Friday, January 29, 2010

Self Hate: The Negro Dilemma

Self hate amongst people of color, Blacks in general has been a historic problem throughout the world. In a society where blacks are labeled as less than it is to no surprise why some blacks hate themselves. Black history has been erased out of the books and young blacks tend to be ignorant to the totality of their ancestors, accomplishments. In addition, white supremacy and western standards help demonize afro centric cultures. Some blacks feel that they have no choice but to distance themselves from their black roots if they want a chance to fulfill their dreams in America. Little do they know that there will always be barriers to overcome no matter what their social status may become. Blacks in Spanish speaking countries are quick to denounce their African blood although Blacks are historically oppressed around the globe. Sammy Sosa Is a perfect example of a self hating Latin-Negro who went to the extent to even bleach his skin and perm his hair to appear less Black. Not all people who bleach their skin and perm their hair have self hate issues. However, when a person denounces their true self and tries to be someone that they are not then it is evident that they suffer from self hate. Michael Jackson may have bleached his skin for whatever reasons, but he never denounced who he was. He let it be known that he was a black man and his humanitarian efforts prove that he loved black people. Blacks who suffer from self hate feel that if they distance themselves from their black characteristics then they have a better chance at assimilating to a white supremacist society.

Many Black Immigrants are known for migrating to the United States and feeling as though they are better than American Blacks, but when they go back to their home countries they are treated like dogs and reminded that they are nothing more than a poor Black. It is also imperative that immigrant Blacks be reminded that if it were not for earlier generations of Blacks in America fighting for freedom then they too would not have a opportunity to create a life for themselves in America. Instead of looking down upon American Blacks, Immigrant Blacks must respect and understand American Blacks struggles and achievements. Self hate plays a major role in this cultural divide because some Immigrant Blacks like American Blacks are indoctrinated to believe that being black is something to regret. I have a friend who claims to be mixed but in all actuality he is really just ashamed of being Black. This behavior was placed upon him by his family, and he was taught at an early age to distance himself from anything that may be "too" black. This behavior is typical of a white racist from the south but nowadays there are blacks who hate fellow blacks just as much as a clan member would. Light Skin and dark skin is another major issue with Blacks. Some blacks feel as though darker skin is unattractive and lighter skin is ideal and acceptable in society. Some Black men may even seek lighter complexion woman just in hopes to lighten their children's skin. Some will even go to the extent of perming their hair to make it appear more curly when their original texture is much more coarse. How many people do you know that denounce their black genes but acknowledge their so called white genes? Although, during slavery, they would most likely, be out on the field picking cotton with the rest of the black slaves.

Self hate is a major issue affecting people of color around the world. One must understand that no matter how far you distance yourself from your roots their will always be a disparity or an injustice to remind you of your status in this world. You can only hide from yourself for so long until you have to accept the totality of yourself. Haiti is a perfect example of Black status in this world. You can be as free as you want to but their will always be a physical or mental embargo holding you back like the embargo's that crushed Haiti’s economy. Blacks must free themselves from mental oppression and embrace their culture's and accomplishments in this world.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Birthday Thoughts

Today is my Birthday another year in this so called post racial country. I was at the department of motor vehicles today and I was amazed at all of the white woman clutching their purses as I walked by them, like I was some sort of menace to society. I was reminded today that no matter how far I come or what success I obtain in this world I will always be nothing more than a Black Man in society's eyes. The media portrays blacks and minority's as inferior and inherently criminal. The blacks who do succeed tend to bow down to western standards and other blacks who refuse to change themselves for society are marginalized. Our voice in this democracy is never heard and we are constantly told to shut up and deal with what ever problems we may face. I am writing this because I am tired of going to a school in the South where my voice and viewpoints are not welcome. I am tired of seeing other blacks keep their mouths shut while injustice and bigotry stare them in their eyes. Today is my birthday I enjoy having the opportunity to live another year on this earth, but I cannot ignore the injustices I face on a daily basis just because today happens to be my birthday. Injustices and racism should be acknowledged on a daily basis and today I was reminded once again that most of society sees me as a menace to society. Oh well, Its my Birthday Happy Birthday Me........

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I read an interesting article in the New York Times today that really aggravated me.I Also read an interesting article in the St. John’s Law Review entitled, "The Disturbing Correlation Between ABA Accreditation Review and Declining African-American Law School Enrollment" by John Nussbaumer. I decided to write a response to both articles. I will post links to both articles at the end of this note. Enjoy!

Law schools continue to deny people of color a chance at enrollment. Since the criminal justice system affects people of color disproportionally, then an adequate amount of minorities should gain acceptance into law schools to pursue degrees, this must be done in order to give miniorities proper representation in the ameircian judiccial system. The American population continues to diversify, yet lawyers and judges continue to remain predominantly white. According to the New York Times from 1993 to 2008, Black and Mexican-American students who have applied for law school have improved their grade point averages and LSAT scores substantially, only to be denied admittance into law school. The LSAT is a standardized test which is used by law schools as a trump card to deny minority students acceptance; however, studies have shown that lawyers with lower LSAT scores tend to become better lawyers than those with higher LSAT scores. A standardized test cannot determine one's success or abilities in their field, but they are continuously being used to deter minorities from gaining admittance into law schools. The reason law schools rely heavily on LSAT scores during admittance is that they are mostly concerned with their rankings in the U.S. News World Report. Therefore, students with lower LSAT scores burden schools with lower rankings so these students are denied admittance to ensure higher rankings. However, these practices create racial disparities that are not being addressed, thus creating law schools that lack in diversity. Maragaret Martin berry, Co-President of the Society of American Law Teachers said it best “If you’re so concerned with rankings, you’re going to lose a whole generation”.

In the United States Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003, the court ruled that race can be taken into account in law school admissions because a diverse student body is needed. Apparently things have gotten worse and the disparate numbers are not being taken into account. I propose that another case needs to be brought to the Supreme Court to address the disparate numbers of Blacks and Mexican-Americans being denied matriculation into law school. When a standardized test leaves a group of people isolated then a policy needs to be implemented to ensure that all people have an equal opportunity to pursue academic success, regardless of how well an individual can perform on a standardized test. Those who are not affected by this disparity like to proclaim that those who do suffer from it are just not qualified, but several studies have proved that minorities who are denied acceptance tend to have higher grade point averages than those who gain acceptance. Although minority LSAT scores have improved in the recent years, the ABA Accreditation Committee continues to raise the 25th percentile LSAT scores. As a result, a huge decline in minority enrollment has resulted from these practices.

The ST. John’s Law Review has an article entitled "The Disturbing Correlation Between ABA Accreditation Review and Declining African-American Law School Enrollment". In this article the author John Nussbaumer pointed out that private institutes are free to consider diversity in their admissions process to the full extent of the law. Yet, most private institutes still suffer from low African-American and minority enrollment. Qualified students should be allowed into private schools since private institutes are not subject to strict state laws like public institutes are, but private law schools also continue to deny large amounts of minority students acceptance due to low LSAT scores. It is as though minority students are being punished because they cannot pass tests that were not designed to be passed by them. Essentially ones academic success holds no bearing if you cannot pass the LSAT. In addition, every time a school decides to increase their 25th percentile minimum LSAT score five points or more , the number of African-American students decrease. Researches want to know why these practices are continued despite the negative affects they have on minorities, but information is being with held that can potentially solve these problems.

The LSAT creates blockages for students who should otherwise be accepted into law schools. Blacks and Mexican-Americans and other minorities suffer disparately from these blockages as the statistics show. Students are not allowed to prove that they can perform, and that their LSAT scores are not a predictor of their potential to graduate from law school. Diversity must be accepted and enforced to ensure that society has an equal justice system representative of all people. This system continues to embrace white-supremacy by allowing standardized tests such as the LSAT to determine a person’s merit. This seems to be very reminiscent to Little Rock Arkansas in the 1950's. Blacks and minorities are still fighting for equal access to education. Those who benefit from this system must denounce it and be willing to lose what ever benefits they may posses for the betterment of all.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jury Nullification as a Tool for Social Justice

Is jury nullification a strategy that can be used to ensure social change? I propose this strategy because our current social contract is in need of a drastic makeover. A social contract is a contract we are bound to follow since birth enforced by government, in which we give up some of our sovereignty in order to be protected by the government. As a society we have no involvement in determining the laws that we must follow, due to misrepresentation. Therefore, since we have no say in creating our own social contract, we must use the little power that we do possess to destroy the current social contract. We must dismantle the current system with its own tools. Punishing poor people for their own victimization is wrong, a wrong that is justified by telling criminals that their punishments are deserved, when in fact most poor peoples criminal conduct is often a reaction to oppression. A new paradigm of justice is desperately needed to ensure that the focus of rehabilitation returns. Jury nullification of non violent offenders is a step towards creating a new social contract which benefits all.

Paul Butler wrote an awesome article in the Yale Law Journal entitled Racially Based Jury Nullification. He suggests that Blacks must take it upon themselves to nullify non violent offenders when serving as jurors. In a sense, my proposal is similar to Mr. Butler's beliefs, but my ideas extend to all people who fall victim to white-supremacist beliefs, which punish us all. In addition, those most affected by the criminal justice system must take this theory very seriously. With the increasing amount of citizens under the supervision of the criminal justice system, we must ask ourselves as a society a question; if we were given the key to free non violent offenders, would we use it? Or would we continue to sit on juries and convict people who suffer from injustice. The power to decide is granted, but society suffers from white-supremacist beliefs that forces them to choose otherwise. Proponents to jury nullification would argue that an increase in non guilty verdicts and mistrials would lead to increases in crime. This argument fails to point out that those who are criminalized most are victims of oppression, and that our current social contract promotes disparities. If we can figure out a way to even out these disparities legally then an action must be taken. It is legal for a juror to nullify if he/she fells that the law is unjust.

I recently engaged in a discussion with one of my good friends. He seemed to be indoctrinated by conservative views. He believes that an individual has a choice to whether or not he/she will commit a crime,and that any crime committed deserves whatever sentence is attached to that crime. In criminology, rational choice theory proposes that an individual is a reasoned actor who weighs the means and ends, costs and benefits and makes a rational choice. Therefore, a person who cannot afford a meal to satisfy their hunger will weigh the risks and benefits of stealing and decide accordingly. If a person is willing to risk possible incarceration and sanctions, clearly their is a an obvious void of basic human necessity.Therefore, is it morally right to charge and convict or is it better to find actual solutions to their unique situation.

It is up to those with empathy for human suffering to change the current social contract. If non violent offenders continue to be convicted and sentenced for petty crimes then we have failed as a society. Clearly the ball has been dropped, due to the countless disparities this society has;however,there is still a chance to make amends for the apathy that exists. The power to nullify is a power that can affect policy and bring forth true change and equality to America. This idea may seem radical to some but it will take radical action to re-write our social contract.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Politics of Fear

Fear propaganda is a favorable strategy implemented by both the Democratic and Republican parties. Whether it is the war on terror, the war on drugs, or any policy that benefits the ruling powers interests. The failed terrorist attack on Christmas day is a great example of fear propaganda. Enlist fear in the public by propagandizing an issue at hand, and pacify these fears by enforcing policies that are meant to solve the issue. Yes, Homeland security is in desperate need of adequate leadership to protect us from future attacks, but we cannot discriminate against Muslims, and violate individual rights by racially profiling and performing full body scans at airports, which the Republicans believe in. In times of confusion and fear, policy is written and enacted quickly, to ensure that it is passed with little outcry from the public. If the public is in fear of a threat, whether it be an actual threat or a fabricated threat, then the government can use these fears as leverage to implement policy, which often ends up limiting our freedom.

The War on terror has been fought off of the back of fear propaganda. In return, laws like the US Patriot Act has been created, which limit the rights of citizens. The Anti-American sentiment has greatly expanded in foreign nations, and taxpayer money continues to be spent to promote democracy abroad. How can a government promote democracy, when it has a rich history of oppression, and pillaging of indigenous people? How can we condemn others, when our own injustices are continuously swept under the rug? Political correctness is taught at an early age, and individuals who act against the establishment, are outcasted as radicals who are ungrateful of the country they live in. Freedom is limited by policy implemented from fear tactics, placed upon an uneducated population, who vote against their own interests; based off an indoctrinated political ideology. Therefore, companies like BlackWater and their political affiliates are able to profit off of contracts that are meant to comfort our pseudo fears.