Category Archives: Race

Trayvon Martin Tragedy Could Spur the Emergence of a “National Anti-Racial Profiling Fund”

There’s much expectation that outrage and anguish over the Trayvon Martin tragedy will spark a “movement” to combat racial profiling and focus the nation’s attention on finding solutions to the problem. [See the previous blog post: A Potent Anti-Profiling Movement As the Silver Lining From the Trayvon Martin Tragedy.]

A movement could emerge in the form of a grassroots effort led by students and young people, possibly with funding from a few affluent people. Or, a group of not-so-affluent people could pool financial and other resources to jump-start one. A few groups have already been formed but it is obviously too early to determine what sort of movement will ultimately emerge. Continue reading

Trayvon Martin Tragedy Impact: Will Affluent Blacks Finance an Anti-Profiling Movement/Fund?

The Trayvon Martin tragedy was a shocking reminder to every black person that he/she could easily be a victim of racial profiling, possibly with deadly consequences. The horrible incident could have happened to any black man or any black person’s son, brother, nephew, cousin, etc., however wealthy or well-accomplished they may be (see excerpt below from a column piece by the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson).

Would (at least) a few affluent African Americans therefore feel strongly enough about racial profiling to help jump-start a potent anti-racial profiling movement or fund? (See previous blog posts: Trayvon Martin Tragedy Could Spur the Emergence of a “National Anti-Racial Profiling Fund”; A Potent Anti-Profiling Movement As the Silver Lining From the Trayvon Martin Tragedy.) Continue reading

A Potent Anti-Profiling Movement as the Silver Lining of the Trayvon Martin Tragedy

Hope/expectation that the Trayvon Martin tragedy will have a silver lining by spurring a potent movement to combat racial stereotyping/profiling–excerpts:

Keli Goff, The Gift That Trayvon Gave All of Us: How the Trayvon Martin Tragedy Can Save Black America. TheLoop21.com/Huffington Post. 26 March 2012.

…[I]n my parents’ generation (they both grew up in the segregated South) a store simply hung a sign that said “No Coloreds” allowed. Today a store wouldn’t dream of doing that and yet most black people I know, and most black celebrities have a story (often more than one) about being blatantly denied service at a store due to race. In the case of Oprah Winfrey on two separate occasions at two different stores the stores in question locked the doors and claimed to be closed when she attempted to enter. In the case of Condoleezza Rice, a sales clerk questioned whether she could actually afford the jewelry she was eyeing. To those who have never endured such experiences, they may sound like minor indignities. But the Trayvon Martin case illustrates how easily subtle racism — which usually involves racial profiling — can escalate from indignity to death. Continue reading

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Self-Reliance and “Pooling Our Resources”

MLK_Chicago rally“We need to pool our resources” has been a recurring exhortation in the African American community for decades. For example, here’s Dr. Martin Luther King in a 1958 interview:

Question: Do you think Negroes are partly responsible for their plight? They don’t stick together and they don’t help each other. Negroes, for example, will walk past a Negro-owned grocery store or shoe shop to get to a white place. Instead of trying to make themselves financially independent, most Negroes are trying to keep up with the Joneses. Isn’t it time for us to stop begging and stand on our own feet? 

Dr. King: I quite agree that there is a great deal that the Negro can do to lift himself by his own bootstraps. Well has it been said by one that Negroes too often buy what they want and beg for what they need. Negroes must learn to practice systematic saving. They must also pool their economic resources through various cooperative enterprises. Such agencies as credit unions, savings and loan associations, and finance companies are needed in every Negro community. All of these are things that would serve to lift the economic level of the Negro which would in turn give him greater purchasing power. This increased purchasing power will inevitably make for better housing, better health standards, and for better educational standards.

From: “Advice for Living,” The King Papers Project, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University – http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/primarydocuments/Vol4/Mar-1958_AdviceForLiving.pdf

Financing Black Progress: On a Marshall Plan for the “Abandoned,” Self-Reliance, and “Pooling Our Resources” Via a Transformational National Fund

In his book, Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC commentator Eugene Robinson (winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary) exhorts that “our most urgent priority should be an all-out assault on the stubborn, self-perpetuating poverty and dysfunction” of the segment of Black America he dubs the “large, Abandoned minority with less hope of escaping poverty and dysfunction than at any time since Reconstruction’s crushing end.”

Of course, approaches and strategies for addressing this challenge must span several interrelated areas: financing (public and private), entrepreneurship, wealth-building, job creation, education, job training, politics and policy, racial disparities, societal and cultural trends, etc.

Robinson proposes in his book a publicly financed “Marshall Plan for the Abandoned” (MPA) that would involve “massive intervention in education, public safety, health, and other aspects of life, with the aim being to arrest the downward spiral.”

Even at the time he proposed it – the book was published in October 2010 when the political environment was relatively less toxic (before the November 2010 elections, the subsequent budget and debt ceiling debacles, and the nasty and racially charged political environment that ensued thereafter) – Robinson acknowledged that the MPA “will be expensive, and politically it will be a hard sell.” Nonetheless, he argued then that the MPA could be politically feasible: Continue reading