Insight News

Feb 06th


South Africa in the spotlight

South Africa's wealth gap is widening and the average Black citizen still only earns an eighth of what his White counterpart does; this nearly 14 years after the end of apartheid.

The people who marched in the 1980s anti-apartheid demonstrations should note what an Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) researcher says about the disparity they marched to eliminate.  “We are not succeeding in reducing inequality," says senior researcher Jan Hofmeyr.  The institute shows that the per capita income of Black South Africans is just 13 percent of that of Whites.  The issue is political.  African National Congress (ANC) leader Jacob Zuma made the disparity between rich and poor the theme of his successful campaign to oust Thabo Mbeki from the head of the ruling party and office of president.

To Be Equal

Jobs crisis continues

(NNPA) - The recent slight uptick in job creation has prompted some to declare that the great recession is over.  But a look beneath the surface of the numbers tells a more ominous story.  It's true -- the Labor Department's employment report for the month of May showed a gain of 431,000 jobs and an overall unemployment rate of 9.7 percent - down slightly from April's rate of 9.9 percent. But before breaking out the champagne we should consider that 411,000 of the newly employed are temporary Census workers and that 15 million Americans are still looking for work.

Stop the war on Black men

If you’ve given “an Abe” for cannabis, cocaine or meth, then you are one too.  Those 5 bucks joined a stream of money fostering the world’s illegal drug trade; the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances subject to drug prohibition laws are estimated to be a $40 trillion market.

Consumption of illegal drugs is widespread globally.  But, the single largest marketplace for illegal drugs is the United States.  Close to 13 million Americans still think nothing of occasionally buying a gram of cocaine, a few hits of ecstasy or a quarter-ounce of weed to have a good time.  Americans with serious drug habits regularly spend $100-$500 dollars a week purchasing their drug of preference.

Dads and coaching

I am an assistant coach on my middle son’s youth football team. Football practice begins in August and I have spent the last two weeks reading up on defensive alignments, surfing coaching websites, and sending e-mail to some of the high school coaches in the area begging for coaching tips.  If I watch one more video of conditioning exercises for defensive linemen my head is going to explode.  I have begun dreaming in “X’s” and “O’s.”  

Of course, that is what I say today.  Tomorrow, I will get up and begin the routine all over again.  Why?  Well, I guess it’s because I have grown to love coaching.  Unless one loves it, there is really no other reason to be a youth coach. 

Police on police fire

For years, there have been news reports about and protests against racially charged police violence against citizens. Racial bias – conscious and unconscious – also seems to play a role in police on police shootings. According to a recent study, 26 police officers over the past 30 years were mistaken for criminals and killed by their colleagues; the officers killed were almost always Black or Latino and male. 

Indeed, it is difficult for an officer, full of adrenaline, to distinguish who the criminals are at a crime scene. To be fair, many of the officers killed were either off duty or working in plain clothes. They would happen upon a crime and offer their assistance. The officers called to the scene, unsure of who was a good guy and who was a bad guy would go on to mistakenly shoot one of their own. In 24 of the 26 cases, the officer killed was holding his weapon.

The error of Rand Paul

Two weeks ago, Dr. Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist and the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Kentucky, appeared on the Rachel Maddow show to clarify statements he had made, which seemed to suggest that he would have opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  For 20 minutes Paul and Maddow engaged in a less-than-graceful pas de deux on the theme of discrimination and private property rights. 

Maddow asked Paul whether he believed private business people had the right to discriminate against Black people, or any other minority group.  Paul responded that once you allow the government to dictate how citizens can use their private property, it ceases to be private.  Maddow pressed the issue, asking if the government had the right to force Woolworth’s to serve Black customers at its lunch counter.  Rather than say, “Yes,” Paul responded with an argument about the second amendment.

Letter to the editor:

I really enjoyed reading your recent issue (May 24 - May 30, 2010), especially the article by educator Mahmoud El-Kati on Haiti, and "Forget the wet hair..." article. Wish you would do more on the Black community learning to swim and saving their children's lives. Especially in the land of lakes and fishing more of us should know how to swim. Swimming is not just for suburban kids, nor should stay in movies like PRIDE with Terrence Howard!

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