Stuff White People Say

January 29, 2010

It’s Time to Step Up Enforcement of Children’s Rights

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 8:21 am


Statement of SPLC President Richard Cohen on President Obama’s pledge to reinvigorate civil rights enforcement

  After a drastic decline in civil rights enforcement by the U.S. Justice Department over much of the past decade, President Obama’s declaration during last night’s State of the Union Address that his administration is “once again prosecuting civil rights violations” is a promising sign. We’d like to remind the president of one area that often gets overlooked — the responsibility to protect the rights of our most vulnerable children.

Across America, countless schoolchildren are being denied educational opportunities because of overly punitive, zero-tolerance policies that exclude them from the classroom and increase the odds they will drop out of school and enter the criminal justice system.

These children are disproportionately African American and Latino. Children with disabilities also are far more likely to be thrown out of the classroom — even while many schools ignore their legal obligation to provide the special services these children need to learn and succeed.

Tens of thousands of children each year are being arrested in school for petty misbehavior and routed into the juvenile justice system, where many are abused in brutal facilities that fail to provide rehabilitative and mental health services.

In fact, in a special report issued earlier this month, the Justice Department said that one in eight youths imprisoned in state, local or privately run correctional facilities have been raped or otherwise victimized sexually while in custody. That’s a shocking statistic, one that should offend every American’s sense of justice. But it doesn’t even begin to capture the true scope of the violence and neglect suffered by children behind bars, including the thousands of children who are sentenced to serve in dangerous adult prisons.

Justice Department research shows that youths imprisoned with adults are eight times more likely to commit suicide than those held in juvenile facilities, five times more likely to be sexually assaulted, three times more likely to be assaulted by prison staff and 50 percent more likely to be assaulted with a weapon.

In another report issued by the Bush administration, the Justice Department noted that six independent large-scale studies found “higher recidivism rates among juveniles convicted for violent offense in criminal court when compared with similar offenders retained in juvenile court.” The same report found that juveniles transferred into the adult system were significantly more likely to re-offend than juveniles who remain within the juvenile system.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and other organizations are taking action — filing complaints against negligent school districts and suing state and local governments that operate abusive detention centers.

But federal action is urgently needed to stop this unfolding civil rights crisis. A commitment by the Justice Department to crack down on these abuses would be a good place to start.

January 19, 2010

No ‘hope for Haiti’ without justice

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 8:02 pm

By Mark LeVine

On Friday, the US’ leading entertainers will once again organise a star-studded telethon in order to raise money for victims of an almost incomprehensible tragedy – the third time they have done so in less than a decade.

The first, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, understandably avoided any sort of critical political imagery or discourse in favour of uniting the country in support of the victims.

The 2005 telethon in response to the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina occurred at a tenser political moment, as violence was flaring in Iraq and Americans were beginning to question President Bush’s true motives for invading the country.

The massive incompetence surrounding the government relief effort was already apparent, but apart from rapper Kanye West declaring – to much criticism – that “President Bush doesn’t care about black people,” none of the artists who performed or spoke addressed the glaring structural problems that allowed the hurricane to produce such unprecedented damage.

Four-and-a-half years later, the endemic problems that exacerbated the hurricane’s damage remain largely unaddressed.

But they are far from public view (aside from the poor and working class public of New Orleans, that is) and outside the cheery narrative of rebuilding and recovery symbolised by the success of the New Orleans’ football team, The Saints, who will host the city’s first Conference Championship game in the refurbished Superdome, which during the height of the Katrina disaster housed thousands of flood refugees.

As the carnage of the largest earthquake to hit Haiti in 200 years comes into full view, the biggest stars of Hollywood and the music industry are coming together for a “Hope for Haiti” telethon.

But there can be no hope for Haiti without justice, and no justice without an honest appraisal of the centuries-long history that set the country up for such a devastating political and social collapse in the wake of the earthquake.

Click to continue reading the entire article: A history largely ignored

January 17, 2010

‘Black People are Looting’

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 1:01 pm

Haiti. At the moment I lack once again the words for the many thoughts that come to mind. Language is a powerful tool and right now white supremacy becomes once again quite disgusting, how stories are being told without telling the whole story.

I found a blog with important information, for those not so interested in ‘white speech and self-praise’, but the truth:

“Shame on you Mr Obama asking Bush & Clinton to oversee humanitarian aid. After three days have passed and no aid has arrive the people are angry and taking their anger to the streets. That is called Violence and looting – not hunger and fear. The next step to further militarize the earthquake.”

Read the entire post

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