told investigators. He didn’t really want to rob that police station.
Police, however, say the 18-year-old walked into the Wilmer Police Department Saturday evening with a white towel covering his hands.
Police Chief Victor Kemp described the incident saying, “Yeah well, a young man walked into the lobby and approached the dispatch window there and told our Communications Officer ‘give me all your money.’”
After pointing a towel-covered hand at the officer and making the statement, Manuel soon changed his tune and claimed he was there to get some information.
“He said he’d like to check on a warrant, but it was pretty obvious it was a situation … he gave a different name and after a few moments of maybe playing it off he said ‘you do know I have a gun’. At that point he seemed to be very serious,” Kemp said.
It was then the officer decided she didn’t feel like ‘joking’.
“She called for officers immediately and called for backup from another agency,” Kemp recalled. “The officers arrived and were able to take him down at gunpoint.”
Manuel didn’t have a weapon, but dispatcher Patrice Hughey said he said otherwise, recalling the teen telling her, “Well, you know I have a gun, right?”
“I didn’t say nothing like that, I swear to God I didn’t say nothing like that; that’s why they didn’t find no guns on me,” Manuel said. “Man I play like that all the time, I didn’t think she would take it seriously.”
Manuel remains is in the Dallas County Jail with a $200,000 bond for several charges, including Robbery.
“This young man wasn’t using his head for sure,” he said. “You hear of those World’s Dumbest Criminals every once in a while but you never think it’s gonna happen in your city.”
Donna Cornett of Avondale checks out her first-ever garden at the Gabriel’s Place market in Avondale
Gabriel’s Place: Growing vegetables, nourishing souls
When Avondale said it needed healthier food and a community center, a church listened
AVONDALE— Fifteen-year-old Marcelous Riggs does not know 49-year-old Donna Cornett, and neither knows 82-year-old Milton Jasper.
Yet these Avondale residents are linked through a unique ministry and community building program called Gabriel’s Place.
It combines multiple sustainable projects – garden plots, greenhouse (hoop house), fish hatchery for tilapia, market, industrial kitchen, youth cooking classes – in a single, pastoral location with a single focus: food.
Riggs, as a member of the Avondale Youth Council, worked last summer swinging a sledgehammer to break up an old concrete foundation where the Gabriel’s Place greenhouse now stands. Cornett is nurturing a 4-by-8-foot plot filled with plants that started as seeds – growing cabbage, lettuce, beans and tomatoes – vegetables for which Jasper paid $5.65 at the ministry’s farmers’ market and carried back across Reading Road to his apartment.
“This is in our community, which is why I came over,” Jasper said.
At the site of the former St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, which closed in 2008, Gabriel’s Place grew out of the desire of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio to maintain a presence in the neighborhood.
After opening last fall, it has emerged as an urban oasis in its first spring: 150 individual households have shopped, most now regular customers, and 87 volunteers have contributed 340 hours of service to the market.
The mix of projects, like the melding of generations, is what makes Gabriel’s Place different.
Kathy Schwab, in her travels and work, has seen many food-related programs to alleviate food deserts – the buzzword for the lack of groceries and fresh fruits and vegetables available in low-income neighborhoods.
“But I have never seen (a program) that combines all of these elements,” said Schwab, executive director of Local Initiatives Support Corp. Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, the regional office of the national nonprofit to help resident-led projects in low-income communities.
The nonprofit provided some engineering and architectural services for Gabriel’s Place and pays the salary of its new program director, Troy Frasier, through its AmeriCorps program.
Gabriel’s Place does have a model, though. The Milwaukee-based Growing Power program grows vegetables and raises fish, using a water-filtration process known as the aquaponic system, in abandoned factories in food deserts in Milwaukee and Chicago.
Avondale’s community council, youth council, the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency and the Center for Closing the Health Gap were involved with the Episcopal diocese at the site beginning in 2009.
Forty members of the youth council grew vegetables on adjacent land purchased by the diocese on Glenwood Avenue. By 2010, the number in the Do Right Teen Garden program had expanded to 80 members of the youth council.
Bishop Thomas Breidenthal said the diocese did not want to leave Avondale or abandon its urban mission. They listened to residents.
“Everyone told us they didn’t have access to healthy food,” said Breidenthal, whose leadership of 10 partner agencies and $400,000 in diocese seed money for the project have helped it grow.
The industrial kitchen and community room in the parish house next to the the church will be ready this summer. The first session of a junior chef program (ages 14-18), through Gabriel’s Place partner the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, is forming.
“I am excited to see how the young people will prepare the food being grown here and connect it to a healthier lifestyle,” Breidenthal said.
A 2010 study by the Cincinnati Health Department showed that almost one in three kindergartners in Avondale measured overweight or obese based on their body mass index.
Nationally, the overweight/obesity rate in white children is about 16 percent.
Outside, the hoop house – the greenhouse with a plastic roof wrapped over flexible piping, donated by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden – has produced its first crops, among them mustard greens. Frasier, 33, a former Peace Corps volunteer in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, points to a fence line where raspberries and asparagus grow. Then he shows where a chicken coop (eggs) and beehive (honey) will go.
“We want to teach people how to raise their own food, and we want them to do it on their own land next summer,” Frasier said.
“If we can’t get a (grocery) to come in, we need to solve our food problem ourselves.”
The neighborhood’s last grocery, Aldi’s, pulled out of the Avondale Town Center in November 2008.
Inside the former church sanctuary, the twice-weekly soup kitchen meal has wrapped up for the day. Audrey Scott started the meal service as a member of the former St. Michael and All Angels but couldn’t stop just because the church closed.
A few shoppers pick through boxes of produce, most of which are bought from a wholesaler outside of Avondale and brought in.
In coming months, Avondale residents will be able to eat even more of what’s grown at Gabriel’s Place.
Cornett, who lives on Hearne Avenue and works in a Good Samaritan Hospital coffee shop, envisions tables packed with homegrown vegetables and says, “This is so good for the neighborhood. We can help each other.”
Two Gabriel’s Place volunteers, Elester Thomas and Brenda Jackson, already are helping and have packed plastic grocery bags with orders from shut-in residents of Avon View Apartments.
“Avondale is more than a troubled area,” Jackson, 62, , said while loading grocery bags into her backseat.
“People do like living here. We do need a grocery and a pharmacy. But Gabriel’s Place can do a lot of good for a lot of people in the meantime.”
Cornel West and Tavis Smiley do a disservice to African Americans
I used to revere these two prominent black intellectuals. But lately, their critical voices have turned to crude Obama-bashing
From Rodney King to Trayvon Martin: Let’s Not Miss Another Opportunity to Progress
Posted: 04/24/2012 3:28 pm
Outrage after mother takes daughter, 14, to fight nemesis, smeared with VASELINE to make her harder to grab and is captured on video egging her on
Egged on: Darlene Hart (left) was arrested after taking her daughter to a park to fight with 14-year-old Espie Duran (right)
In L.A., blacks ask: Where are the jobs?
The root of the unrest was economic, yet blacks are still the most likely to be unemployed or underemployed.
By Erin Aubry Kaplan
April 29, 2012
On the afternoon of April 29, 1992, after hearing that the officers who beat Rodney King had been acquitted, I headed with a friend down to First A.M.E. Church in South-Central Los Angeles to attend a rally. We never made it.
As we closed in on Western Avenue and West Adams Boulevard, our car was stopped by scores of people, mostly black men, milling about in the streets; the air was thick with a gathering anger. Minutes later that anger morphed into action — thrown bottles, a hurled trash can. It was clear that things were getting out of hand, and so we turned around.
But what struck me then and for years afterward was the sight of all those men who had been able to turn out so readily at 3 in the afternoon. Their presence made dramatically visible what had been ignored for too long: the high rate of black unemployment.
Everybody agreed back then that the root of the unrest was economic, yet 20 years later, blacks are still the ethnic group in Los Angeles County most likely to be unemployed or underemployed. In 2010, the Economic Roundtable found that a staggering 66% of black men ages 16 to 24 in Los Angeles County, and 68% of black women in the same group, were unemployed. The recession hit people in Los Angeles particularly hard. The Economic Policy Institute recently reported that, between 2006 and 2011, the black jobless rate in the L.A. area ballooned from 8.6% to 19.3%.
When I got my first full-time job as a journalist, not long after the 1992 unrest, black people were still talking about all the unfulfilled promises made after the Watts riots in 1965. But I really thought ’92 would be different. People all over the world saw the events unfold in real time; I was confident they would see the graphic need for change, and that it would come quickly. It hasn’t.
In some ways, all the media attention was part of the problem. It’s easy and even thrilling to show fires, beatings, looting and fury at an unjust verdict. But the underlying economic issues, the frustration over a chronic lack of jobs — those things weren’t particularly suited to television.
The rioting on TV looked multiethnic, and it obviously affected a wide geographic swath of L.A. But at its heart it was a product of black rage — at racist policing, at the criminal justice system, at injustice, period.
Nevertheless, the search for solutions that followed focused on multiculturalism, as if the only real issue that needed addressing was summed up in Rodney King’s heartfelt plea that we “all get along.” Instead of zeroing in on economic inequity, civic leaders began talking about how we needed to form coalitions and cooperate.
This kind of multiculturalism, though important in a diverse city like Los Angeles, is in some ways a hollowed-out form of affirmative action: It encourages diversity but lacks the teeth of real policy. It is optional. It’s also a visual that the media can easily grasp — four faces, four different races — that by its very nature obscures injustices and imbalance. The debilitating economic crisis that has gripped black people for so many generations is beyond any solution multiculturalism has offered so far. Even when pledges are made to increase “diversity” in hiring, black people are often left out of the equation.
One example of the intractability of the problem, and of our continued indifference to it, is the fact that the extensive rebuilding after the riots failed to bring a significant number of blacks into the construction trades. These failings have been difficult to address in an ever-more-conservative political climate that has all but shut down serious discussions of racial inequity and discrimination and left black leaders tongue-tied about what used to be obvious issues. Even the Urban League, an organization founded a century ago to bring blacks into the workforce, often downplays that idea in deference to the multicultural mandate of serving all.
I’m for lifting all boats. But that can’t happen if some of the boats that are underwater don’t get the attention and resources they need to get back to the surface. Even in these bad times, there are still opportunities, but they must be accessible to those who need them most and have needed them for a long time. None of us — black, white or any other color — can afford to still be having this conversation 20 years from now.
Disparity in infant mortality rates in Milwaukee widens
By Crocker Stephenson and Karen Herzog of the Journal Sentinel
April 24, 2012
Milwaukee’s infant mortality rate dropped to a historic low in 2011. But the rate at which black babies died during their first year of life ticked upward, to nearly three times the rate of white babies.
“We’re pleased with the overall numbers,” Mayor Tom Barrett said Tuesday. “But we have to put more emphasis on the African-American rate.”
In November, Barrett and Commissioner of Health Bevan Baker set a goal to reduce Milwaukee’s black infant mortality rate by 15% and the city’s overall rate by 10% by 2017.
“We are on track to meet those goals,” said Geoff Swain, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and chief medical officer for the Milwaukee Health Department.
The overall infant mortality rate for 2011, measured as a three-year rolling average, was 10.2 deaths for every 1,000 live births, according to preliminary data compiled by the Milwaukee Health Department.
The 2010 rate was 10.4 and the 2009 rate was 10.5.
The white infant mortality rate was 5.0, down from 5.2 in 2010 and 5.6 in 2009.
The black rate for 2011 is nearly three times the white rate: 14.5. The black rate, which fell from 18.1 in 2006, has begun to creep up slightly. It was 14.4 in 2010 and 14.3 in 2009.
The Hispanic rate, after increasing from a historic low of 6.3 in 2006, dipped from 8.5 in 2010 to 8.0 in 2011.
On a national level, the most recent three-year rolling average is for 2007. The overall infant mortality rate was 6.8. It was 14.4 for black infants, 5.7 for white, and 5.5 for Hispanic infants, according to a report by the March of Dimes.
In its series of stories called “Empty Cradles” about infant mortality in Milwaukee, the Journal Sentinel found that the disparity between Milwaukee’s black and white infant mortality rates was among the worst in the nation.
It found that the infant mortality rate in some Milwaukee neighborhoods is comparable with Third World nations.
Barrett, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to face Gov. Scott Walker in a gubernatorial recall election, called this “an embarrassment to our city, to our county and to our state” and said he would make child health and well-being a statewide priority.
According to the health department’s preliminary numbers, 10,178 babies were born and 100 infants died in Milwaukee in 2011.
While the city has not yet analyzed the cause of the these deaths, historically, slightly more than half of Milwaukee’s infant deaths are associated with premature birth, about 19% with unsafe sleep and about 18% with mostly nonpreventable congenital abnormalities.
The Journal Sentinel series sought out reasons for the disparity between black and white infant mortality.
It found that the disparity could not be fully explained by social and economic differences. A married, college-educated African-American woman, for example, faces worse odds for prematurity, low birth weight and infant mortality than a white, unmarried woman who dropped out of high school.
Researchers have increasingly focused on the social determinants of healthy pregnancies, and social scientists have identified an array of factors that raise a pregnant woman’s risk of having a poor birth outcome, including poverty, an unhealthy environment and racism.
At a community meeting Tuesday at the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families Collaborative announced a community action plan designed to reduce black infant mortality.
Launched in 2009 by the Wisconsin Partnership Program of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, the collaborative announced three goals:
The city plans to team up with the collaborative. In June, the city will play host to its third infant mortality summit, titled “Changing the Determinants of Health.”
The city also will continue its safe sleep campaign with a new round of advertisements, expected to be launched soon. The new ads demonstrate the safest way for infants to sleep: alone, on their backs, in their own cribs.
The city also has stepped up direct services to the community, Barrett said, through such programs as the Nurse Family Partnership, an intensive home visiting program for low-income first-time pregnant women in four of the city’s most troubled ZIP codes.
Tennessee’s deadbeat dads: The three men who have fathered 78 children with 46 different women… and they’re not paying child support to any of them
Camera shy: Richard A. Colbert, who would not allow his picture to be taken, said he does not have to pay for his 25 children by 18 different women as they are all adults
Struggle: The most Shields has ever received from Turnage, who now has 23 children, is $9
New York Jets star fathers TEN children with EIGHT different women…just one more and he’ll be able to field his own football team
Wow! He’s really living up to some stereotypes unfortunately.
- Trev, Toronto, 18/4/2012 02:44
Why yes and he called Tom Brady an A**hole………………
- rad666, Boston, Mass, 17/4/2012 22:20
Clearly what bothers me are all these negative posts. Regardless what you think there are other athletes way worst than this that HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEIR CHILDREN who are spawned out of wedlock and one night stands. He is claiming his kids and being responsible for them. All the finger pointing makes a person sick as if all these posters have the right to judge anyone. The one thing that cracks me up is none of you people have no idea who this person is save for this bit snapshot write up. Get on with your life and stop worrying about others!
- BladeD runner, San Jose, CA USA, 17/4/2012 22:17
you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car, you even need a license to catch a fish. But anyone can have a child. It’s disturbing to say the least ! At least he’s paying child support which a lot of deadbeat dad’s don’t do. He’s still a loser though, and the women he slept with are clueless !
- Jay, Lincoln, NE, 17/4/2012 22:03
Delusional man. Stupid, stupid women.
- Rocky, Texas, 17/4/2012 21:19
I always feel sad when people leave a trail of babies as a by-product of their sex lives. Babies should be planned for and truly wanted, not just allowed to happen out of selfishness and carelessness.
- lolo, Portland OR, 17/4/2012 21:07
A terrible role model for young people everywhere. Especially impressionable boys who think sports heroes are to be idolized. Just disgusting!!!!
- Quinlan, Birmingham, USA, 17/4/2012 19:19
That’s a whole lot of unprotected sex going on with a whole lot of people. Gross. He’s an idiot but these women are fools. I feel bad for them and the children.
- Who?, Where?, 17/4/2012 17:24
D.C. court program teaches absent fathers how to be good dad
By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 7, 2011; 8:53 PM
Where are the fathers?
I get that question every time I write about women and children in peril.
I write about the broken families of homeless women, their daughters and the grandbabies sleeping in cars, on the streets and trying to get into shelters in alarming numbers throughout our region.
And the readers ask: “Where are the fathers?”
I write about women who are working hard at good jobs, then racing to their day-care centers to pick up their kids – all of them single, all of them praying that the government doesn’t go through with a threat to cut the child-care subsidy that keeps it all together.
Where are the fathers?
“Your article really upset me. Where are the daddies here? When I was a young man, I worked two jobs to support the children. It was hard but I did it. As a man, you have to face your responsibilities,” boomed Clarence Lowe, 69, when he left a message on my voice mail.
When I called to talk to Lowe, a Capitol Heights locksmith, he went on further.
“Men today have to step up to the plate and be a daddy. No matter how hard it is, there’s a way to do it,” said Lowe, who has seen the devastation of broken families firsthand as the foster parent to nearly two dozen children. “We, the citizens, shouldn’t bear that burden of raising your children. But we do. Now do your part.”
It’s a troubling, complex and painful cycle that keeps playing itself out in America’s struggling families and especially in African American communities. A Brookings Institution report on lays out the scope of the problem: 70 percent of black children in the United States are born to unwed parents; more than half of unwed mothers don’t have high school degrees; and as for the fathers, black men are incarcerated at an exponentially higher rate – one in 12 – compared with their working-age white counterparts – one in 87.
Twenty-five years ago, one in 125 American children had a parent in jail. Today, it is one in 28, according to a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trust on the economics of incarceration.
Before his drug life caught up with him and he changed his ways, Christian Carter was one of those missing dads.
“I didn’t really have any relationship with my son,” he told me.
Carter’s was a familiar scene – fast life, drug dealing, a kid he’d see when he had enough cash to drop off a flashy toy; then he was off with his friends. It all came crashing with 15 months in lockup.
That’s where the same-old part of it ended.
When Carter was being sentenced by D.C. Superior Court Judge Milton C. Lee Jr. for his drug-dealing conviction, he was diverted to a special program to teach him how to be a parent.
In Fathering Court, lawyers, counselors, case workers and other mentors met with the men for a year. They helped them get jobs despite their criminal records, encouraged them, advised them and congratulated them.
The three-year-old pilot program, funded by a grant from the Department of Justice, has helped about 50 men so far. It has been so successful that it received a Bright Idea award from Harvard University last fall and will be the blueprint for a national program planned by the Justice Department. Only one graduate has been rearrested since the program’s debut
“Judge Lee saw something in me. And it’s all different now,” said Carter, one of eight men who graduated from the program in January.
“Now that I’m really in his life, I know it’s not as simple as picking up a football and playing with him. I have to learn everything about him, and he teaches me how to deal,” Carter explains to me. His 8-year-old son is autistic.
“Now, when he sees me, he lights up and hugs me. It took me a while to realize how big that is.”
Carter and other fathers who may have gone back to to the streets after being turned down for job after job now know what time their kids go to school, when their games are, what days off they need for the school concert, what their kids like on their sandwiches and what it means to really take care of another human.
The judge said one dad who has sole custody of his child told him: “I can’t get in trouble anymore because if I’m not at work, I’m with him. That’s the only two places you’ll find me.”
Carter has been working at Linens of the Week, making his child-support payments and reading everything he can about autism and how it affects his son.
“I’m trying to be a better person,” he told me. And he confessed it’s not always easy. The ghosts from his old life? Those dudes aren’t really into talking about the autistic spectrum and gluten-free diets or his son’s Independent Education Plan.
“Yeah, I can see that I’m not really, you know, relating to my old friends anymore,” he told me.
Where are the fathers?
At a jubilant ceremony at D.C. Superior Court, there were eight of them in graduation gowns, looking out at their families and shaking the hands of the judges who had put them in jail. And standing right there beside them were their kids.
Man who had 30 kids with 11 women wants child-support break
Desmond Hatchett of Knoxville, Tenn., has 30 children with 11 women, according to officials and media reports. (WREG / May 18, 2012)
By Rene Lynch
May 18, 2012, 1:30 p.m.
[For the record, 1:10 p.m. June 1: A report in the Knoxville News-Sentinel has found that some details in this post are incorrect. Hatchett has 24 children, not 30. And he was not in court in May to ask for a reduction in child-support payments; he has not been in court since 2009, a Tennessee judge told the News-Sentinel.]
You have to say this much for Desmond Hatchett: He has a way with the ladies.
The 33-year-old Knoxville, Tenn., resident has reportedly set a Knox County record for his ability to reproduce. He has 30 children with 11 women. And nine of those children were born in the last three years, after Hatchett — who is something of a local celebrity – vowed “I’m done!” in a 2009 TV interview, saying he wouldn’t father more children.
But Hatchett is back in the news this week because he’s struggling to make ends meet on his minimum-wage job. His inability to make child-support payments on such a meager salary also means he’s back in court again and again, most recently to ask for a break on those payments.
“Yes, we’ve got several cases with Mr. Hatchett,” Melissa Gibson, an assistant supervisor with the Knox County child support clerk’s office, said with a sigh.
Hatchett’s attorney, Keith Pope, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Under the law, there’s nothing officials can do to force Hatchett to keep his pants on.
“If there’s something out there like that, I’m unaware of it,” Gibson told The Times, before adding, “It definitely needs to be.”
Gibson said Hatchett is believed to hold the Knox County record for most children. (He’d hold a similar record in most counties in the U.S., which might explain why news of his predicament was pinging around the Internet on Friday.)
Gibson said she couldn’t say whether any of his children receive public assistance. The youngest is a toddler; the oldest is 14. Asked in a TV interview whether he can “keep up with it all,” Hatchett said he knows all their names, ages and birthdates.
Also in a TV interview, Hatchett tried to explain — in a PG-rated way — how he managed to end up with so many kids: “I had four kids in the same year. Twice.”
When Hatchett is working, he is required to turn over 50% of his wages for child support — the maximum allowed under law. Child support payments are based in part on the ages and needs of the children.
Some of the mothers of Hatchett’s children get only $1.49 a month, reported WREG in Memphis.
Humiliation: Kevin Burks made his 12-year-old son Kenny carry this sign up and down a street all day Monday after the boy broke his curfew over the weekend
Award-winning author dishes out tough love to 12-year-old daughter for posting photos with alcohol
By EMILY ANNE EPSTEIN
PUBLISHED: 12:25 EST, 20 May 2012 | UPDATED: 16:11 EST, 25 May 2012
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, the highly-successful author of 25 books, is in the spotlight – not for her prose, but her parenting style.
After seeing her daughter, 12, share a photo of herself holding a bottle of vodka Mrs Billingsley sprung into action, forcing her daughter to pen a public apology for her actions and upload it to Instagram.
‘The majority of it has actually been positive,’ Mrs Billingsley said to Fox.
‘There were some, however, who told me I was scarring my child for life, who said they couldn’t believe I was [resorting to] public humiliation.’
Mrs Billingsley said that she had discussed the use of social media extensively with her daughter and was shocked to find the girl abusing the privilege.
‘We talked extensively about proper etiquette in the cyber world,’ Mrs Billingsley wrote on the website My Brown Baby.
‘So imagine my surprise when I see my bright, intelligent child smiling as she held up a bottle of Vodka with the caption “Wish I could drink this Vodka”.’
She asked her daughter why she had chosen to post such a salacious image of herself and her daughter insisted she had done nothing wrong because she ‘wasn’t drinking, just posing.’
At first, Mrs Billingsley thought about taking the girl’s phone away as punishment, but she said that traditional punishment was no longer sufficient.
She forced her daughter to hold up a sign that said:’Since I want to post photos of me holding liquor, I am obviously not ready for social media and will be taking a hiatus until I learn what I should + should not post. BYE-BYE .’
The idea of publicly humiliating children for their transgressions is nothing new, but Mrs Billingsley never imagined her spin would acquire such an audience.
‘I never expected that photo or my choice of discipline to go viral,’ she said, but refused to back down to her critics.
The mother of three said that she wants to be their ‘mama, not their friend’ and will do everything she can to make sure they grow up to be productive members of society.
‘When it comes to my kids, I don’t play. This is a new age. We have to meet kids where they are,’ she said.
‘I’d rather you talk about me now than talk about my child later.’
Peculiar Parenting? Within hours, the photo had more than 10,000 shares and Mrs Billingsley had to answer for her actions too
McDonough urges ‘no-travel zone’ at Inner Harbor
Violence by young blacks covered up
Wednesday May 16, 2012 5:37 AM
When two white newspaper reporters for the Virginian-Pilot were driving through Norfolk, and were set upon and beaten by a mob of young blacks — beaten so badly that they had to take a week off from work — that might seem to have been news that should have been reported, at least by their own newspaper. But it wasn’t.
The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel was the first major television program to report this incident. Yet this story is not just a Norfolk story, either in what happened or in how the media and the authorities have tried to sweep it under the rug.
Similar episodes of unprovoked violence by young black gangs against white people chosen at random on beaches, in shopping malls or in other places have occurred in Philadelphia, New York, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, Los Angeles and other places across the country. Both the authorities and the media tend to try to sweep these episodes under the rug, as well.
In Milwaukee, for example, an attack on whites at a park a few years ago left many victims battered to the ground and bloody. But, when the police arrived, it became clear that the authorities wanted to keep this quiet.
One 22-year-old woman, who had been robbed of her cell phone and debit card, and had blood streaming down her face said: “About 20 of us stayed to give statements and make sure everyone was accounted for. The police wouldn’t listen to us, they wouldn’t take our names or statements. They told us to leave. It was completely infuriating.”
The police chief seemed determined to head off any suggestion that this was a racially motivated attack, by saying that crime is colorblind. Other officials elsewhere have said similar things.
A wave of such attacks in Chicago was reported, but not the race of the attackers or victims. Media outlets that do not report the race of people committing crimes nevertheless report racial disparities in imprisonment and write heated editorials blaming the criminal-justice system.
What the authorities and the media seem determined to suppress is that hoodlums in many ghettoes launch coordinated attacks on whites in public places. If there is anything worse than a one-sided race war, it is a two-sided race war, especially when one of the races outnumbers the other several times over.
It may be understandable that some people want to head off such a catastrophe, either by not reporting the attacks in this race war, or not identifying the race of those attacking, or by insisting that the attacks were not racially motivated — even when the attackers themselves voice anti-white invective as they laugh at their bleeding victims.
Trying to keep the lid on is understandable. But a lot of pressure can build up under that lid. If and when that pressure leads to an explosion of white backlash, things could be a lot worse than if the truth had come out earlier, and steps taken by both black and white leaders to deal with the hoodlums and with those who inflame them.
Some of those who cover up such attacks may think they are doing a favor to blacks. But it is no favor to anyone who lags behind to turn his energies from the task of improving and advancing himself to the task of lashing out at others.
These others extend beyond whites. Asian-American children in New York and Philadelphia have for years been beaten up by black classmates. But people in the media who go ballistic if some kid says something unkind on the Internet about a homosexual classmate nevertheless hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil when Asian-American kids are beaten up by black classmates.
Those who automatically say that the social pathology of the ghetto is due to poverty, discrimination and the like cannot explain why such pathology was far less prevalent in the 1950s, when poverty and discrimination were worse. But there were not nearly as many grievance-mongers and race-hustlers then.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace in Stanford, Calif.
A beating at Church and Brambleton
© May 1, 2012
Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim.
The victim’s friend, a young woman, tried to pull him back into his car. Attackers came after her, pulling her hair, punching her head and causing a bloody scratch to the surface of her eye. She called 911. A recording told her all lines were busy. She called again. Busy. On her third try, she got through and, hysterical, could scream only their location.
Church and Brambleton. Church and Brambleton. Church and Brambleton.
It happened four blocks from where they work, here at The Virginian-Pilot.
Two weeks have passed since reporters Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami – friends to me and many others at the newspaper – were attacked on a Saturday night as they drove home from a show at the Attucks Theatre. They had stopped at a red light, in a crowd of at least 100 young people walking on the sidewalk. Rostami locked her car door. Someone threw a rock at her window. Forster got out to confront the rock-thrower, and that’s when the beating began.
Neither suffered grave injuries, but both were out of work for a week. Forster’s torso ached from blows to his ribs, and he retained a thumb-sized bump on his head. Rostami fears to be alone in her home. Forster wishes he’d stayed in the car.
Many stories that begin this way end much worse. Another colleague recently wrote about the final defendant to be sentenced in the beating death of 19-year-old James Robertson in East Ocean View five years ago. In that case, a swarm of gang members attacked Robertson and two friends. Robertson’s friends got away and called for help; police arrived to find Robertson’s stripped, swollen corpse.
Forster and Rostami’s story has not, until today, appeared in this paper. The responding officer coded the incident as a simple assault, despite their assertions that at least 30 people had participated in the attack. A reporter making routine checks of police reports would see “simple assault” and, if the names were unfamiliar, would be unlikely to write about it. In this case, editors hesitated to assign a story about their own employees. Would it seem like the paper treated its employees differently from other crime victims?
More questions loomed.
Forster and Rostami wondered if the officer who answered their call treated all crime victims the same way. When Rostami, who admits she was hysterical, tried to describe what had happened, she says the officer told her to shut up and get in the car. Both said the officer did not record any names of witnesses who stopped to help. Rostami said the officer told them the attackers were “probably juveniles anyway. What are we going to do? Find their parents and tell them?”
The officer pointed to public housing in the area and said large groups of teenagers look for trouble on the weekends. “It’s what they do,” he told Forster.
Could that be true? Could violent mobs of teens be so commonplace in Norfolk that police and victims have no recourse?
Police spokesman Chris Amos said officers often respond to reports of crowds fighting; sirens are usually enough to disperse the group. On that night, he said, a report of gunfire in a nearby neighborhood prompted the officer to decide getting Forster and Rostami off the street quickly made more sense than remaining at the intersection. The officer gave them his card and told them to call later to file a report.
The next day, Forster searched Twitter for mention of the attack.
One post chilled him.
“I feel for the white man who got beat up at the light,” wrote one person.
“I don’t,” wrote another, indicating laughter. “(do it for trayvon martin)”
Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen, died after being shot by a community watch captain with white and Hispanic parents, George Zimmerman, in Florida.
Forster and Rostami, both white, suffered a beating at the hands of a crowd of black teenagers.
Was either case racially motivated? Were Forster and Rostami beaten in some kind of warped, vigilante retribution for a killing 750 miles away, a person none of them knew? Was it just bombast? Is a beating funny, ever?
Here’s why their story is in the paper today. We cannot allow such callousness to continue unremarked, from the irrational, senseless teenagers who attacked two people just trying to go home, from the police officer whose conduct may have been typical but certainly seems cold, from the tweeting nitwits who think beating a man in Norfolk will change the death of Trayvon Martin.
How can we change it if we don’t know about it? How can we make it better if we look away?
Are we really no better than this?
Report calls attention to achievement gap between black and white male students
By Nick Anderson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 9, 2010; 10:57 AM
Black male students trail their white counterparts in school by alarming margins and for reasons that often are not well understood, according to a report released Tuesday.
The report from the Council of the Great City Schools, an advocacy organization for urban education, suggests that poverty is not the only factor behind the black-white achievement gap.
Federal test data show that white male students nationwide who come from families poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunches outperform black males from large cities whose families are better off economically, according to the report.
The report analyzed fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math results from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress.
“We hope that this is a louder and more jolting wake-up call to the nation than this country is used to hearing,” Michael Casserly, the council’s executive director, wrote in the report. “The fact that previous calls have fallen on so many deaf ears is not encouraging, but we are convinced that we must ring the alarms one more time and play a larger role in setting this situation right.”
In some ways, the report underscored signs of progress. The fourth-grade gap in reading, for example, has narrowed in recent years. In 2003, black males from large cities trailed white males in that subject by 35 points on a 500-point scale. By 2009, the gap was down to 28 points.
But such gains are too slow, the report contends, with gaps remaining in the range of 30 points for other test results analyzed in fourth and eighth grades.
Meanwhile, academic performance on other measures for black males continues to lag. They drop out of high school at nearly twice the rate of white males (9 percent in 2008, compared with 5 percent). Black males also are far less likely than white males to meet college readiness benchmarks or enroll in college.
The report calls for the White House, Congress and colleges to take steps to lift black male student performance. It also suggests more mentoring and school counseling initiatives to help such students succeed.
Jailed: Jordan Quailey will serve at least 16 years for the killing
Mother-of-six stabbed to death with kitchen knife by ‘cowardly and violent’ partner in house where her children were playing
‘Wonderful mother’: Christine Peters was looking after eight children when she was murdered by her partner
Home invasion horror as woman, 62, recovering from facelift is ‘raped and murdered in bed by married intruder, 32, who liked unconventional sex’
Accused: The lawyers of Jason Williford, 32, admit that he did rape and murder Kathy Taft but claim that he is mentally ill and cannot be held accountable for those crimes
Jason Williford, a 32-year-old married man, is accused of breaking into a North Carolina home and raping 62-year-old Kathy Taft (pictured) who he found inside before killing her
African Americans in MLB: 8%, lowest since integration era
Attorney claims judge and two lawyers LOOTED more than $500,000 from estate of civil rights icon Rosa Parks
Accused: Lawyer Stephen G. Cohen has claimed that Judge Freddie Burton Jr (pictured) enabled two probate attorneys to drain Rosa Parks’ estate of $507,000
New Black Panther leader King Samir Shabazz advocates violence against whites
NEW BLACK PANTHER DECLARES: WE WILL HUNT ‘PINK A**ES’ DOWN, ‘KILL ’EM, DIG ‘EM UP & KILL ‘EM AGAIN & AGAIN & AGAIN!’
07:37 AM on 10/25/2012
But when the rolls were reversed and we were being dragged from our homes in the south murdered and our homes destroyed and families left with nothing, no one cared, not even the police. So now the rolls are reversed and you can’t understand why black folks have so much anger and venom toward the white power structure, in your eyes this is ancient history and we should get over it, well tell that to the Jews who live by the credo “never again”, when discussing how long one should hold onto their memories of past wrongs.
Woman Calls 911, Asks Police For Help Getting Refund From Her Drug Dealer