Thursday, December 25, 2014
Black Progression and Retrogression
By Walter E. Williams
There is no question, though it's not acknowledged enough, that black Americans have made greater gains, over some of the highest hurdles and in a very short span of time, than any other racial group in mankind's history.
What's the evidence? If black Americans were thought of as a nation with their own gross domestic product, they'd rank among the 20 wealthiest nations. It was a black American, Gen. Colin Powell, who headed the mightiest military in mankind's history. A few black Americans are among the world's wealthiest. Many black Americans are among the world's most famous personalities.
The significance of all this is that in 1865, neither an ex-slave nor an ex-slave owner would have believed that such progress would be possible in less than a century and a half. As such, it speaks to the intestinal fortitude of a people. Just as importantly, it speaks to the greatness of a nation within which such progress was possible. That progress would have been impossible anywhere except in the United States of America. The challenge that lies before us is how those gains can be extended to a large percentage of black people for whom they appear elusive.
A good start to meeting that challenge is to recognize that much of the pathology seen in many black communities is entirely new in black history. Let's look at some of that history. In the late 1800s, depending on the city, 70 to 80 percent of black households were two-parent. In 1925 New York City, 85 percent of black households were two-parent. As late as 1950, only 18 percent of black households were single-parent. From 1890 to 1940, a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. In 1940, black illegitimacy was about 14 percent.
Today it's an entirely different story. Black illegitimacy is 75 percent. Close to 50 percent of marriage-age blacks never marry. Close to 70 percent of black households are female-headed. If one thinks family structure doesn't matter, consider that the poverty rate among black female-headed families is about 47 percent but among married families it has been in the single digits for more than two decades. It's not just poverty. Children raised by single parents are likelier to be physically abused; use drugs; engage in violent, delinquent and criminal behavior; have emotional and behavioral problems; and drop out of school.
What about employment? Every census from 1890 to 1950 showed that black labor force participation rates were higher than those of whites. Today it's a mere fraction. Prior to the mid-'50s, the unemployment rate for black 16- and 17-year-olds was under 10 percent and less than that of whites. Who would argue that this more favorable employment picture was because there was less racial discrimination in the job market in earlier times? Labor laws such as the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 — a federal minimum wage law for construction workers — and the 1938 federal minimum wage law for all workers reduced work opportunities for blacks.
Then there's the high crime rate. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation's population, they are more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it's 22 times that of whites. Along with being most of the nation's homicide victims, blacks are most of the victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault and robbery.
Older black people, who were raised in an era when there was far greater discrimination and who faced far fewer opportunities, need to speak out against behavior and excuses that their parents would have never accepted. Otherwise, the race hustlers, poverty pimps and white liberals will continue with the narrative that black problems are a result of racism and racist cops and condemn future generations of blacks to a lifetime of mediocrity.
How Western Media Enable Islamic Terrorism
As the West experiences a rise in the sort of terror attacks that are endemic to the Islamic world-church attacks, sex-slavery and beheadings-it is only natural that the same mainstream media that habitually conceals such atrocities "over there," especially against Christians and other minorities under Islam, would also conceal the reality of jihadi aspirations "over here."
As The Commentator reports:
[T]he level of the [media] grovelling after the tragic and deadly saga in Sydney Australia over the last 24 hours has been astounding.
At the time of writing, the lead story on the BBC website is of course about that very tragedy, in which an Islamist fanatic took a random group hostage in a cafe, ultimately killing two of them.
He did this in the name of Islam. But you wouldn't get that impression if you started to read the BBC's lead story, which astoundingly managed to avoid mentioning the words Islam, Islamic, Islamist, Muslim, or any derivations thereof for a full 16 paragraphs. The New York Times, which led by calling the terrorist, Man Haron Monis an "armed man", waited until paragraph 11.
In the Guardian's main story - whose lead paragraph simply referred to a "gunman" - you had to wait until paragraph 24. If you'd have blinked, you'd have missed it. [...]
In the wider media, reports about Muslim fears of a "backlash" have been all but ubiquitous.
If these are the lengths that Western mainstream media go to dissemble about the Islamic-inspired slaughter of Western peoples, it should now be clear why the ubiquitous Muslim persecution of those unfashionable Christian minorities is also practically unknown by those who follow Western mainstream media.
As with the Sydney attack, media headlines say it all. The 2011 New Year's Eve Coptic church attack that left 28 dead appeared under vague headlines: "Clashes grow as Egyptians remain angry after attack," was the New York Times' headline; and "Christians clash with police in Egypt after attack on churchgoers kills 21" was the Washington Post's-as if frustrated and harried Christians lashing out against their oppressors is the "big news," not the unprovoked atrocity itself; as if their angry reaction "evens" everything up.
Similarly, the Los Angeles Times partially told the story of an Egyptian off-duty police officer who, after identifying Copts by their crosses on a train, opened fire on them, killing one, while screaming "Allahu Akbar"-but to exonerate the persecution, as caught by the report's headline: "Eyewitness claims train attacker did not target Copts, state media say."
A February 2012 NPR report titled "In Egypt, Christian-Muslim Tension is on the Rise," while meant to familiarize readers with the situation of Egypt's Christians, prompts more questions than answers them: "In Egypt, growing tensions between Muslims and Christians have led to sporadic violence [initiated by whom?]. Many Egyptians blame the interreligious strife on hooligans [who?] taking advantage of absent or weak security forces. Others believe it's because of a deep-seated mistrust between Muslims and the minority Christian community [what are the sources of this "mistrust"?]."
The photo accompanying the story is of angry Christians holding a cross aloft-not Muslims destroying crosses, which is what prompted the former to this display of Christian solidarity.
Blurring the line between victim and oppressor-recall the fear of "anti-Muslim backlash" whenever a Muslim terrorizes "infidels" in the West-also applies to the media's reporting on Muslim persecution of Christians.
A February 2012 BBC report on a church attack in Nigeria that left three Christians dead, including a toddler, objectively states the bare bone facts in one sentence. Then it jumps to apparently thereally big news: that "the bombing sparked a riot by Christian youths, with reports that at least two Muslims were killed in the violence. The two men were dragged off their bikes after being stopped at a roadblock set up by the rioters, police said. A row of Muslim-owned shops was also burned..."
The report goes on and on, with an entire section about "very angry" Christians till one confuses victims with persecutors, forgetting what the Christians are "very angry" about in the first place: nonstop terror attacks on their churches and the slaughter of their women and children.
A New York Times report that appeared on December 25, 2011-the day after Boko Haram bombed several churches during Christmas Eve services, leaving some 40 dead-said that such church bombings threaten "to exploit the already frayed relations between Nigeria's nearly evenly split populations of Christians and Muslims..." Such an assertion suggests that both Christians and Muslims are equally motivated by religious hostility-even as one seeks in vain for Christian terror organizations that bomb mosques in Nigeria to screams of "Christ is Great!"
Meanwhile, Boko Haram has torched 185 churches-to say nothing of the countless Christians beheaded-in just the last few months alone.
Continuing to grasp for straws, the same NYT report suggests that the Nigerian government's "heavy-handed" response to Boko Haram is responsible for its terror, and even manages to invoke another mainstream media favorite: the poverty-causes-terrorism myth.
Whether Muslim mayhem is taking place in the Islamic or Western worlds, the mainstream media shows remarkable consistency in employing an arsenal of semantic games, key phrases, convenient omissions, and moral relativism to portray such violence as a product of anything and everything-political and historical grievances, "Islamophobia," individual insanity, poverty and ignorance, territorial disputes-not Islam.
As such, Western media keep Western majorities in the dark about the Islamic threat, here and abroad. In short, the "MSM" protects and enables the Islamic agenda-irrespective of whether its distortions are a product of intent, political correctness, or sheer stupidity.
‘Palestinian Rights Activism’ Panel Turns Perpetrators into Victims
Israel is a twenty-first century "litmus test of a real commitment to justice," the "Vietnam," the "South Africa," and "moral issue of our time" according to leftwing icon Angela Davis, quoted approvingly by Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi on November 21 before an audience of about fifty. Khalidi's panel discussion of "The Legal Assault on Palestinian Rights Activism" over a lunch of sandwiches and drinks at the Service Employees International Union's (SEIU) Washington, DC, headquarters twisted anti-Israel hatred and criminality into Israeli persecution of Palestinians.
Khalidi opened the panel by condemning a "sort of advocacy that dare not speak its name" for "unequal and inferior rights for Palestinians." "Who wants to identify with forty-seven years of colonial occupation?" he asked, referring to territories Israel won in self-defense during the 1967 war. In facing ostensibly honest Palestinian organizations, Israel's supporters thus resort to "underhanded means" of "disinformation" or "outright vilification," such as "anti-Semitism" charges, "something that cheapens a very serious issue." Nonetheless, he continued, "Palestinian rights activism in the United States has taken on a remarkable vitality" concerning a "very straightforward" conflict he portrayed in stark Israel-black/Palestinian-white terms.
Andrew Daleck from the National Lawyers Guild, a leftwing organization with Communist roots, described his involvement defending Rasmeah Odeh, who was convicted on November 10 of immigration fraud. Among other facts, Odeh had concealed from American immigration authorities in 1995 and 2004 her Israeli conviction and ten-year imprisonment for killing two in a 1969 Jerusalem terrorist bombing. Daleck reiterated Odeh's unsubstantiated story that her "sexual assault and torture" by Israeli officials had procured a "spurious conviction."
Daleck preposterously decried Odeh's American prosecution as an "indictment of Rasmeah's activism" and "identity" as a "Palestinian woman . . . committed to her people's self-determination." He baselessly asserted in the subsequent question period that "orientalism and racism" often motivate American prosecutions of individuals like Odeh, while "some of these prosecutors are Zionists themselves," as if support for an American ally proved courtroom bias. "I have grown to love and adore her," Daleck gushed, while praising the terrorist Odeh's "unparalleled" strength. His misplaced compassion mourned an Odeh who "will languish" in a "dingy, disgusting county jail" in a "very poor and awful situation."
In her remarks, Rashid Khalidi's daughter Dima, a lawyer with Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, denounced the overlooked "repression . . . in Palestine activism." Suggesting nefarious Jewish foreign influence, Dima asserted that "relentless attacks" on "speech activities . . . protected by the First Amendment" come from pro-Israel groups "at the behest of the Israeli government." Dima, meanwhile, expressed concern that universities burden pro-Palestinian groups with demands that they provide security for events. Rather than recognize documented increases in on-campus anti-Semitism, she complained that Jewish students report harassment "at such a rate it really is astonishing."
She misleadingly labeled as a mere "popcorn demonstration" the repeated disruptions by Muslim students of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's 2010 "speech activities" at the University of California-Irvine. Using faulty reasoning, Dima condemned the subsequent misdemeanor conviction of Muslim Student Union members for their attempt to silence the lecture as "really chilling" for free speech. Daleck, speaking later during the question period, conceded only that "some people may have been unsettled" by this "in your face" protest.
Yaman Salahi, a lawyer with Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus and a member of the violent, anti-Semitic, and Hamas-supporting Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) during college, outlandishly claimed that "anyone venturing into" Palestinian issues "is worried about government investigation." He also warned that graduate students are "not viable" professionally if they study pro-Palestinian themes, as if academia were somehow hostile to the views of people like Rashid Khalidi, which in fact dominate Middle East studies.
Salahi focused on charges of creating a "hostile environment" under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He discussed an SJP-sponsored mock Israeli checkpoint at his alma mater, the University of California-Berkeley, where, as an undergraduate, he was convicted of defamation. Salahi deemed "ludicrous" analogies of this protest "to passion plays in Europe," yet failed to mention a campus environment at Berkeley so hostile a Jewish student was assaulted by an SJP leader.
Former Virginia Tech professor Steven Salaita concluded the presentation by discussing how the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign rescinded an offered professorship due, in part, to vile anti-Semitic/Israeli tweets that called his civility into question. Rashid Khalidi, who earlier had denounced this as an "outrageous maneuver," charged that Salaita "was indicted and convicted . . . in the court of tenure" for personal political speech, though his scholarship supposedly "was never in question." (Israeli journalist Liel Leibovitz has written that "hyperbolic fits of hatred" mark Salaita's "stupidly dogmatic" work, which "should not qualify as scholarship.")
Salaita explained that Illinois's American Indian Studies program took an interest in his work "conceptualizing Palestine as an indigenous space . . . in conversation with other colonized communities around the world." The "specific framework of American oppression" informed Salaita's anti-American/Israel study of "Zionist tactics" that merely "seem new-fangled" but were in fact centuries old. In his view, blaming Arabs in Gaza for children supposedly "killed by the dozen" during Israeli defensive military operations is an "old colonial trope," a "terrible argument, morally and intellectually," and an "outsourcing of responsibility." Salaita sneered in a "rant" directed at Jews, "you're the ones who told us that you are a light unto the nations."
Rashid Khalidi and audience member Yousef Munayyer, director of Washington, DC's anti-Israel Jerusalem Fund, both praised a "most wonderful" and "fantastic panel." Israel's supporters in the debate, an ideologically-blinded Munayyer claimed, "can't win it; they'd rather shut it down." This hate-filled event, though, revealed precisely the opposite: anti-Israel ideologues like Munayyer cannot convince others of their moral and historical correctness. As the panelists demonstrated, vitriol, not logic, often motivates Israel's political enemies.
No fun for kids in NYC parks any more
The city is putting the brakes on spinning playground equipment following reports of injuries, a Parks Department spokeswoman said.
Rotating metal saucers that kids ride at two Park Slope playgrounds were recently welded into place so they can't move, and the city has made similar modifications or removed a total of seven disks citywide "in the interest of public safety," the spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman declined to discuss how many injuries had been reported or other specifics.
Turning the spinning disks into statues angered Park Slope parents, who said the city was going too far to protect kids.
“I think it sucks,” said dad David Friedlander, whose 2-year-old was disappointed to find the the spinning disk at Vanderbilt Playground in Prospect Park suddenly stuck in place in late November. “I think it's a sad commentary on how litigious and afraid we've become of having our children get a few boo-boos."
Friedlander said his son had tumbled off the disk — which is about 4 feet wide and stands about 2 feet off the ground — onto the rubberized ground below, but he doesn't consider the equipment a safety hazard. Friedlander said it should be up to parents to decide if their children can handle playing on the saucer, not the city.
"This makes me completely insane. What's the point of even going to the playground? Better lock up the swings, too," wrote one frustrated mom of a 3-year-old on a South Slope email list.
Parents in that neighborhood said they're bummed a similar rotating saucer at Slope Park on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street was also recently welded so that it can't move.
The city removed a swing at Slope Park last year after several kids broke their legs while playing on it, but parents said the spinning metal disk didn't seem to present nearly the same risk. Parents who visit Slope Park frequently said they've never seen kids injured while playing at the saucer.
Though several families filed claims against the city regarding the Slope Park swing, no claims have been filed regarding the spinning disks there, according to the City Comptroller's Office.
A spokesman for City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who represents the South Slope, said his office hadn't received any complaints about the rotating saucer at Slope Park, and a spokesman for City Councilman Brad Lander said no one complained about the metal disk at Vanderbilt Playground until after it was welded into a stationary position.
Mom Rebecca Stein said both her daughters, who are 5 and nearly 2, love to play on the rotating saucers at Vanderbilt Playground and Slope Park. The equipment lets her kids test boundaries and get a feel for how their little bodies balance and move, Stein said.
"They think it’s fantastic," Stein said. “They love the thrill of balancing and sort of playing risky. It’s being close to danger, but without any real danger.”
Stein said both her children had slipped off the saucers, but the worst that ever befell them was an extreme case of dizziness. She lamented the loss of the disks as part of a larger trend away from letting children play freely.
"Playgrounds are so sanitized now," Stein said. "There’s no thrill. In the playgrounds of our youth you could climb and feel like you were above things and use more of your imagination. I don’t think that happens anymore."
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.