(By Mark Hillman, <em>'76</em> Contributor) Some 30 years ago, a common retort by my classmates when told that we could not do something was, "It's a free country, isn't it? I don't hear that rhetorical
(By Vincent McGuire, Centennial Fellow) What is the future of race relations in America? In the short term, it will be a long, hot summer. There is little reason to believe that the violence, on
(Centennial Fellow) When I was in law school, I had the privilege of working at the Institute on Race & Poverty. IRP was focused on issues that were found at the intersection of race and poverty. IRP recognized that while race and poverty were concerns independent of each other, when they intersected, it raised a different and more complex set of concerns. I appreciated that perspective as a law student, but as a professional and a community member, the realities of that perspective have deepened over time.
(’76 Contributor) I was intrigued by a statement from Christopher Torres, a faculty member at Ohio State University at Mansfield. Mr. Torres stated that, “The world is normalized to be White” (Arnett, 2015). Mr. Torres further asserts that unless someone has “lived experiences of being on the short end of the privilege”, efforts to understand those affected by White privilege are in essence futile. I perceive these statements to be cataclysmic because they offered, at best, marginal hope that non-white populations will have an opportunity to engage in American society.
“Dead cops.” “When do we want that?” “Now.” You didn’t hear it for the first time here. You heard it all around the country recently after two separate Grand Juries, in two different cities, determined that there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against police officers who killed an “innocent” citizen with a gun. And those words of hatred were spewed by “peaceful” demonstrators many of whom were engaged in rioting and looting of businesses.
Given the hyper-charged rhetoric and sheer level of irrationality surrounding the violence in Ferguson, Mo., I suppose we ought to consider ourselves fortunate if the principle lesson drawn from the whole sad affair is there are some people who like to break and throw things and set cars and stores on fire. Because it seems highly unlikely anything that would actually help poor black communities will be allowed to emerge from the ashes of that unfortunate city.
In our legal system, facts rule. In our societal system, perceptions rule. The challenge is reconciling the two in order to achieve fairness and justice. Fundamentally it is this tension between the two that is at the core of the current discord in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of Michael Brown. And it is our approach to the results that will allow us to address the underlying issues.
We’ve had plenty of rhetorical villains since the fatal police shooting of a black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, little more than grandstanders stirring up fear in vengeful tones. And we’ve had violence and looting, mostly by nonresidents taking advantage of a tragedy to enrich themselves. But we’ve had heroes, too, and, at the young man’s funeral, we had calls for engaged citizenship and a stop to community disruption.
Rep. Paul Ryan recently said the wrong kind of welfare can breed dependency, and liberals are beating up on him but good. They are saying that he is once again showing how conservatives do not care about the poor when in fact liberals are the ones who continuously assault them. They repeatedly practice cruelty in their politics, as many so obviously did with Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
(’76 Contributor) Harry Reid is not racist and Republican calls for his resignation are misguided. There I said it. The senate majority leader has recently come under fire for remarks attributed to him in the new book “Game Change.” Authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann say that in 2008 Reid described then candidate Obama as a “’light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.’” The comments have been seen by some as being racially insensitive.