Archive for the ‘Racial Politics’ Category

Jackie Robinson Day Celebrates Liberty

April 15, 1947 may be the beginning.

It was seven years before Brown v Board of Education overturned government sanctioned segregation.

It was eight years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and the Montgomery Bus Boycott put a local reverend into the national civil rights spotlight.

And it was 10 years until nine students desegregated Central High School in Little Rock.

Yes, today is the 65th anniversary of when Jackie Robinson took his position on the field as the first black man to play Major League Baseball since 1880.

The color barrier was broken.

But the sad thing about this celebration is that it seems to be only celebrated by baseball itself.

The reason for this in this blogger’s mind is because the Brooklyn Dodgers did it on their own. There were no groups protesting, no government agencies defining acceptable numbers that equal diversity, no lawsuits demanding a court ordered solution. No shakedowns.

It was because one courageous white man, Branch Rickey, convinced his team of the importance of giving black ballplayers a chance. So, years before this date, he began searching for the right black man with the baseball skills and temperament to handle the naked hatred of racism; he found his man in Robinson.

Baseball is a team sport and breaking color barriers is a team effort. Rickey and Robinson were that courageous team.

They changed baseball first. Larry Doby followed later that year as the first black player in the American League when he debuted with the Cleveland Indians in July.

They changed the fortunes of the Dodgers next. The Dodgers had not been in a World Series since 1941. But the very year they added Robinson they went to the Series. Off and on throughout the 1950′s the Dodgers went.

The Indians won the World Series in 1948 the following year after adding Doby.

In fact teams who broke the color barrier had greater success than those who refused.

This is not surprising to those of us who believe in removing the barriers holding back individuals. It is sad that our nation founded in liberty took so long to remove them.

And most importantly it changed society. Not completely because it is on the surface just a game. But black ballplayers were voted into All Star Games starting in 1949. Fans voted for their favorites, for the best players regardless of skin color or ethnicity.

Think about it. Think about how accepting, cheering, rooting for your team and your player who is black and how profoundly it can change some minds and hearts. And how much bolder it made those white people who did not have racial prejudice become. Remember it takes those from the inside to work on removing racial barricades as much as it takes those trying to break through to create real individual liberty.

That is what is so important about today.

One man, Branch Rickey, opened a previously barred entry-way and said welcome in to do your best.

Another man, Jackie Robinson, walked in and made himself belong as he should.

And one nation is all the better for it.

Remember Rickey and Robinson.

Play ball!

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This “Barbell” Is One “Dumbbell”

Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.

~Otto von Bismarck

Redistricting must by like Victor Frankenstein piecing together his creature.  Ohio’s Frankensteins are working in the labs behind closed doors trying to fit all the cadaver parts remaining from the 2010 Census together, hoping to form a political monster that lives while keeping us villagers quiet.

If this Frankenstein creature ever comes to life, we need to shove it back onto its slab in the back room lab and dismember it.

Brent Larkin reporting in The Plain Dealer about how the Republican controlled state house is trying to preserve a minority district currently represented by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge.

[...] the plan currently favored by House Speaker Bill Batchelder and others would produce a congressional district unlike anything ever drawn in Ohio.

To preserve Ohio’s minority representation in Congress — and to comply with judicial interpretations of the 1965 Voting Rights Act — a barbell-shaped district would include most of Cleveland and then wind its way far south to include predominantly black neighborhoods in Akron.

This stunning plan, confirmed by Batchelder and Cleveland NAACP President George Forbes, may be the only way to retain a congressional seat in Ohio that’s essentially guaranteed to be occupied by a black.

This barbell will wind its way down the Cuyahoga River Valley to connect majority black Cleveland neighborhoods to majority black Akron neighborhoods.  Two urban cities linked by a river valley.

Barbell?  Dumb-bell would have been a better word choice.

“We have an obligation to create a district that includes upwards of 60 percent minorities,” Batchelder said last week. “We can’t do that in Cuyahoga County, I don’t think.”

Although that may change when census figures are available, Batchelder said the only way to maintain a minority district probably would require expanding Fudge’s current territory south, through the sparsely populated Cuyahoga Valley, and into Akron’s predominantly black neighborhoods.

I don’t understand why in 2011 this racial-gerrymandering is still a requirement.  A multi-racial but primarily self-identified as African-American is president.  He was elected with votes from all ethnic groups not just blacks.  He was a U.S. Senator elected again by a racially diverse majority of voters in Illinois.   We don’t segregate our States by race to protect and create minority Senate seats.

We would not tolerate segregation in schools, employment, housing, sports…anything.  Yet, elected leaders of both ethnic groups will happily segregate communities to insure one race will have one seat in Congress.

Whites and other ethnic or racial groups will vote for black candidates.  Alan West won last year in Florida’s 22 Congressional district that is 75% white.

District Demographics

Race and ethnicity District U.S.
White 75.6% 65.9%
Black 5.6% 12.1%
Hispanic 15.0% 15.1%
Asian 2.1% 4.3%
Native American 0.2% 0.7%

We citizens regardless of pigmentation or ethnicity are beyond our so-called leadership when it comes to race issues.  President Obama, who is black in case you didn’t hear or read it, won with 43% of the white vote in 2008 which was near what most Democrats can expect.

Barack Obama, who will be the nation’s first African-American president, won the largest share of white support of any Democrat in a two-man race since 1976 amid a backdrop of economic anxiety unseen in at least a quarter-century, according to exit polls by The Associated Press and the major television networks.

Batchelder as well as Larkin cite judicial interpretations of the 1965 Voting Rights Act supporting this dumb-bell of a plan.

But your humble tapper of the keys and searcher of the Internet cannot find anything of the sort.

There are two U.S. Supreme Court rulings against racial-gerrymandering: Miller v. Johnson and Bush v. Vera.

Some judges and proponents of racially drawn congressional districts have interpreted Section 5 of the Act as requiring racial gerrymandering in order to ensure minority representation. The United States Supreme Court in Miller v. Johnson515 U.S. 900 (1995), overturned a 1992 Congressional redistricting plan which had created minority majority districts in Georgia as unconstitutional gerrymander. In Bush v. Vera, the Supreme Court, in a plurality opinion, rejected Texas’s contention that Section 5 required racially-gerrymandered districts.

In Miller:

The Court ruled against the district, declaring it to be a “geographic monstrosity.” It was declared unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, according to the interpretation in Shaw v. Reno (1993).

A “geographic monstrosity” like a dumb-bell?

If our laws demand we segregate by race to comply with a voting law designed to make it illegal to use race as a barrier to voting, then as a wise-guy said:

The Law Is An Ass!

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