Category Archives: Editorial

Why I’m voting for Hillary Clinton (Part2)

I wrote this as a sequel to a post from earlier this week on my other blog. That one was for class, but this one dives further into racial motivations behind supporting the Clintons. Please check out part 1. 

I hear a lot of confusion from people my age when they hear that I or any other black person is voting for Hillary Clinton. Go ahead and get your jokes out of the way now, because I have a lot of explaining to do.
One of the first things I hear is, “Why would you support the Clintons? They have done the black community no favors and have labeled your young as ‘Super Predators in the past’”. So let’s talk about that.

In the above clip, Madam Clinton makes reference to the rise in youth gang rise, specifically implying that minority children were to blame. In the video she called them ‘super predators’ incapable of empathy who needed to be ‘brought to heel’. This, of course, is problematic because of the dehumanizing nature of Hillary’s word choice. Yes, it was vicious and condescending, but it was also 20 years ago. No, I don’t support the rhetoric. And yes, she has apologized since.

Twenty years ago the nation was in the midst of a crime epidemic in its major cities, affecting many minority neighborhoods in particular. I don’t know if you know this, but the 90’s were rough for the black community. As a community we were still feeling the effects of the crack epidemic AND watching members of our community succumb to AIDS/HIV. The consensus was that the streets needed cleaning through tough legislation that a MAJORITY of Americans – regardless of color – endorsed. At the time, Bill Clinton’s tough on crime rhetoric was deemed necessary by society. And for a time, inner city minority populaces prospered from these reforms. Neighborhoods were made safer with the unintended consequence of prisons overcrowding in disproportionate populations. It was a double edged sword that both protected members of the community and targeted others – but it was needed at the time. There goes one point to Clinton from the black community – cleaning up our streets. Clinton administration legislation made it so that a young Kendrick Lamar didn’t get shot through his own front window while watching cartoons and eating cereal. As somebody who once came home to a yellow tape outline where somebody died on my front porch as a kid, I can tell you about the violence that can precipitate in lower-income minority communities. I’ve also been the subject of unfair racially motivated targeting.

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Editorial: The Cordoba House at Park51 (The Mosque at Ground Zero)

The idea of a mosque built in the area surrounding ground zero seems to divide the multicultural American public over issues of religious freedom and moral sensitivity.

The alleged ground zero mosque is a privately owned building two city blocks away from the site of the 9/11 attacks. After being damaged in the attacks, the building remained empty until it’s purchase by real estate company Soho Properties in 2009. Soho properties purchased the building as a part of it’s Cordoba Initiative. Before this purchase, the buildings previous tenant was a Burlington Coat Factory location.

[ What’s the Cordoba Initiative? ]

[According the official site, the Cordoba initiative is working to improve relationship between Muslims and western culture. Cordoba refers the capital of Muslim controlled Iberian Peninsula during the 10th and 11th centuries. In this time, there was a truce between Christian, Muslim and Jewish Kingdoms.  The Cordoba House at Park51 is a planned $100 million, 13 story Islamic community center that will include a memorial space for the 9/11 attacks and a separate mosque open to the public. Among the planned features is a culinary school, 500 seat auditorium, restaurant and fitness center with a pool. The site goes on to explain that Cordoba House will be a place of multiple faiths coming together to understand each other. ]

As suggested by recent polls, the public is split in half on the issue, with a slight majority against the center being built. An August poll conducted by Marist Poll concluded that 53% of Manhattan residents support the center, however.

The biggest trend I have noticed among the opposition of the center is the lack of accurate information. By continuing to call Park51 a “Mosque on Ground Zero”, the actual nature of the project is perverted. The average American is rightfully offended by the idea of a solely Islamic place of worship being placed on the 9/11 site, but this is not that situation. What Soho Properties is proposing is a center for understanding, intended for the diverse public.

Presidential Backlash

[President Obama recently spoke in support of the center during a White House Ramadaan dinner on August 13th.

“Let me be clear: as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” Obama stated. “And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.  This is America.  And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.

The president came under fire for these words of support from several media outlets and families of the attacks. He later clarified these statements by saying he was speaking in support of freedom of religion and not the location of the center.]

Another concern from the informed public is the amount of emotion involved in the project. While the Cordoba House has good intentions, the proximity of an Islamic center so close to the 9/11 site is something that will never be accepted by a portion of Americans. Too often is the image of Islam represented by misguided extremists.

These Americans will continue to view Islam through the same extremist veil that blinded the Jihadists on the morning of September 11th and led the 645 reported hate crimes in the week following.

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Editorial: The Obama Administration and The Race Question.

By William Johnson

In the weeks following the Sherry Sherrod Department of Agriculture debacle, news outlets have begun to question the non involvement approach President Obama has taken when presented with race relation issues.

In the week following the incident, the President saw his lowest approval ratings from the African-American public at 85%. General approval ratings, however, remained constant for other key demographics. While most blacks stand behind the president, black leaders like Jesse Jackson offer constant criticism of his performance when addressing race issues.

Even before taking office, the President began to receive criticism as a member of the black elite who was talking down to black people by Jackson and other black leaders. In a July 2008 interview with Fox News, the civil rights leader was heard stating that he wanted to “rip Obama’s nuts off”. As if terrorist allegations weren’t enough of a deterrent, Obama is taking fire from both end of the political and racial spectrum.

Fewer black Americans are seeing President Obama as a black president and more as a president who just happens to be black. In my opinion, this is better for the leader of our country.

The president is a symbol of the people. He is a representation of the entire country, not just one race or group. The power of the American president is measured by the support of the American people. When our leader begins to neglect the needs of one group in favor of another, that’s when he begins to lose that power.

While I do believe that President Obama should involve himself more with race relations, I think he should try to do so objectively. Not as a black crusader, but as an equal mediator. I would rather see the president present a comprise that upsets all parties, than a decision that favors one race over another.

A good example of the above mentioned proposition in the past month is when the Obama Administration encouraged Arizona lawmakers to contest certain sections of the state’s new immigration law. Articles that required immigrants to carry their papers and required police to determine the immigration status of persons they believe to be illegal were blocked. While the law itself was not reversed, these key portions were ruled unconstitutional. Among the articles that went into effect is one that makes it illegal for employers to pick up day workers off of the street.

Even after this attempted compromise, conservative leaders of Arizona are unhappy with the blocked provisions while members of the opposing side still protest over the rest of the law. This case will likely go on to the Supreme Court, where a final decsion will be made.

This is how the Obama Administration should intervene in race related issues. Not with a crusading sense of right and wrong, but with the strength to meet in the middle of polarizing opinions of the two.

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