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June 30th, 2014
thesmithian

'He hit the black diners, barbeques and churches. The gentleman’s message: You know me. I bring home the bacon and will look out for your interests. The harsh, anti-government tea party will excoriate and eschew your causes. And the Democratic nominee can’t win a general election in a conservative, GOP-dominated state like Mississippi. They listened. Tuesday’s runoff posted a record African-American turnout in a Mississippi GOP primary. They didn’t stay home. They did not fall for the knee-jerk mantra, vote Democrat, Democrat, Democrat. Instead, African-American voters stepped up in their best interest. It was a sophisticated and strategic statement.'

more.

April 28th, 2014
thesmithian
…the University of California still struggles to build an undergraduate student body that fully reflects the diversity of the state. Across the university, the percentages of African Americans and Native Americans enrolled in 2012 remained lower than the corresponding percentages in 1995. The percentage of Latino students has increased but not enough to keep pace with the explosive growth of Latino high school graduates.The problem is most severe in our graduate schools, which educate the professionals who will serve California’s increasingly diverse population in the decades to come. At times, the entering classes at some of our medical schools have not had a single African American student…
April 26th, 2014
thesmithian
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Michigan’s voter-approved ban on affirmative action in admissions to the state’s public universities reinforces an ugly reality: that most Americans support affirmative action only when it is for whites and no one else. Nearly every time American rhetoric privileges states’ rights, it leaves marginalized groups open to even bolder discrimination than they already encounter. Michigan is simply reminding us that the South has never been the only place where Americans believe that whites are the only ones who should enjoy equal protection.
April 25th, 2014
thesmithian

(It reminds one of the Confederates who went on about how slavery was a matter of states’ rights while insisting on a Fugitive Slave Act, which would put federal resources at the disposal of slave catchers, even in the streets of New York or Philadelphia.)

more.

April 25th, 2014
thesmithian
When I tell people that my upbringing in Tucson was rarely marred by anti-black racism, many don’t believe me. How could a city so white, in a state that makes headlines monthly for its extreme conservatism, not also be an inhospitable place for black families? I attribute this not to the fact that Tucson was ever a haven of equality, of course, but to the fact that racism is about power arrangements, and the lack of black residents made it clear that we were not a threat to the city’s status quo. Instead, it seemed as if most of the white people with whom I interacted reserved their racial animosity for Tucson’s large population of Latinos, like when a high school teacher I had always respected allegedly told a friend that his job as a restaurant dishwasher was one better suited for “wetbacks.”
Cord Jefferson, at Tuscon Weekly
April 19th, 2014
thesmithian

Mayors are now pairing with moms. Together they’ll crib directly from the playbook of the NRA. They’ll focus on statehouses if Congress won’t listen. And under a new umbrella group, “Everytown for Gun Safety” — backed by $50 million of [former NYC Mayor Michael] Bloomberg’s own money — they’re aiming to create the elusive political counterweight to the NRA.

more.

April 1st, 2014
thesmithian
March 18th, 2014
thesmithian

[the California drought is] so bad…the state’s being forced to take extreme measures…For instance, sticking millions of young salmon on trucks and driving them to the ocean.

more. and more.

[the California drought is] so bad…the state’s being forced to take extreme measures…For instance, sticking millions of young salmon on trucks and driving them to the ocean.

more. and more.

March 1st, 2014
thesmithian

'…if a restaurant decided they wanted to throw out a gay couple, that couple should…just go somewhere else. It isn't the government's role to protect the civil rights of people. If a business owner's God didn't like black people, for example, he could simply throw them out and put up a sign saying “no blacks allowed for religious reasons”…If a Muslim business owner didn't want to serve Jewish people, just go somewhere else, Jews. I presume [the writer] would appreciate some sort of app or website that kept a catalog of which businesses do business with which groups of people. That's the sort of society he wants to live in. Which was exactly how things were before the Civil Rights Act…'

Pretty shocking. But more importantly, why is it that [the writer] seems to think that it is the government’s role to protect the rights of business owners? The government shouldn’t protect a customer’s right to be treated fairly. Instead, that should left up to the market. But a business owner’s right to treat people unfairly, why that should be protected by government statute!

more.

February 23rd, 2014
thesmithian

[the study]…found that in…CA, Georgia, Oklahoma and TX—people of color are represented in private prisons at least 10 percentage points greater than in state-run facilities…

Because jailing individuals is a public cost, it is no surprise that U.S. and state governments have chosen to outsource in response to prison overcrowding. But this study brings up another point. Cutting costs and generating revenue at the expense of people of color is a tradition deeply woven in the fabric of American history.

more.

February 23rd, 2014
thesmithian

as more states…have placed a moratorium on or abolished capital punishment, Georgia has clung to the practice despite its brutality and inequities in how it’s doled out.

January 16th, 2014
thesmithian

'…Garcia had to pass up the opportunity because she was brought here by her parents from Chihuahua, Mexico, on a tourist visa and never went home. As an undocumented immigrant, she never got a Social Security number. So when a recruiter approached her a second time in her junior year, she had to turn down the internship once more.'

more.

January 9th, 2014
thesmithian

…the subject of race relations in Charlottesville came up. Some people thought the problem really didn’t exist, or if it did, that it was an unfortunate holdover from a past that we had already moved past. Other people…think the city stands at a moral crossroads.

more.

…the subject of race relations in Charlottesville came up. Some people thought the problem really didn’t exist, or if it did, that it was an unfortunate holdover from a past that we had already moved past. Other people…think the city stands at a moral crossroads.

more.

January 5th, 2014
thesmithian

…though Georgia is more “new South” than “deep South,” over the last 15 years it has started to show real signs of being a “deep South” state in terms of its racially divided voting habits. It’s not as…stratified as…Mississippi, but the gap is large, and widening.

more.

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art: here.

January 4th, 2014
thesmithian

Four decades before Obama’s ACA, Hawaii enacted its own health-care mandate…the state has poured billions…into rebuilding highways and infrastructure, bringing the unemployment rate down to an enviable 4.4 percent. Gay marriage is legal, immigrants are welcomed, labor unions are strong and—if the governor gets his way this year—universal pre-kindergarten will be the law of the land…there are no tea party stars to bicker with and no Congress to stand in the way. There’s hardly a viable GOP…The Aloha State, with its liberal governor and overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, has succeeded in achieving much of the vision Obama has yet to accomplish on the mainland.

more.

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art: watercolor map by Irina March

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