Breaking Brown

Black Politics

17/06/14 Black News , Black Politics , ybw #

Obama Administration Officials Believe Affirmative Action is “Doomed”, New York Times Reports

Obama Administration Officials Believe Affirmative Action is “Doomed”, New York Times Reports

affirmative action

Even though schools and universities are still allowed to consider a number of factors in their admissions process, the Supreme Court upheld a Michigan law banning the use of race as a factor in admissions. According to David Leonhardt of the New York Times, even officials in the Obama administration have concluded that affirmative action is “doomed.”

As Leonhardt notes, five of the Supreme Court justices are not in favor of race based programs at all. In addition, the court already put the burden on affirmative action programs to prove that “race neutral” programs don’t work. Eight states have already banned affirmative action based on race and the issue is under consideration in other states as well.

Given the predicament of affirmative action programs, some are wondering if it’s not time to replace race based affirmative with a class based version:

Black and Latino students are more likely to live in poor neighborhoods than white and Asian students with similar incomes. Black and Latino families are also less wealthy than white and Asian families. And black children in particular are much more likely to be growing up without two parents in their home.

Proponents of a new kind of affirmative action prefer an approach that focuses on wealth, neighborhood and family structure, as well as parents’ income, education and other factors. Doing so steers clear of the legal restrictions on racial classifications — and, in the minds of most Americans, is fair. Is an affluent teenager with a 1,300 SAT score really more accomplished than the valedictorian of a troubled high school with a 1,250? No.

But there is a negative side to class based affirmative action as well:

The biggest downside to these class-based approaches is that they don’t acknowledge the role that race plays in American society. If you somehow found otherwise identical white and black students — living in the same neighborhood, with the same income, wealth and structure — the black student would still probably have to do more just to keep up. Racism is not dead, as social-science research makes clear.

BreakingBrown also recently reported that black judges had been unfairly rated by white lawyers in Massachusetts during routine surveys, calling attention to how pervasive race is in American society. But since the Supreme Court has set the stage for the gutting of affirmative action, universities in conservative states may have no choice but to transition to a class based system.

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12/06/14 Black News , Black Politics , featured , ybw #

Obama Says Black Men Aren’t Doing Well Because They Don’t Have Daddies

Obama Says Black Men Aren’t Doing Well Because They Don’t Have Daddies

Obama parenting.jpg

by Yvette Carnell

In an interview with President Bush’s daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, President Obama admitted that “a lot of young men of color aren’t doing well” but yet again, demonstrated that he has little empirical understanding of the causes for that failure.

“The truth is, is that a lot of young men of color aren’t doing well. Partly because they don’t have dads in their lives. Partly because they don’t have networks of support. It’s important to me partly because, you know, I grew up without a dad, and you know, I know that I went through my own struggles,” said Obama.

“I made a decision in young adulthood that it was going to be important for me to make sure that I was there for my kids,” Obama added. “I’ve really tried to make sure that I didn’t miss parent-teacher conferences, that I didn’t miss the ballet recitals or the soccer games. I tried to be disciplined about if I’m in town, being home for dinner every single night, and I think it’s made a difference. You know the one thing the girls know about me is I love them to death.”

Fathers are important, but so is government. As Jamelle Bouie explained in The Daily Beast, so-called dead beat dads didn’t create the ghettos, government did:

Redlining is the practice of denying key services (like home loans and insurance) or increasing their costs for residents in a defined geographical area. In theory, this could be used against anyone. In reality, it was almost exclusively a tool to force blacks (and other minorities) into particular geographic areas. The practice began with the National Housing Act of 1934, which established the Federal Housing Administration, as well as the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. It was this agency which created “residential security maps” for several cities to determine the safety of real estate investments in selected areas.

You should already see where this is going: Existing black neighborhoods were lined as unsafe, and thus ineligible for financing. For prospective property owner, this was terrible: Absent cash on hand, there was no way to afford a home or a business in your area.

The result was staggering:

In short, redlining forced blacks into particular areas and then starved those areas of affordable capital. Combined with widespread job discrimination—which barred blacks from public employment and forced them into low-wage labor—you had neighborhoods that were impoverished by design.

And redlining is just one example out of many of how the U.S. government, not black
fathers, set the stage for what we are seeing now. As professor Michelle Alexander noted, white men are prepared to make billions from legalized pot while black men are languishing in prisons over low level pot sales.

And if you go back even further, Ira Katznelson does an excellent job of detailing how black people were intentionally omitted from FDR’s New Deal. The result was that immigrant whites were given a ladder up to the middle class while blacks remained in poverty, hence the wealth gap we still see today. It will take policy to correct that, not daddy getting home in time for dinner.

Listen, I know Father’s Day is coming, but for once, I’d appreciate it if Obama would stop trying to be the Daddy of Black America and behave as the President of the United States of America. I wish he would stop trying to be the daddy some black men never had and be the president they never had. What they need is an advocate in the White House, not someone to pat them on the head. This is about policy, something over which Obama has some control, or at least he should, not just fatherhood.




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11/06/14 Black News , Black Politics , ybw #

Los Angeles Sues Citibank Over Predatory Loans to Blacks That Led to Foreclosures

Los Angeles Sues Citibank Over Predatory Loans to Blacks That Led to Foreclosures


A federal judge is allowing the city of Los Angeles to go forward with a lawsuit alleging that Citibank’s predatory loans in minority neighborhoods led to a ballooning number of foreclosures.

According to Courthouse News Service, the city of Los Angeles is accusing Citibank of “reverse redlining”, leading to shuddered neighborhoods and vastly declining property taxes. Data presented by the city showed that from 2004 to 2011, blacks were more than two times as likely as whites to receive predatory loans from Citibank. According to the city, at least 1,200 of those bad loans resulted in foreclosures.

“As L.A. points out, the complaint is rife with allegations that defendants targeted minority borrowers for unfair loan terms based on race or national origin,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright.

The judge then referred to a 1979 Supreme Court case, adding, “the Supreme Court made clear that ‘a significant reduction in property values directly injures a municipality by diminishing its tax base, thus threatening its ability to bear the costs of local government and to provide services.”

Wright concluded: “The court finds that it need go no further with respect to L.A.’s alleged injuries of decreased property-tax revenue and increased municipal services.”

Citibank had attempted to persuade the judge that the city’s claims were non-specific, but Wright remained unconvinced by the bank’s argument. Wright found that “at this stage of the litigation, the court finds L.A.’s allegations sufficient to show that defendants’ challenged conduct was determinative or had a coercive effect on lowering a property’s assessment.”



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06/06/14 Black News , Black Politics , featured , ybw #

As U.S. Promises $1 Billion to Europe, Watch Detroit Decay in Real Time

As U.S. Promises $1 Billion to Europe, Watch Detroit Decay in Real Time

On Tuesday President Obama vowed to spend $1 billion dollars boosting America’s military presence in Europe as part of an effort to assuage concerns regarding Russian aggression. Although President Obama is willing to commit to spending American tax dollars to isolate Russia, there is apparently no interest in allocating funds to a U.S. city that not only looks like a third world country, but shares many of the same deplorable statistics.

The images below, taken from Weburbanist, show what Detroit’s neighborhoods once looked like with a time lapsed image showing how they’ve declined.


Detoit Decay.jpg

Here’s a second:

Detroit decay2.jpg

As has been previously detailed, the infant mortality rate in Detroit rivals third world countries. Children born premature face sometimes fatal challenges of “collapsing lungs” and “failing organs.” What’s worse, more premature babies are born in Detroit than in any other state in the U.S.

The stories of people struggling in Detroit are just as heartbreaking. A story reported about a father named Don who collected wood in order to keep his family alive resulted in an outpouring of charity. Don told Fox 2 at the time that he collected the wood so that he could burn it and keep his kids from freezing to death.

“The same fire that keeps us warm, feeds us,” Don said, as he described caring for his kids while living in an abandoned home.

Although people like Don are being told that the government doesn’t have money for social services, the president of the United States is boasting about dropping a billion dollars to secure an extremely wealthy and white continent. As usual, America’s priorities are squarely out of order.

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06/06/14 Black News , Black Politics , ybw #

United Negro College Fund Accepts $25 Million From Conservative Koch Brothers

United Negro College Fund Accepts $25 Million From Conservative Koch Brothers


Friday is a day when people dump news that they don’t want widely publicized, so it comes as no surprise that the United Negro College Fund chose today to announce that the organization has received a $25 million dollar gift from the conservative Koch brothers.

The Associated Press reports that the Charles Koch Foundation, an organization headed by one of the ultra conservative Koch Brothers, gave the UNCF the multi-million dollar grant.

The grant designates $18.5 million dollars to go toward 3,000 merit based scholarships for African-American students and $6.5 million to go toward African-American colleges. The money certainly comes at the right time, considering how many HBCUs are struggling thanks in part to the Obama administration’s changes to PLUS loan guidelines.

Michael Lomax, CEO of the UNCF, maintains that the organization has always reached out to donors regardless of ideological background. Given the divisive nature of today’s politics, however, Lomax says he knows he’ll take heat for the decision to accept money from the Koch brothers. He’s OK with that considering he turns down 100,000 needy students annually. From his point of view, the need is too great for him to turn down millions of dollars that could go toward educating African-American students.

“Criticism is a small price for helping young people get the chance to realize their dream of a college education, and if I’ve got to bear the brunt of someone else’s criticism to ensure that we have the resources to help those students, then I can handle it, and I can take the heat,” Lomax told the AP.

Lomax says he met Charles Koch for lunch and found that they both agreed on the importance of education.

“We talked about students. We talked about the kinds of support they need. We talked about the shared belief that there are a lot of talented young people there whose lives will be transformed if they get a chance to complete a college degree,” Lomax said.


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