Thursday, April 29, 2010

Who’s White?

Lake Placid, New York
April 29, 2010
( BBNS )

by Linda Gordon
Published: March 25, 2010
New York Times: Book Review

Nell Irvin Painter’s title, “The History of White People,” is a provocation in several ways: it’s monumental in sweep, and its absurd grandiosity should call to mind the fact that writing a “History of Black People” might seem perfectly reasonable to white people. But the title is literally accurate, because the book traces characterizations of the lighter-skinned people we call white today, starting with the ancient Scythians. For those who have not yet registered how much these characterizations have changed, let me assure you that sensory observation was not the basis of racial nomenclature.

By Nell Irvin Painter

Some ancient descriptions did note color, as when the ancient Greeks recognized that their “barbaric” northern neighbors, Scythians and Celts, had lighter skin than Greeks considered normal. Most ancient peoples defined population differences culturally, not physically, and often regarded lighter people as less civilized. Centuries later, European travel writers regarded the light-skinned Circassians, a k a Caucasians, as people best fit only for slavery, yet at the same time labeled Circassian slave women the epitome of beauty. Exoticizing and sexualizing women of allegedly inferior “races” has a long and continuous history in racial thought; it’s just that today they are usually darker-skinned women.

“Whiteness studies” have so proliferated in the last two decades that historians might be forgiven a yawn in response to being told that racial divisions are fundamentally arbitrary, and that deciding who is white has been not only fluid but also heavily influenced by class and culture. In some Latin American countries, for example, the term blanquearse, to bleach oneself, is used to mean moving upward in class status. But this concept — the social and cultural construction of race over time — remains harder for many people to understand than, say, the notion that gender is a social and cultural construction, unlike sex. As recently as 10 years ago, some of my undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin heard my explanations of critical race theory as a denial of observable physical differences.

I wish I had had this book to offer them. Painter, a renowned historian recently retired from Princeton, has written an unusual study: an intellectual history, with occasional excursions to examine vernacular usage, for popular audiences. It has much to teach everyone, including whiteness experts, but it is accessible and breezy, its coverage broad and therefore necessarily superficial.

The modern intellectual history of whiteness began among the 18th-century German scholars who invented racial “science.” Johann Joachim Winckelmann made the ancient Greeks his models of beauty by imagining them white-skinned; he may even have suppressed his own (correct) suspicion that their statues, though copied by the Romans in white marble, had originally been painted. The Dutchman Petrus Camper calculated the proportions and angles of the ideal face and skull, and produced a scale that awarded a perfect rating to the head of a Greek god and ranked Europeans as the runners-up, earning 80 out of 100. The Englishman Charles White collected skulls that he arranged from lowest to highest degree of perfection. He did not think he was seeing the gradual improvement of the human species, but assumed rather the polygenesis theory: the different races arose from separate divine ­creations and were designed with a range of quality.

The modern concept of a Caucasian race, which students my age were taught in school, came from Johann Friedrich Blumenbach of Göttingen, the most influential of this generation of race scholars. Switching from skulls to skin, he divided humans into five races by color — white, yellow, copper, tawny, and tawny-black to jet-black — but he ascribed these differences to climate. Still convinced that people of the Caucasus were the paragons of beauty, he placed residents of North Africa and India in the Caucasian category, sliding into a linguistic analysis based on the common derivation of Indo-European languages. That category, Painter notes, soon slipped free of any geographic or linguistic moorings and became a quasi-­scientific term for a race known as “white.”

Some great American heroes, notably Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Waldo Emerson, absorbed Blumenbach’s influence but relabeled the categories of white superiority. They adopted the Saxons as their ideal, imagining Americans as direct and unalloyed descendants of the English, later including the Germans. In general, Western labels for racial superiority moved thus: Caucasian → Saxon → Teutonic → Nordic → Aryan → white/Anglo.

The spread of evolutionary theory required a series of theoretical shifts, to cope with changing understandings of what is heritable. When hereditary thought produced eugenics, the effort to breed superior human beings, it relied mostly on inaccurate genetics. Nevertheless, eugenic “science” became authoritative from the late 19th century through the 1930s. Eugenics gave rise to laws in at least 30 states authorizing forced sterilization of the ostensibly feeble-minded and the hereditarily criminal. Painter cites an estimate of 65,000 sterilized against their will by 1968, after which a combined feminist and civil rights campaign succeeded in radically restricting forced sterilization. While blacks and American Indians were disproportionately victimized, intelligence testing added many immigrants and others of “inferior stock,” predominantly Appalachian whites, to the rolls of the surgically sterilized.

In the long run, the project of measuring “intelligence” probably did more than eugenics to stigmatize and hold back the nonwhite. Researchers gave I.Q. tests to 1,750,000 recruits in World War I and found that the average mental age, for those 18 and over, was 13.08 years. That experiment in mass testing failed owing to the Army’s insistence that even the lowest ranked usually became model soldiers. But I.Q. testing achieved success in driving the anti-immigration movement. The tests allowed calibrated rankings of Americans of different ancestries — the English at the top, Poles on the bottom. Returning to head measurements, other researchers computed with new categories the proportion of different “blood” in people of different races: Belgians were 60 percent Nordic (the superior European race) and 40 percent Alpine, while the Irish were 30 percent Nordic and 70 percent Mediterranean (the inferior European race). Sometimes politics produced immediate changes in these supposedly objective findings: World War I caused the downgrading of Germans from heavily Nordic to heavily Alpine.

Painter points out, but without adequate discussion, that the adoration of whiteness became particularly problematic for women, as pale blue-eyed blondes became, like so many unattainable desires, a reminder of what was second-class about the rest of us. Among the painfully comic absurdities that racial science produced was the “beauty map” constructed by Francis Galton around the turn of the 20th century: he classified people as good, medium or bad; he categorized those he saw by using pushpins and thus demonstrated that London ranked highest and Aberdeen lowest in average beauty.

Rankings of intelligence and beauty supported escalating anti-Catholicism and ­anti-Semitism in early-20th-century America. Both prejudices racialized non-Protestant groups. But Painter ­misses some crucial regional differences. While Jews and Italians were nonwhite in the East, they had long been white in San Francisco, where the racial “inferiors” were the Chinese. Although the United States census categorized ­Mexican-Americans as white through 1930, census enumerators in the Southwest, working from a different racial under­standing, ignored those instructions and marked them “M” for Mexican.

In the same period, anarchist or socialist beliefs became a sign of racial inferiority, a premise strengthened by the presence of many immigrants and Jews among early-20th-century radicals. Whiteness thus became a method of stigmatizing dissenting ideas, a marker of ideological respectability; Painter should have investigated this phenomenon further. Also missing from the book is an analysis of the all-important question: Who benefits and how from the imprimatur of whiteness? Political elites and employers of low-wage labor, to choose just two groups, actively policed the boundaries of whiteness.

But I cannot fault Nell Painter’s choices — omissions to keep a book widely readable. Often, scholarly interpretation is transmitted through textbooks that oversimplify and even bore their readers with vague generalities. Far better for a large audience to learn about whiteness from a distinguished scholar in an insightful and lively exposition.

Linda Gordon is a professor of history at New York University and the author, most recently, of “Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits.”

Rev. Al, Quit Your B.S. Over Arizona's New Immigration Law: Blacks Have Been Racially Profiled Since 1619

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
April 29, 2010
( BBNS )

How much is the Obama administration paying the Reverend Al Sharpton for being the administration's attack dog against Arizona's poorly crafted immigration law?
Rev. Al has been pimping the Black community for the last twenty five years, and it definitely appears as though Sharpton has been co-opted by the Obama Administration solely because of their lack of a legitimate bona-fide Black Agenda for the working poor and/or middle class.
Black people have been subjected to being racially profiled since 1619, and that standard practice has been commonplace throughout the present USA.
Why do you think so many Black folks crossed over the color line and passed for White in the U.S.? Millions of Black people passed for white to escape from the horrors of brutal persistent white terrorism and systemic racism which came with relentless racial profiling. It must also be said that many other Blacks that could have passed for white chose to remain as Black, and fight the overt callous racism.

Think About This For A Moment: Not One Hispanic Organization Has Come Out In Support Of A Black Woman For The United States Supreme Court ? Why Not ?

Why, Arizona
April 29, 2010
( BBNS )

Maybe the flamboyant Reverend Al Sharpton can answer the sixty four thousand dollar question as to why no Hispanic/Latino Organization or individual is advocating for a brilliant Black woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Is There Any Difference Between The Blatant, Egregious, Deceitful, Crimes of Bernie Madoff and the Deceptive Financial Outlaws At Goldman Sachs?

April 27, 2010
Tysons Corner, Virginia

Tysons Corner, VA. It is quite apparent that during the reign of George W. Bush that the entire financial industry in the USA (Wall Street) did as they pleased without any fear of outside interference from any governmental regulatory body such as the SEC coupled with the gross lack of congressional oversight. These two negative factors led to the greatest financial disaster since the "Great Depression".
What good are laws and regulations governing any aspect of our institutions when those agencies and commissions which are mandated by their statutory authority miserably failed to execute what is required under their mandates? The U.S. Congress was also complicit in creating the atmosphere for graft and corruption by being asleep at the wheel.
The American public needs to ask both major political parties to reinstate regulatory provisions that would ban commercial banks from speculative investments. Those provisions should be included in any type of financial reform bill under present or future consideration in the Congress.
If I had my way, I would prosecute all the characters that Time Magazine identified in their February 2009 edition as causing the greatest financial crisis since the "Great Depression " from the top CEO of Countrywide to the top SEC Officials and their subordinates + Bill Clinton & George W. Bush. Those Congress folks who were in office during this financial crisis also need to be prosecuted for dereliction of duty and neglect of the American people's interest. What we really need is a Special Prosecutor to prosecute all the actors who were involved in this financial calamity.
Review my blog post dated February 12, 2009 titled TARP BANKS and Financial Institutions Dupe The American Public while Congress Grandstands at

It doesn't take a George Washington Carver or Einstein to understand that it's the system of free market capitalism that breeds avarice, graft, moral decadence, corruption, greed, deceitfulness, deception, dishonesty, manipulative behavior and classism.
Yes, Timberwolf was one "Shitty Deal" made by and marketed by the "shitty people" at Goldman Sachs. How many more "shitty" deals were marketed to investors around the world, particularly in the Middle East?
Does the cat have your tongue ?

Sunday, April 25, 2010


College Park, Maryland
April 25, 2010


Written by: Solomon Comissiong

The illusion of democracy within the illegitimate borders of America continues to psychologically obfuscate masses of US citizens. Just as people who are strung out on opiates begin to hallucinate imaging a “reality” that simply does not exist, so too are most Americans as they continue believing that their country is some sort of utopian democracy. Many Americans believe that their country is the gold standard when it comes to democracy. They believe that in their day-to-day lives they are making well informed decisions, from politics-to-entertainment-to-education, predicated on a robust platter of options. Unfortunately, they could not be further from the truth.

Webster’s dictionary defines democracy as: “government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.” It also lists democracy as, “political or social equality; democratic spirit.” Those definitions, regarding democracy, reside only within the seedy elitist hamlets scattered throughout America. For it is the disproportionately wealthy (the one percent that control more wealth than the bottom 90 percent) that have redefined the term “democracy”. The United States is much more of a Plutocracy (a government or state in which the wealthy class rules) than it is a democracy. The wealthy (upper class) consistently make decisions on behalf of the lower classes (middle, lower, and working). Because the wealthy are economically rich it is they who ultimately control every power generating mainstream institution within America (media, education, and politics). Unfettered control of these institutions allows the wealthy ruling class to inculcate their amoral ideals and interests to the disengaged masses. Their interests are, as they have been since the unscrupulous and unequal founding of America, to maintain control. The so-called founding fathers very much wanted to keep control of America in the hands of people like themselves—rich white men. An engaged and politically educated populous would represent a formidable threat to their power structure within any legitimately democratic society. Unfortunately for us, we don’t have such a society in the US. The media, healthcare, politics and education are all controlled, more or less; by the same elitist class that, by and large, controls America.

Legitimate democracies do not methodically omit and marginalize large pockets of information simply as a means toward the mass programming its populous. Despite the hollow promulgations by corporate backed government officials, that America is the world’s greatest democracy, it is not. Control over institutions where most Americans receive their information (schools and the media) has allowed these capitalist minions to manufacture a most perfect illusion of democracy. The US government, corporate media, and myriad educational institutions are in the business of false propaganda; and they do it ever so well. Without false propaganda and the strict control over the flow of information, and the mediums that carry it, they would not be able to systematically convince most Americans to faithfully follow their one-sided agenda. From cradle to grave Americans are taught to obey their government as well as to question very little about its actions, no matter how deleterious they may be. This is how and why many Americans seldom stand on the side of justice when their government is illegally occupying other countries, inciting imperialist wars, or supporting oppressive nations. They are told, day in and day out, that their government’s actions are ultimately making them safer. Yes, the US government also uses fear to effectively mass control its population.

When innocent civilians are destroyed is it not called murder or state sponsored terror; it is simply collateral damage and a means to a justified end. Iraqi or Afghani lives are not thought of as being equal to that of American lives, their lives are considered expendable. This mentality is irrefutably xenophobic in nature and supported in everything from civic courses to the halls of congress. Meanwhile the corporate media hides the fact that over 1.3 million Iraqi civilians ( have perished as a result of the US occupation and scores of Afghanis have been slaughtered by the indiscriminate actions of US drone attacks. They also will not discuss the hundreds of thousands of children who have lost their lives by way of brutal US sanctions in countries like Iraq and Zimbabwe.

Americans have been desensitized from understanding, caring about or fully grasping the ramifications of their government’s foreign policies. Like an overprotective parent, they have been sheltered. However this parent (the US government) cares much more about its contrived reputation than it does the overall and long term well being of its obedient children (US citizens). Americans have been taught and told who their enemies should be and who they should support as allies. Much like the white children of racist parents, they are taught who to love and who to hate. These justifications are often as limited as the purveyors of those same destructive ideologies. They are taught to hate countries like Cuba because they are allegedly run by so-called dictators and that they are somehow a threat to the American way of life. Most Americans imbibe this psychologically limiting cocktail without ever examining the historical and factual context. If they did they would discover that those countries are often hated by the US government simply because they had to audacity to liberate themselves from white colonization and to reject capitalism. The American government never gave a damn about the masses of Cuban people who were oppressed and destroyed by the government of Fulgencio Batista. The US government loved him because he allowed the US to have unfettered reign over much of Cuba’s resources. The Cuban Revolution put an end to all of that and ushered in socialism, thus putting an end to US monopolization of Cuba’s natural resources. This is a significant reason why the US, to this day, programs its citizens to mindlessly hate Cuba. The great irony is that America was stolen by white “settlers” who were trying to escape an oppressive government and system within England. However, the America democratic illusion even prevents this irony from ever surfacing.

A legitimate gold standard for democracy facilitates an atmosphere in which a wide array of thoughts, perspectives, and historical accounts publically surface. Alternative thoughts, perspectives and historical accounts are routinely suppressed everyday within America. Freedom of choice is supposed to be something that runs freely and openly within the body of any legitimate democracy. However, within the US, even cultural art forms are suppressed. Many American youth into Hip Hop have a limited understanding of rap music, without evening knowing that their comprehension of that musical genre has been methodically limited. Their favorite rappers are not really their favorite rappers; they are simply the ones that the corporate media finds acceptable enough to play and to therefore popularize. Artists and songs that encourage audiences to think outside of their governmentally manufactured “boxes” are systematically prevented from ever becoming as popular as their mind numbing corporate backed alternative. Racially stereotypical and socially regressive rap music is eagerly supported by the corporate media (radio, TV, and record labels). Can they really be one’s favorite rappers if the selection from which to choose has been carefully and cautiously predetermined?

In the same fashion that rap music is popularized within the US so too are the political parties and candidates that the vast majority of Americans routinely support. In 2010 it is by no accident that American politics are controlled by two corporate financed political parties. Both parties (Democrats and Republicans) are heavily financed and supported by the capitalist elite whether they may be on Wall Street, Silicone Valley, or within the Healthcare and Military industries. Even the corporate media outlets which are mistakenly thought to be the medium that informs and educates the US masses are frolicking around in bed with mainstream politicians. They are the tail that wags the dog, the elephant and the jackass. However, it is often hard to distinguish who is wagging who since the corporate world is much bigger than the actual government. They clearly control the politicians’ actions far more than people who they were elected to serve.

The Democratic and Republican parties are systematically beholden to the corporations that supplement their incomes as well as finance their campaigns. Sadly, most Americans have been duped into believing their votes actually matter or that they are voting for candidates that best represent their interests. This is often not the case. Routinely, as in the 2008 presidential election, alternative party candidates are structurally kept from equally participating in elections. Green Party nominee (, Cynthia McKinney (, was not permitted to participate in any of the nationally televised presidential debates. Tens of millions of eligible voters were not “democratically” given the opportunity to even hear her platform, ideas, or perspectives, despite the fact that she won her party’s nomination.

The Commission on Presidential Debates ( mission, as stated on their website, is: “…to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners. Its primary purpose is to sponsor and produce debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates.” As stated in their mission they “produce” debates and “provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners”.

In other words they manufacture debates as well as provide the best possible batch of “acceptable” information to potential voters. They understand that there is very little difference between most Democratic and Republican candidates therefore if they limit alternative parties and their nominees; they significantly limit most Americans from even imagining a better political structure. Alternative candidates, like McKinney, represent a bold potential threat to their sheepish voting blocks. Even though the Commission on Presidential Debates claims they are a non-partisan non-profit organization, they are supremely influenced by both the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as the corporate media that televises the debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates is controlled, operated, and sponsored by a wide array of big businesses, former Democratic and Republican politicians, as well as vastly wealthy individuals. Grassroots organizations and working class citizens are clearly not welcome to participate, unless they support the mainstream agenda. This “commission” is simply part of the larger system that continually limits the range in which Americans could be engaged politically. This system does and cannot support alternative views to the manufactured mainstream corporate financed political structure in America.

America’s version of “democracy” continues to be one of the most perfect illusions created by man. Americans are born into a system that is driven by exploitation and greed, by any means necessary. The system robs, destroys, and plunders, all in the name of “democracy” and its citizens. Because most Americans were mentally cultivated by this limited and illusionary form of democracy, they support it with blind faith, regardless of the fact that it significantly hurts their quality of life. Ironically their government’s relationship and loyalty to the corporate world (sounds like fascism to me) is a significant reason why they (the American working class) continue to trudge along in a quagmire of unfulfilled potential. Political fornication between Capitol Hill and the corporate world have prevented millions of Americans from having everything from a single payer healthcare system to heightened access to a college “education” to a world class public school system. Unfortunately, none of the above exists within America. However, most Americans strongly believe that the US is a beacon for freedom, justice, and equality and, yes, even democracy. They are protected by the painless bliss of ignorance that looms large within the mythological world that has been created for them by their own government. It is one thing to not know and it is another to not know what you don’t know. Most Americans truly have no idea as to how many decisions they think they are making for themselves have in fact already been made for them.

Most public schools are filled with history and social studies courses laden with misinformation training American youth to start thinking a certain way about themselves and the world they live in. That “certain way” often consists of a narrowly framed perspective thus limiting most Americans from becoming good world citizens. Americans are taught to worship and glorify murderers, war mongers, and racists. Americans are not supposed to critically think about how their government uses its military within the dangerous parameters of aggression. They are not supposed to be able to connect the dots between the fact that more than 40 percent of their tax dollars are spent for military purposes yet never wondering why thy may never have universal healthcare. They are ultimately well trained to unconditionally support manufactured systems that abrogate their own freedoms and civil liberties. As was said in the cult classic, The Usual Suspects, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” Not knowing how they are systematically repressed prevents a great many Americans from demanding a truly radical and tangible change in this system to something that places human needs first and the quest for capital last. Until a well mobilized and organized social revolution of poor and working class people successfully fruits, Americans, by and large, will continue to aimlessly wander about within the illusionary land of democracy—America.

Solomon Comissiong is an educator, community activist, author, public speaker and the host of the Your World News radio program ( He may be reached at:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Henry Louis Gates lets US off the hook in 'slavery blame game'

Black Buzz News Service (BBNS)
Negrotown Knoll, Florida
April 24, 2010

So What Are You Trying to say about slavery Professor Gates ?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University

Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. recently wrote an interesting piece for the New York Times called, "Ending the Slavery Blame Game." In the piece, Gates effectively argues that the fight for reparations is convoluted and somewhat mitigated by the fact that African elites participated in the slave trade. While describing complex business deals made between some African leadership and the Europeans who brought Africans to the New World, it almost appears as though Gates is saying that this disturbing relationship somehow undermines the right of African-Americans to hold our government accountable for its involvement in crimes committed against our people.

At very least, I am under the assumption that by "ending the slavery blame game," Gates is arguing that we should stop blaming the United States government and white America for the rape, murder, castration, lynching and beating of our ancestors.

Sorry Dr. Gates, but I must respectfully (or perhaps not so respectfully) disagree. If a young girl is sold into prostitution by her own parents, the pimp must still pay for the suffering he caused the young woman. He can't simply say, "Her parents made a deal with me, so you should stop the blame game."

In other words, the United States, as a broad and powerful industrial entity, benefited from slavery to the tune of several trillion dollars. Much of this wealth was passed down from one white man to another, and was always out of the grasp of the black men, women and children who gave their lives on American soil in order to earn it. As a result, the median net worth of the African-American family is roughly one-tenth that of white American families and we have consistently higher unemployment due to our inability to create jobs, since white Americans own most businesses.

These facts hold true without regard to how the African-American holocaust started in the first place. They also hold true because wealth and power are commodities that are passed down inter-generationally, and we missed out on all of this because we were slaves. What occurred after we left Africa can and must be considered independently from what happened while our forefathers were in the mother land.

Beyond the indisputable financial damage caused by slavery, there is also a price to be paid for pain, suffering and aggregate trauma. Even the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolishes slavery, has a clause stating that it's still OK to enslave another American, as long as that person has been convicted of a crime. Given that the United States incarcerates 5.8 times more black men than South Africa did during the height of apartheid, it's easy to argue that the human rights violations of American slavery continue to this day.

The arbitrary label of "convict" is used against black men in a disproportionate fashion as a loophole for American corporations to continue to profit from slave labor. I don't want to play the "blame game." But mainstream media must not play the "irresponsibility game," by promoting apologist African-American scholars who are willing to write off 400 years of systemically oppressive behavior. While the Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?" approach makes some of us more comfortable, the truth is that America cannot become truly post-racial until it overcomes its past-racial influences.

I am not sure why Gates has gone out of his way to assuage white guilt in America. I hope that's not the price a black man must pay in order to write an op-ed in the New York Times. Perhaps his PBS specials, in which he goes out of his way to prove that he is actually from Europe, is his way of fitting into the society that never embraced the little black boy from West Virginia (Gates writes extensively about being rejected by white women as a child). Henry Louis Gates seems to have spent his entire life proving to the world that he is a "big shot," because simply being a black man may never have been quite good enough.

As Gates once wrote on his Yale University application, "As always, whitey now sits in judgment of me, preparing to cast my fate. It is your decision either to let me blow with the wind as a nonentity or to encourage the development of self. Allow me to prove myself." Gates' words remind us that the damage of oppression can be debilitating, and we can spend our entire lives overcompensating. When our spirit is torn apart by racial oppression, white acceptance and validation are sometimes necessary in order to make us whole.

Putting Henry Louis Gates to the side, a point must be clearly made. If there are African elites to be held responsible for the atrocities committed against Africans in America, then we can accept that. But while certain citizens of Africa can be found guilty for their contribution to the slave trade, America must also be held accountable for its decision to exploit slavery over the last 400 years. It's really just that simple.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Black Buzz News Service (BBNS) April 23, 2010


COMMENTARY: What if Roethlisberger Were Black?
Date: Thursday, April 22, 2010, 12:46 am
By: Tony Jones, Special to

Ben Roethlisberger is lucky that he's one of the elite quarterbacks in the National Football League.

He's lucky that he has the gift to talk. He's lucky that his personality is so endearing. He's lucky that the police department in Milledgeville Georgia is about as competent at investigating a crime as my 6-year-old daughter.

Most of all, Roethlisberger should drop to his knees each and every night and thank the good lord for his skin color. Because if he were African-American, I'm not sure he'd be a free man right now.

On the surface, this seemed to be just another rape allegation that couldn't produce enough evidence. That's what we saw in the press conference when Fred Bright, a Georgia District Attorney, declined to press charges when a 20-year-old Georgia and State student claimed that he forced her to have sex against her will.

But the details that have arisen since then have been nothing short of alarming. Packed in the witness statement is the allegation that Roethlisberger approached the college student with “his penis out of his pants”, and followed her into the bathroom of the nightclub where he, “had sex with me”, despite her objections.

So here's the question: Based on the details, if Ben Roethlisberger were, say, Michael Vick, or Ray Lewis, or any of the NFL stars who have been previously vilified for “thuggish” behavior in the past, what would've happened on that night?“

I think the NFL would've behaved the same,” said Bomani Jones, a Duke faculty member and a sports radio host. “But it's hard to imagine that he wouldn't have been taken to the police station if he had been black.”

In my mind, Roethlisberger is only the latest high profile white athlete to benefit from the good ole' boy network. Yes, he's been suspended by the NFL for 4-6 games, depending on his behavior. Yes, he stands to lose as much as $2.8 million in wages. Yes, the Pittsburgh Steelers may trade him. No he hasn't been charged with a crime. And yes, NFL Commissionerr Roger Goodell saved some face by handing down what's perceived as a stiff punishment for embarrassing the league.

But Vick lost the prime of his career, a $20 million signing bonus, was thrown in jail and suspended by the league for killing dogs.Being that this isn't the first time that Roethlisberger's been accused of sexual misconduct, the moral of the story seems to be that it's better to be accused of a sex crime than a crime against Lassie.

To me, there's something wrong with that picture.

To me, Roethlisberger should be suspended for the entire season, without pay. Based on the witness statement, he clearly should've been arrested on the spot. He should've been forced to submit a DNA sample. He should've been forced to grant a second interview with police, even with a lawyer present.

No doubt, Big Ben dodged a big bullet with this inquiry not resulting in an indictment. And that’s not open to debate.

“He should've been taken in and booked,” said James Cordova, a high school football coach out of Salt Lake City Utah. “He's extremely lucky that he wasn't put into the back of a police car.”

Much like Adam “Pac Man” Jones, Roethlisberger needs to stay out of nightclubs. He needs to lay low, and have his come-to-Jesus moment just like any other disgraced professional athlete. He needs to stay out of the public eye and then have a tearful press conference before football season starts in September.

Maybe that will rehabilitate his image a bit. To me, however, the fact that multiple sexual assault allegations have been brought against him speaks to a bigger issue. And he needs to get help for whatever this issue is immediately.

As they say: 50 million Elvis fans can't all be wrong.

BLACK BUZZ NEWS, April 23, 2010


with Dr. Pamela D. Reed

Dr. Pamela D. Reed navigates the often treacherous white waters of America's ever-changing cultural landscape. Come what may, she keeps it moving-the dialogue, that is.

No (Black) Justice, No Peace?
by Dr. Pamela D. Reed
April 16, 2010

Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters…. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
--Frederick Douglass, 1857

This weekend, the Reverend Al Sharpton and his National Action Network are convening the “Measuring the Movement” confab. Incidentally, President Barack Obama is poised to make his second nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), in the wake of the announced resignation of Justice John Paul Stevens.
These might seem like two totally unrelated events, but they’re not. At least they shouldn’t be. In fact, in my mind, what better metric of Black progress is there for the Black opinion leaders meeting in New York this weekend than a successful campaign for the nomination of one who shares our life experience to sit on the highest court in the land?
After all, many of us shout, “No Justice, No Peace” in the face of police brutality, and we rail and rally against unfair sentencing laws and America’s shameful “prison industrial complex.” Well, this writer thinks we need to modify this call to action and very respectfully—yet emphatically—send this same message to President Obama.
How about this version, lest we be taken for granted: “No Black Justice, No Black Vote,” or a similar derivative.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that Black leaders issue an ultimatum to our beloved President Obama. Heaven forbid. What I am suggesting, however, is that we as a people take it “back to the old landmark,” as our elders say. Meaning, we must return to our tradition of marching and rallying for justice.
It’s ironic that many Black leaders—because we have an African American president— are now eschewing the very same tactics that led to the historic civil rights gains of the 1960’s and 70s. Meanwhile, Latinos, Jewish Americans, Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgenders—and even the Tea Baggers—have learned from our past victories and are now successfully waging campaigns to make their voices heard on the issues that matter most in their communities.
And we must do likewise. After all, this is the American way, is it not? Just as Latinos forcefully and pointedly lobbied and campaigned for a Latino on the Supreme Court, African-Americans must mount a serious campaign to have an African-American nominee, ideally, a woman.
And not just any Black woman will do. America needs an associate justice with the same philosophical leanings as Justice Stevens—or better still, the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, who was never really replaced.
Many names have been bandied about, most notably former Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, although many believe that the Washington Post article detailing her friendship with Clarence Thomas doomed her chances of being nominated by a Democratic American president.
The Honorable Ann Claire Williams, 60, a United States Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate in some recent reports. The internationally recognized jurist, first nominated by President Reagan to the U. S. District Court in 1985 and elevated by President Clinton to the Seventh Circuit in 1999, acted as a member of training delegations who traveled to International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania and also for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at the Hague.
Another prospect is the recently confirmed Judge Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson, 58, of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and a former Rhode Island Superior Court justice. When President Obama nominated her to the appellate court last year, a White House press release noted that “while on the bench, Judge Thompson chaired the Court’s Ad Hoc Task Force on Limited English Speaking Litigants, which was instrumental in the Superior Court establishing an Office of Court Interpreters to ensure that all limited English-speaking litigants have a fuller understanding of judicial proceedings.”
And if President Obama is looking for a non-jurist, as some have speculated, then there are numerous highly qualified African-American women within the academy or among the ranks of the nation’s public defenders and/or prosecutors.
One noteworthy and meritorious African-American legal academician is Dr. Phoebe A. Haddon, 59, dean of the University of Maryland School of Law, the first African American female to head the 186 year-old enclave. The U of Maryland Daily Record reports that “one of the first things Phoebe A. Haddon saw when she visited the University of Maryland School of Law during its dean search was ‘Thurgood Marshall’s Early Career in Maryland: 1933-1937,’ an exhibit in the library that bears the name of the late Supreme Court justice.”
Perhaps this was a harbinger of things to come for Haddon, a fourth-generation lawyer whose great-grandfather, A.W.E. Bassette, was also a lawyer/educator who is believed to have “founded the first school for freed slaves in Hampton, Virginia,” where an elementary school bears his name, in recognition of his 39 years of teaching, beginning in 1876.
Indeed, it is clear that never has there been a wider pool—and never will the time be riper—for the appointment of a progressive Black woman to the SCOTUS. Particularly since the Pew Research Center reports that “overall, among all racial, ethnic and gender groups, [B]lack women had the highest voter turnout rate in November's [2008] election [68.8 percent]—a first." This should yield real, bankable—and measurable— capital for a loyal and stalwart constituency.
I first wrote of this in “It is High Time for a Black Woman on the High Court.” At that time— just after the Sotomayor nomination—one reader rightfully commented that I should have written before the nomination. Well, this time I am imploring Black leaders to not wait until after the fact to make our voices heard on this crucial matter.
One thing is certain, if we don’t ask for it, it will never happen. The first step is to believe that we can do this. Naysayers must remember the sage words of then candidate Obama: “Yes, we can.”
President Obama’s historic perch on Pennsylvania Avenue bears out his prophetic proclamation—thanks, in large part, to record Black voter turnout. Now, thoughtful Black folks are wondering just what, long-term, an Obama presidency means for African-Americans, beyond the symbolic, as I wrote in my “Guest Editorial” to a special issue of the Journal of Black Studies, “Barack Obama’s Improbable Election &The Question of Race and Racism in Contemporary America.”
So, let’s give President Obama the political cover that he will need to make what would no doubt be an historic and courageous nomination. And, mind you, I know that we have, in large part, taken our activism from the streets, into…more respectable corridors, but let us not forget Frederick Douglass’ storied mantra: “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” Or put another way, “No Justice, No Peace.”

Milwaukee 20, Pittsburgh O
How can any baseball team loose 20, o ?
Yesterday's defeat by the Pittsburgh Pirates was the worst in the teams history. I wouldn't have my dog attend a Pirate game. The Owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates need to give the fans who attended yesterday's Thursday massacre their money back as soon as possible. And the owners shouldn't pay any of the players who played in that horrible game yesterday against the Brewers.
Please move this franchise to Salt Lake City, Utah. Perhaps a change of environment would help to ease the pain of 17 straight years of loosing

The Boston Celtics Will Start An American White Player Before President Obama Nominates A Black Woman To The United States Supreme Court.

Old Orchard Beach, Maine
April 23, 2010

Old Orchard Beach, Maine.... President Barack Obama must understand that no (BLACK) female Justice, No BLACK VOTE.
In 2011 the Boston Celtics will draft Kyle Singler of Duke in the first round and he will eventually replace the great Ray Allen in the Celtics starting line-up.
In 2011 Black Americans will still be addicted and hooked on "Yes We Can Obama" without a Black female on the United States Supreme Court while singing "We Shall Overcome Someday."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

NIKE Should Drop Ben Roethlisberger: It's Unfortunate That The Hick D.A. In Georgia Didn't Prosecute Big Ben

Black Buzz News Service
Oxford, Ohio
April 22, 2010

NIKE should drop Big Ben Roethlisberger from all its endorsements and contractual obligations as soon as possible. Perhaps women should boycott NIKE products until they sever their ties with the likes of Big Ben Roethlisberger.
I am appalled that the County D.A. in Milledgeville Georgia didn't find enough credible evidence to proceed with his case against Big Ben Roethlisberger. I am aware of the fact that typically when the victim in a rape case isn't desirous of proceeding with a charge of rape, that the D.A. will drop the case. This is the practice throughout the United States, particularly in Allegheny County, PA. I can't prove it, but I smell a pay-off! Another reason the D.A. in question couldn't proceed with a proper prosecution of this case is the fact that the responding keystone officer from the Millidegeville Police Department didn't conduct any semblance of a thorough investigation. That's the reason he was really forced to resign from the police force when the allegations were proven to be factual. What a sham!
The victim's family probably decided against going through a painful embarrassing public rape trial that would have put her entire sexual history on trial by Big Ben's dream team of high priced attorneys.
Roethlisberger held that coed against her will. Isn't that false imprisonment under Georgia State Law? Ben provided alcoholic beverages to underage coeds. Isn't that against the law even in a rebel state like Georgia? The coed in question said "NO" and Roethlisberger like a punk took advantage of an inebriated woman. Mr. Roethlisberger is an embarrassment to his family, the Steeler organization, the Steeler fans, the National Football League and to himself.
Dan Rooney's boy, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell let Big Ben off the hook with that mild 4 to 6 game suspension. Mr. Roethlisberger should have been suspended for the entire 2010 season.
Ben Roethlisberger is not a good role model for our young people or the NFL and his behavior patterns in these cases of a sexual nature appear to be all about power and control. Does Big Ben have issues about his own sexuality? Men who take advantage of women when they are inebriated are pure and simple punks. I think there is more than meets the eye to the Ben Roethlisberger Chronicles.
Certainly there had to be numerous red flags in his younger years relative to this type of sexual behavior which was probably again dismissed as innocent adolescent discretion's and boys being boys in reference to his conduct with members of the opposite sex. Big Ben appears to be in dire need of on-going counseling and therapy and not just one or two sessions. Who's kidding who? One local psychologist in the Pittsburgh area has stated that Big Ben has failed to show any remorse or genuine feelings of "mea culpa" in any of his public speakings about the incidents for which he was and has been accused.
I doubt seriously whether the Steelers will trade for Big Ben. After all, Big Ben has been the engineer of their last two Super Bowl victories, and the present talk of trading Big Ben is just draft day posturing on the part of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes it's true that Big Ben struggled in the 2005 Super Bowl which was coached by Bill Cowher, but the Steeler had fast Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis running the ball effectively which took some of the pressure off of a mediocre performance by Roethlisberger. It takes a long period of time to develop into a top-flight quarterback in the NFL and you have to have all the other ingredients in your line-up and team in order to maintain a successful formula for consistent winning. Quite frankly the Steelers have too big of an investment in Big Ben to trade him for some untested draft choice or to rely on the often injured Charlie Batch and a raw young talent in Dennis Dixon. The Steelers got Byron Leftwich for insurance.
The Pittsburgh Steelers better come up with very good ground game or they will have a very long season with the rise of the Ravens, the upstart Bengals and the hard charging Cleveland Browns.

Monday, April 19, 2010

On April 19, 1775 Black & White Minutemen Fought Gallantly At The Battle Of Lexington & Concord-1775. It Just Seems Like It Was Yesterday !

Black Buzz News Service
Lexington, Massachusetts
April 19, 2010

Lexington Mass.... On April 19, 1775, Lemuel Haynes, Peter Salem, Pomp Blackman, Caesar Ferrit and his son, John Prince Eastbrook, and Samuel Craft were the Blacks known to have participated in the defense of Concord Bridge, the first encounter in the armed phase of the American Revolution.
Source : The Negro Almanac, p.803.
Salem Poor ( 1758-?) was the first Black soldier to win a battle commendation. A free man of color, Poor enlisted in a Massachusetts Militia company, and on June 17, 1775, fought valiantly at the battle of Bunker Hill( fought on Breeds Hill ), where he wounded a British officer.
Several officers petitioned the Continental Congress to recognize his bravery as a brave & gallant Soldier." There is no record that he received such notice. Other Blacks at the battle were Brazillai Lew, Cuff Whitemore, Titus Coburn, Charlestown Eads, Peter Salem, Sampson Taylor and Caesar Brown.
Source : Dictionary of American Negro Biography, p 500; Encyclopedia of Black America, p.684; Negro Almanac, p. 804.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Confederate history is about race

By Grace Elizabeth Hale, Special to CNN
April 14, 2010 8:43 a.m. EDT


Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell designated April as Confederate History Month

Grace Hale says Confederate symbols have denoted opposition to equal rights

She says many soldiers thought Civil War was fought over slavery

Some tried to rewrite history to make the war solely about states' rights, Hale says

Editor's note: Grace Elizabeth Hale is an associate professor of history and American studies at the University of Virginia and author of "Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940 (Vintage, 1999)" and the forthcoming book "A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle-Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America," to be published this year by Oxford University Press.

(CNN) -- It has been eight years since people in my state of Virginia got a chance to debate the meaning of the Civil War in front of the nation, and the comments posted on CNN and other news Web sites suggest our passion over the topic has not dimmed.

If Governor Bob McDonnell wants his fellow Virginians to think deeply about "how our history has led to our present," then his declaration of April as Confederate History Month has accomplished this goal, if not exactly in the manner he intended.

The problem with the celebration of Confederate History Month, however, goes far beyond McDonnell's "mistake" in not discussing the centrality of slavery in the Civil War in his original proclamation.

Confederate "history" means more than the four years during which Virginia and other states fought a war to form a separate country called the Confederate States of America. It refers to the many uses of Confederate symbols and evocations of Confederate history in the almost century-and-a-half since Appomattox as well.

This long history offers nothing to memorialize. Former Confederate soldiers quickly formed the Ku Klux Klan after the war to attack Reconstruction officials and the black and white Republicans who were trying to run the state, and they sometimes displayed Confederate symbols as part of their work. After congressional hearings shut down the Klan, copycat organizations continued to make use of Confederate symbols as they engaged in acts of political terrorism.

Former Confederates openly supported and participated in what many white Southerners called the "redemption" of the region, the reassertion of their control over state and local governments as Reconstruction ended.

In the 1870s and 1880s, the decoration of Confederate graves with flowers and flags and celebratory speeches and parades increasingly signaled a commitment to what came to be called the "Lost Cause," a decidedly partisan and self-consciously politicized account of the Civil War.

Though many supporters of secession believed during the Civil War that they were fighting against other Americans over the issue of slavery, amateur and professional historians, many with ties to the Confederacy worked to rewrite this history as a noble fight for states rights and a celebration of the sacrifice of Confederate soldiers. What members of the Sons of the Confederacy offer today as the "true" history of the region has its roots in this effort.

By the end of the 19th century, organizations like the Confederate Veterans and the Daughters of the Confederacy organized public acts of commemoration and the celebration of the "honor" of former Confederates.

Members of these organizations actively used their version of history to support the disfranchisement of African-Americans and the expansion of a white supremacist social order grounded in segregation. Across the region, Jim Crow segregation and Confederate commemoration expanded hand in hand, as the Lost Cause version of the Southern past justified the contemporary elimination of black rights.

When more subtle displays of Confederate symbols and history were not enough, white Southerners violently attacked and murdered African-Americans, sometimes publicly before large crowds. Lynchers sometimes brandished Confederate symbols.

In the early 20th century, monuments to Confederate soldiers appeared on courthouse lawns across the South and on the grounds of southern state capitols, marking these public spaces as the property of the white people who celebrated this "Confederate" version of the past. By the 1920s, a revived Klan made the Confederate battle flag their second-most important symbol, after the fiery cross, as they once again used violence and threats of violence to uphold white supremacy.

With the NAACP's victory in Brown v. Board of Education and the success of the Montgomery bus boycott, some white Southerners revived the use of Confederate versions of the past and Confederate symbols in their fight against the civil rights movement and integration.

Crowds who attacked civil rights activists sometimes carried Confederate flags as civil rights supporters carried American flags and sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" to counter these Confederate symbols. Called the "country club Klan" because of its public condemnation of violence, the White Citizens Council also used Confederate versions of the past in its opposition to African-American equality.

Today, Confederate history is as much about 1965 and the Voting Rights Act as it is about 1865 and Lee's surrender. The long history of the ways Confederate symbols have been used and Confederate history has been evoked to support racist violence and African- American oppression haunts Gov. McDonnell's declaration of Confederate History Month.

Confederate history cannot be separated from the issue at the center of the Civil War, slavery. But it also cannot be separated from the history of segregation, massive resistance, and the fight against the civil rights movement.

Historically, Confederate versions of the past and Confederate symbols have meant opposition to equal rights for all Americans. In officially recognizing Confederate History Month, Gov. McDonnell is asking Virginians to join together in celebration of this history of white supremacy.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Grace Elizabeth Hale.

Why They Take So Long

April 14, 2010

Students who take too long to earn bachelor's degrees are the frustration of parents, college leaders and policy makers alike -- who see the six-year bachelor's degree (or longer) as being more expensive for all involved, and particularly wasteful when many campuses are bulging due to increased enrollments.

A new study (abstract available here) from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that the growth in the length of time needed to earn bachelor's degrees is indeed real and cause for concern. But the study finds that the shift, over recent decades, to longer time-to-degree rates is not uniform across colleges, but is concentrated among students who enroll at less competitive four-year public institutions and at community colleges. Further, the analysis finds likely links between longer time-to-degree rates and resources, both of institutions and of students.

The implication of the study, the authors write, is that those who want students to graduate more promptly need to talk about money. "Our finding of increased stratification in resources among colleges and universities -- both between publics and privates and within the public sector -- suggests that the attenuation of resources at less-selective public universities in particular limits the rate of degree attainment," write the authors, John Bound of the University of Michigan, Michael F. Lovenheim of Cornell University, and Sarah Turner of the University of Virginia.

The authors start by verifying the widely-held view that too many students take longer than people expect (four years) to earn a bachelor's degree. Using databases that track students over time, they write that of those who graduated from high school in 1972, 58 percent of those who eventually earned a bachelor's degree did so within four years of finishing high school, which is what many consider to be "on time." For the class that graduated in 1992, only 44 percent did so. Then the authors examine time-to-degree rates by sector and find relatively little change among private colleges or among top public universities. But among public institutions not considered "top 50," the authors find a contrast.

Among those at the top-ranked publics, 55.5 percent finish in four years. At all other state and local institutions, the share is only 34.7 percent.

This raises the question of why, and the authors explore various options. One theory -- frequently advanced by those who question the goals of having more Americans earn college degrees -- is that those coming into higher education outside of competitive colleges are less well prepared, and so are unable to move ahead in college at expected rates. But the authors find no evidence for this (based either on the courses students have taken before college or on their performance in college), and reject this theory.

They do find evidence of links between various measures of resources and time to degree. For example, while acknowledging that any one resource measure may be imperfect, they examine student-to-faculty ratios. During the period studied, student-faculty ratios increased overall in public institutions from 25.5 to 29.8 to 1. But at the top 50 institutions (and at private colleges), the ratios decreased, meaning that the increase everywhere else was larger. Other measures as well, the authors write, suggest that the institutions that have preserved time-to-degree rates are those with relatively more resources.

As another illustration of the resource impact, the authors focus on states that experienced enrollment increases. Given that state appropriations frequently (and consistently in recent years) have lagged such increases, they speculate that enrollment increases decrease resources per student, and thus could increase time to degree. And that's what they find: For every 1 percent increase in a state's population of 18-year-olds, time to degree increases by 0.71 years. For those outside the top 50 institutions, the increase is greater -- 1.11 years -- again suggesting that states find ways to provide more to the more competitive institutions.

Resource gaps also extend to the students at the different types of institutions -- with those outside of the elite institutions more likely to work longer hours in jobs, limiting the time they can devote to their educations.
"The sum total of our evidence points strongly toward the central role of declines in both personal and institutional resources available to students in explaining the increases in time to baccalaureate degree in the U.S.," the authors conclude. "That these increases are concentrated among students attending public colleges and universities outside the most selective few suggests a need for more attention to how these institutions adjust to budget constraints and student demand and how students at these colleges finance higher education."

Scott Jaschik

Comments on Why They Take So Long

Diminishing Teaching Loads

Posted by Daniel L. Bennett at The Center for College Affordability and Productivity on April 14, 2010 at 10:15am EDT

Research that CCAP is involved indicates that faculty teaching loads have significantly declined over the past several decades, presumably in favor of greater research output. Having only read the abstract and this IHE story, I'm left wondering if the authors addresses the issue that diminishing teaching loads by faculty have had on time-to-degree increases over time.

They note that students are working more to cover the rising cost of college, which may induce a crowding out effect on study time. However, I've seen other economic research (see which suggests that students work not to help pay for tuition, but rather for spending money, and that hours worked does not hinder academic performance.

Number of credits taken is more important

Posted by Paul Headlee , Principal Budget and Policy Analyst at Idaho Legislature on April 14, 2010 at 10:30am EDT

While time to completion is an important metric I believe the number of credits taken to achieve a 4-year degree is more indicative of state resources consumed by students. For example, a student may take the equivalent of 5 years of credits to complete a four-year degree. This is more of a drain on resources than a student who takes the equivalent of four years of credits, but does so over a five year period due to the need to work for one or two semesters to earn enough money for tuition. Therefore, time to completion should be correlated with number of credits taken.

Place to start comparing what NBER folks found. . .

Posted by Cliff Adelman , Senior Associate at Institute for Higher Education Policy on April 14, 2010 at 11:30am EDT

Partly in response to Headlee's comments: you can find tables, based on the same data sets the NBER folks used, that include both average credits (and SDs), and more importantly, average credits by major, and average time-to-degree (and SDs) in "Principal Indicators of Student Academic Histories in Postsecondary Education, 1972-2000" on-line somewhere at You will also find a multi-variate analysis of time-to-degree (without the kind of institutional variations that the NBER people added) as one of the appendices to "The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion from High School Through College." While I like the institutional variations found by the NBER research, there are a couple of big items missing from the analysis: (1) because it is grounded in grade-cohort national longitudinal studies, it is about your daughter, not your brother-in-law, and older beginning students are going to take longer to finish degrees, as anyone with 2 kids, 2 jobs, 2 cars, and 2 sub-prime mortgages would;(2) the killers in terms of time-to-degree can be found in (a) the number of courses from which a student either withdrew without penalty or repeated (this used to be known as the DWI Index), (b) changing majors, as half of our students do, and (c) attending more than 2 schools. Perhaps some of this is related to institutional type (although nomads really can't be assigned to a single institutional type), perhaps not. Haven't read the full NBER study, so can't say whether it dealt with these variables, but they are very worth considering, and are all common-sense.

Posted by Louise Hainline , Dean at Brooklyn College of CUNY on April 14, 2010 at 2:15pm EDT

The finding reported, though correlational is hardly surprising. But what students do outside of class determines college outcomes arguably as much or more than what happens in the classroom. The expectation that college “should” take 4 years has become an anchronism in the face of the changes in our college-aged population. The majority of those who can afford more expensive private or elite public universities have the family resources or scholarships to make being a college student their full-time “occupation” and commitment. Such students, if they work, tend to work at part-time on-campus jobs and live in dorms where they do not have to shop, cook or take care of a home or family.

For many at public-assisted universities, attending college must coexist with providing for basic life needs (housing, food, transportation). A large number have significant responsibilities to and for families. This group, if full-time, usually cannot devote the out-of-class preparation time needed to excel academically, whatever their intellectual abilities. Some well-prepared full-time students can complete college effectively in three years. Part-time attendance necessarily leads to spreading college over more than four years. Individuals with work and family obligations may need five, six or more to complete college, but colleges many times do not provide the types of support they require to persist to graduation (e.g., campus child care vs. organic food in the cafeteria or climbing walls in the new gym).


Posted by Dave on April 14, 2010 at 8:15pm EDT

Louise has nailed it. We really have to look at how central going to college is to a student's life. Our children "went away" to college. We were fortunate to be able to pay their way, and it was understood that college was to be their focus. They did not need to work. They did not have families to take care of. They were no longer enmeshed or entangled in the culture of the local high school or community. Lucky them. They graduated in 4 years without a hitch. I have taught for over 30 years in large public universities (2 in the top 50, 2 not), and my spouse taught for over 20 years in community colleges. Many of the students we had were like our kids--engaged, focused on college, and so on. But most had much more complicated lives. They were often first-generation students, and neither they nor their families really understood what going to college meant. They were locals, often straining against the burden of inescapable personal history and relationships. No fresh start for them. Many were not "kids" at all. They were older, often returning students. They had families to support and sustain. They were not fortunate enough to have someone pay their way. They worked at one or more jobs that were often intellectually and culturally at odds with college study. Many of them were not the stellar students one tends to find at top fifty universities and liberal arts colleges. And so on. But when you add it all up, it becomes pretty clear that doing their college work was not necessarily or even possibly the main focus of their lives while they were in college. It is no wonder that they do not graduate in 4 years. And generally, there is no "fault" here. Some students manage to handle all of this. Others are overwhelmed. Better financial aid might help with some issues, but not with all. The problem is that we are trying to apply the old "four-years away at school" model to a very difficult and very different situation. We should forget about that model and look, insread, and indicators of student progress toward a degree: course selection, following a clear curriculum, maintaining some degree of progress every semester, stay in touch if staying out for a time, and so on. And we create institutional policies and procedures that promote continuing progress rather than an arbitrary completion in 4 years. Colleges often don't need more resources; they need to do different things with what they've got.

Other factors

Posted by CKM-W , Adjunct at Community Colleges of Indiana on April 15, 2010 at 5:30am EDT

1) The major can also affect time-to-degree. Some concentrations have required courses that, along with satisfying core requirements, add up to considerably more credit hours than other majors.

2) This speaks to lack of resources, one supposes--some schools/departments that do not offer required courses frequently enough to enable all their majors to fit them into their four-year schedules. I have known more than a few students who after four years still had to take one three-hour course that, when offered during those four years, had always conflicted with another required course.

3) Some community colleges are going to see increases in completion time, even where the students are full-time: they are now becoming so physically overwhelmed by the current influx of remedial students that they do not have enough classrooms and are decreasing the frequency of offering some nonremedial required courses.

Why they take so long...

Posted by EnEm on April 15, 2010 at 1:30pm EDT

"The implication of the study, the authors write, is that those who want students to graduate more promptly need to talk about money". This statement says it all. This is the real cause.

One cannot expect students who have to pay their way through college to complete their studies on time and get good grades to boot! It is a horendous fact of life when kids have to fend for themselves, work long hours, do not eat right, spend sleepless nights to make ends meet and attend classes. This is a reflection on the callousness of those parents who can't wait to empty out Junior's room once he has "moved out".

There should be collge courses in good parenting. And yes, parents interested in taking these courses should fend for themselves.

© Copyright 2010 Inside Higher Ed

Thursday, April 15, 2010

President Obama You Need To Nominate A Highly Distinguished Protestant Black Woman Who Has Sterling Exemplary Qualifications To The High Court ?

Black Buzz News Service
Selma, Alabama
April 16, 2010

Selma, Alabama.. From the day that Justice Sotomayor was elevated to the United States Supreme Court, the African American Judicial Lobbying & Advocacy Organizations should have moved into high gear demanding that the so-called first African American President in the modern day era nominate a Black woman with outstanding exemplary credentials to the highest court in the land.
The Congressional Black Caucus met recently with President Obama concerning a multitude of issues that are endemic to Black Americans, but they didn't demand that Obama nominate a Black woman to the United States Supreme Court? If not, why not? It is very unfortunate that we no longer have fighters like Barbara Jordan, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. or Ron Dellums among the members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The painful thing is that so many Black people have their heads so far up Obama's posterior that they don't even have the heart to fight anymore. Black Americans have become psychologically neutered. When will they wake up!
Black females were Obama's strongest constituents and did all the heavy lifting in getting Obama into the White House. The numbers don't lie.
According to the Pew Research Center, Black women had the the highest voter turnout rate in the November 2008 election.
"Overall, Whites made up 76.3% of the record 131 million people who voted in the last Presidential election, while Blacks made up 12.1 %, Hispanics 7.4 % and Asians 2.5%. The Pew Research numbers further show that much of the surge in Black voter turnout participation in 2008 was driven by increased participation among Black women and younger voters. The voter turnout rate among eligible Black female voters increased 5.1 percentage points, from 63.7% in 2004 to 68.8% in 2008.
Overall, among all racial, ethnic and gender groups, BLACK women had the highest voter turnout rate in the November election of 2008, a first.
Hispanics only gave 67 % of their vote to Obama, and they accounted for 7.4 percent of the 131 million people who voted in the 2008 Presidential election. The Hispanic numbers for Obama pale in comparison to the African Americans who comprised a record 12.1 % of the total vote, 95 percent of whom voted for Obama."
When First Lady Michele Obama made her correct statement: "for the first time in my adult lifetime I'm really proud of my country because I feel that hope is finally making a comeback", Black women and the entire Black community could identify with that statement and vociferously came to her rescue when she was attacked by bigoted Whites and Whites who are still in denial about America's racist past and present.
But Barack Obama didn't give a "tinkers damn about that Black power, and chose to bypass a Black female for said high court and African Americans naively wrongfully gave the vacuous opportunist Obama a free pass.
Will it happen again? Probably. How much longer will we permit politicians like Barack Obama and others of the same ilk to treat us continually like second class citizens?
It appears as though Obama was desirous of making history with his prudent political calculation in selecting the Hispanic Judge Sotomayor to the High Court. With the potential of millions of new Hispanic voters in the very near future, Obama made his decision solely with that prospect in mind.
The appointment of a Supreme Court Jurist is the most important appointment that President Obama will make in his presidency.
Yes we all know that President Obama has numerous highly visible hand picked Black woman in his administration but the Supreme Court is a lifetime job and the most powerful Judicial job in the land.
A Supreme Court appointment rightfully is a horse of another color.
President Obama is greatly influenced by his cadre of AIPAC advisers in his inner circle in the White House, many of whom have never been supportive of a progressive Black agenda and some have even been known to have an Anti-Black agenda bias.
I suspect that the timid Obama is not willing to roll up his sleeves and fight the Republicans and the wishy-washy Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and full Senate for the idea of appointing a Black woman to said court because of the 2010 November elections. But the Democrats may lose big time time regardless of whether he nominates a closet bircher in Elana Kagan or the more liberal Diane Pamela Wood.
Kagan unfortunately can probably be confirmed with the least amount of hassle from the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Obama doesn't want a prolonged fight with Palin and the Tea baggers.
All of the Justices have some sort of Ivy League link, which is not a court of the people.
I would like to see one of those cantankerous White males on the Senate Judiciary Committee, like Sessions, attack a Black woman about something she wrote or said in the past that correctly exposed the myths about our experiment in Democratic governance. I welcome that debate and fight.
Bring it on !
Obama and the banal callous ambivalent Democratic Party can always take Black Americans support and votes for granted because the Democrats and Obama have determined that Black Americans couldn't possibly join the Republican Party or the Tea Party crowd. What about a third independent party made up of true Progressives of all shapes, sizes, and colors, not neo White liberals who at times behave in a very duplicitious fashion towards African Americans and other people of color. It should be clear to all who wish to see it, that the Republican Party, the once venerated party of Lincoln, has unceremoniously yet convincingly become the bed for misfits, arch right-wingers, ne'er-do-wells, reactionaries, and the party of holdover Nazis and Kluxers.
When Justice John Paul Stevens retires, we will not have any Protestants on the Supreme Court and the court will be top heavy with Catholics and Jewish Americans. Is this the type of change we can believe in going into the 21st century having our highest court that doesn't in any way reflect representation accurately from all our demographics and diversity?
Jewish Americans make up roughly 1.3 % of the total U.S. population. So why should they have 22 percent of the Justices on the Supreme Court? Catholic Americans make up 24.5 percent of the U.S. population and six Supreme Court Justices claim membership in the Roman Catholic Church. Their number constitutes 66 percent of all the Supreme Court Jurists. So how is that representation fair and a true microcosm of America?
You're damn right we live in a world of identity politics. Just look at the results of the November 2008 election. I assume that our Harvard Wonder Child can count and do the math. If it wasn't for Black female voters and young people, Barack Hussein Obama would not be living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Obama would be back in the U.S. Senate fighting for his political life and would be targeted by the Tea Party for defeat.
Not appointing a Black woman now to the Supreme Court is not going to make the U.S. less polarized as a society. The USA has been polarized since its violent inception which had and still does have all the components of classism, sexism and racism.
So I ask this question of you, Mr. President: Why won't you nominate a Black woman who can walk on water to the Supreme Court like Leah Ward Sears, Teresa Wynn Roseborough, Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson, Anne Claire Williams, or Lani Guinier, Harvard's first Black female tenured Law School faculty member? If not now, when and why not ?
Many Black Americans in the past and present died in attempting to become an integral part of this evolutionary process of perfecting our Union. The Modern Day Civil Rights Movement was not supposed to benefit or uplift the traitorous conduct and behavior of people like the present Justice, Clarence Thomas. Justice Thomas is the complete antithesis of what the brilliant Thurgood Marshall, John Houston and others fought their entire lives in eradicating all the vestiges of institutional and systemic racism from our country's DNA.
President Obama is keenly aware of the fact that we presently have a pompous unqualified self-hating Negro occupying the Black seat on the U.S Supreme Court in Clarence Thomas.
So will Black females be taken for granted again and "dissed" by the slick talking Obama? Since Obama will probably be the first African American one term President in the modern day era, I say make history and appoint a Protestant Black woman to the High Court. That will be your true legacy, Mr. President and the single most important thing that will make your daughters Malia and Sasha and the Black females and Black men of this nation most proud of your reign in the White House.
You don't see the National Organization Of Women (NOW) advocating the history making appointment of an African American female to the high court because NOW has its own agenda and it has nothing to do with empowering Black, Hispanic or Asian women.
The constitution should represent all the people and not just a select group of elites and corporations.
I urge everyone to call the WHITE HOUSE COMMENTS LINE at 202-456-1111 or write to President Obama and to the First Lady.
Will you call or write or do you choose to stay on the sidelines while important history is being made. I say put up or shut-up or go back and act and behave just as a good little pickaninny, afraid to upset the status quo.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Notre Dame Has First Black Valedictorian, 21 Year Old Katie Washington.

Black Buzz News Service
Notre Dame, Indiana
April 14, 2010

Congratulations to 21 year old Katie Washington, who is the first Black Valedictorian at the University of Notre Dame.
Go Katie and good luck in your studies as you pursue your career objective at the world famous Johns Hopkins University.
Katie is an outstanding role model for all Americans, and I'm quite sure Katie will be one of the top Doctors in the USA in the future.
Go Katie.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bonus Question: What was the final score of the last game at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008 ?

Keynote Addresses Media's Challenges and Changes During Obama Campaign and Going Forward; U.Va. President Receives New Award at Conference

April 7, 2010 — Melissa Harris-Lacewell, an MSNBC commentator and Princeton University politics professor, compared President Barack Obama to an Apple computer in her keynote speech at the University of Virginia conference, "Media, Democracy and Diversity."

She had asked the audience to think of an apple, and then asked if they thought of a red one or green one – or that different apple, the Macintosh computer. She pointed out that 35 years ago, no one would think of a computer, because the Mac didn't exist.

Similarly, the American public hadn't imagined a black U.S. president before Barack Obama. The only idea Americans pictured was an older white gentleman, she said. That doesn't mean people didn't want someone black or brown or female to become president; it just wasn't a picture that matched what people knew.

New social media, such as Facebook, helped changed that picture during Obama's presidential campaign.

"I believe our political imaginations are severely constrained by our schema, by our conceptions – the pictures in our head about the way the world is and should be," said Harris-Lacewell, who grew up in Charlottesville.

The April 2 interdisciplinary conference explored the media's impact on issues of identity, inclusion and citizenship. Among the topics were media representations of Haiti before and after the earthquake, the influence of a Jewish scholar on African-American self-identity, and racial stereotypes of Middle Easterners in film.

The conference was hosted by U.Va.'s Office for Diversity and Equity in collaboration with almost two dozen entities around Grounds.

Dr. Marcus L. Martin, interim vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, conferred a new award at the conference, the University of Virginia Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Leadership Award, upon its first recipient – U.Va. President John T. Casteen III.

"As University president for the past 20 years, Mr. Casteen has provided strong and consistent leadership in creating an environment that fosters diversity, equity and inclusion," Martin said.

In political media, Harris-Lacewell said, diversity and inclusion create new lenses – or "apples" – through which political leaders are viewed, which "starts to alter the possibilities of who counts as citizens and who actually has the right to speak on what our country is up to."

"We also begin to imagine the possibility of new 'apples' that might look on the world through new sets of eyes," she said of media representatives. "... That a lesbian and a black on TV could talk about American politics is an indication of new possibilities in media," she said, referring to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and herself.

She said new media have created a political landscape in which traditional reporters and commentators must find their place. It had been important to conform to schema we know. Media pundits would say someone appears or looks presidential, or behaves presidentially, she said.

The Obama campaign had to figure out how to help citizens imagine a president who was black. As a commentator, Harris-Lacewell said she found herself explaining what Obama's race meant in American politics and culture.

One thing media representatives and commentators have had to learn is how to translate the new political reality of the growing diversity in politicians besides Obama.

"It was a border-crossing election. Both parties were doing things they didn't normally do," she said.

Obama might be a role model now, but that's not going to keep young black men out of prison, Harris-Lacewell said. It does, however, create a shift in what is possible because the picture has been changed.

New technologies have changed what media is, she said. Now there's easy access and a two-way intimacy, and it's more democratic. Information passes through new media forms, not from traditional media sources necessarily, but because people online send links and opinions.

"It changes in a fundamental way how people think about what media information is. It creates a participatory media culture," Harris-Lacewell said.

Facebook, for example, provided a place where people could say what they felt, whether they were objecting to or agreeing with something, and that kept them engaged and part of the coalition, she said.

People could signal their support by identifying with Obama through social media: people took his middle name, Hussein, as an act of solidarity. They used Obama pictures as their own profile pictures; the red donation button became an immediate way to say, "I support this candidate."

She objected to the idea that Obama's election signified an end to racism in America.

"It's not so much that the election of Barack Obama inaugurated a new racial moment as a culmination of a racial history. His election was only made possible by a struggle that extends back at least 100 years to the struggles of African-Americans to find a place of equality in a context of racial inequality," she said.

The task now is to continue to create media that will allow people to imagine a world that looks different than our world right now, Harris-Lacewell said. She called for planting a new orchard in public discourse, one that imagines the possibility of equality, bringing down structural inequalities, imagining the creation of change and translating what those changes mean.

— By Anne Bromley