African Americans

50 Years Later, Civil Rights Leaders Face Daunting Challenges

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

A Pew study specifically released to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations graphically made the point that the economic and social gaps between whites and African-Americans have widened over the last few decades despite massive spending by federal and state governments, state and federal civil rights laws, and two decades of affirmative action programs. The racial polarization has been endemic between blacks and whites on everything from the George Zimmerman trial to just about every other controversial case that involves black and white perceptions of the workings of the criminal justice system.

Obama, Trayvon and the Perpetual Racial Divide

Aura Bogado

During his surprise remarks about the George Zimmerman verdict Friday, President Obama talked at length not only about race, but also about his experience as a black man in America. Obama’s comments remain as conflicted as they were sometimes brave—evidenced by some of the suspicion and vitriol lodged against him in mainstream, independent and social media following the press conference. The short speech stands out as one of the few times that the president has talked explicitly about race and the problem of racism. 

How the Zimmerman Jury Failed Us

Lawrence D. Bobo

A jury in Florida failed us. We have not seen a moral failure this grave since a similarly all-white jury in Simi Valley, Calif., in 1992 acquitted the four LAPD officers who beat Rodney King. Writing in the same year as that ill-fated verdict, the distinguished civil rights lawyer Derrick Bell declared that "racism is an integral, permanent and indestructible component of this society." In most circumstances, I treat this declaration as a foil: a claim to be slowly picked apart as, at best, too easy and, at worst, deeply unfair and wrong. Not today.

An African-American Writer Searches Her Family Roots in India

Sandip Roy

In 1896, almost a century before Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala caused a stir by daring to show a romance between a black man and an Indian woman in the American South, a Muslim Bengali peddler from Hooghly married a black Catholic woman from New Orleans and settled down in that city. There’s no record of how they met or what the neighbors made of them. Shaik Mohammad Musa died in 1919, a few months before his son was born. His widow Tinnie raised their three children as black and Catholic. Their Indian heritage was lost in history.

How a Hillary Clinton Presidency Would Differ From Obama’s

Keli Goff

Current member of the House Paul Ryan offered this theory regarding the current economic battles facing our country: "Look, if we had a [Hillary] Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles as chief of staff of the White House or president of the United States, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now," Ryan said. "[But] that's not the kind of presidency we're dealing with right now." Both pronouncements raise questions that have been pondered by some political watchers since the conclusion of the 2008 presidential election: Would African Americans have fared better under a Hillary Clinton presidency than under Obama (and will they if she runs and wins in 2016)?

New iPhone App Supports African American-owned Businesses

Frederick H. Lowe

Around The Way, a New York-based company, and Clearly Innovative, a Washington, D.C.-based mobile-app development firm, have launched a mobile app that backers claim will empower and support black-owned businesses." Other ethnic groups have been supporting their own businesses literally for thousands of years," said Eric Hamilton, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Around The Way. "Around The Way is our attempt at doing what other ethnic and racial groups have been doing for a long time."

African-American Catholics Face Dilemma: Whether to Vote for Obama

Angela Dodson

Black Catholics confront a moral dilemma in the upcoming presidential election: vote with their church or vote with the party that they have long preferred to keep the first African-American president in office four more years. While African-American Catholics are relatively few in number, they may represent enough of the black vote to make a difference in the outcome if they choose to bestow or withhold their support.

Longevity Gap Between the 'Two Americas' Links to Education

Paul Kleyman

The longevity gap between “two Americas” has widened since 1990, says a new study. One America is mostly white and well educated, and the other is ethnic or undereducated  and dying about a decade sooner than their more affluent counterparts. The gap between college-educated whites and African Americans who did not complete high school is “simply unbelievable,” stated S. Jay Olshansky, lead author of the extensive new analysis published in the August issue of the prestigious health policy journal Health Affairs

Racism, Hate Crimes on Social-Networking Sites Target Obama, Minorities

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

The legion of websites, bloggers, talk show jocks, and the occasional GOP official that has teed off on President Obama and at times Michelle Obama with assorted borderline racist digs, taunts, and depictions have been relentless. The offensive remarks quickly evoke a storm of outrage, and the offender gets rebuked. This happens because they are public figures, and their comments are publicly aired. They fly high on the public’s radar scope. 

The African-American Vote Is Crucial to Obama’s Re-election Bid

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

From New America Media: That Black voters will again give President Obama a sky-high percentage of their vote in 2012 was never in doubt. What is in doubt is how many will make up that percentage. If Black voters had not turned the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries into a virtual holy crusade for Obama, and if Obama had not, openly in the South Carolina primary and subtly in primaries thereafter, stoked the Black vote, he could easily have been just another failed Democratic presidential candidate. 

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