Three stories about Racism in Modern Day America

In case you haven't gotten your birth certificate lately, this is what most states give you.
In case you haven't gotten your birth certificate lately, this is what most states give you.
At Last: Children at Charleston High enjoy a prom as one class.
At Last: Children at Charleston High enjoy a prom as one class.
Come on man!!!
Come on man!!!

Who says racism is dead in America?

I just got through watching a documentary about a little town called Charleston, Mississippi. The heart of the story was that in 2007-2008 students at the local highs school were still having segregated proms—a black prom and a white prom.

Actor Morgan Freeman is from Charleston and he held a meeting at the school and told the student body if they would end the practice, he would foot the bill.

A couple of days ago, on of America’s best minds, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested in his own home by and officer who felt that he was being abusive. They arrested Gates, even though he produced an identification that proved that the home was his. Gates became belligerent and has been outspoken about racial profiling every since.

Now, a story comes out about these so-called “birthers” who are claiming erroneously, that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. They insist that he does not have the right to be President because he was not born on U.S. soil. Lou Dobbs has allowed the story to fester by his refusal to say the story is wrong. Now, all those who refuse to read for themselves are screaming the same stupid thing.

The question becomes one of race. Some parents in Charleston, Mississippi forbade their children to go to the integrated prom because said one of them, “My daughter ain’t gone be grindin on no nigger, we didn’t raise her that way.” None of the parents who chose not to allow their children to go to the integrated prom were black.

Dr. Gates is over 60-years-old. What harm would it have been to step away from the pissing match with an old man and show some deference. I am assured of one thing: If Gates were white, he would not have been arrested. However, the police were responding a call that “two” black men were trying to break into a home. However, if Dr. Gates produced his identification the Officer should have shown deference and allowed him to stay home.

Finally, for those who believe that President Obama was born in Kenya. Go to Ancestry.com and the original birth record is there. Also, pick up some literature that tells the entire story. Racism is still going strong in this country and it is time that we begin a true dialogue on what causes it. Grow Up America.

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Comments 17 comments

pgrundy 7 years ago

The Gates incident was shameful, and I the birthers are hiding behind this stupid birth certificate thing in an attempt to de-legitimize the President. It makes me sick, all of it. Good hub, thanks.


tomdhum profile image

tomdhum 7 years ago from memphis tn

Life and death both exist one cannot be without the other. Just as culture differences exist creating the diversity of life. This normal diversity is sometimes hard for individuals to understand. This diversity is a way for individuals to grow through the interaction with other people. However, racism is created because of the ignorance of the understanding of the diversity of different cultures. This ignorance is actively created to meet the needs of a particular group. An example of this is during our country early history we needed cheap labor to help our economy grow. We justified this by creating racial serotypes to justify the injustice of slavery. Today we clearly have racism even with the civil right laws that have been passed. You can live and seek any job that you want here in the United States and by law they cannot stop you. However, because of racism we have a thing called institutional racism. Black man gets caught with crack cocaine and white man gets caught with four times the amount of power cocaine and receives less jail time. To fight this modern day racism we must place a high level of importance on the value of all people. This value is equally divided amoung all people regardless of skin color, wealth, looks, education or gender. The devision of this equality does not require us to give up any thing such as wealth, the reality is that some people will always have more then others. However is does require us to show acts of kindness to our fellow man. If we do this then racism would not exist. When you show an act of kindness to another person the humanity that all humans have will not allow racism. LOL tomdhum


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Good Hub. I completely agree. Here's my take on the Gates incident.

Race clearly played a role in the Gates incident both on the part of the policeman and in Gates's reaction to the situation. In my personal experience, over-reaction by police to what they perceive as insufficient deference or lack of respect toward them by citizens is not confined to white police toward minority citizens although considerably less common. Police over-react with some frequency toward whites as well when they feel they are being dissed. Over-reaction by African American policemen toward blacks and toward whites occurs also.

I attribute police over-reaction to race, to lack of police training on how to deal with all citizens with courtesy and respect without losing their temper, and failure of police department leadership to deal firmly with offending policemen. Inappropriate behavior toward citizens by police occurs also because as members of the law enforcement community can usually do so with impunity. Also, it may be that the police work attracts more than its share of bullies.

Chris Rock offers some humor and advice on this subject–http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj0mtxXEGE8

— Ralph Deeds


A Texan 7 years ago

Why do you and so many like you refuse to tell the truth? I don't know a thing about the prom and couldn't care less, parents still have a right to tell their children what to do.

The Birth certificate issue however is a non issue, Dobbs has said many times on the air that he believes Obama was born in Hawaii, you said just the opposite! Either you are woefully misinformed or you are lying intentionally!

Gates committed a crime, that crime was Disorderly Conduct, he met the elements that make it an offense and was legally arrested! He was not arrested for being black in his own home! He should have been arrested and the charges should never have been dropped! As long as you and your cohorts lie about the facts I will be here to call you on it!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Nobody is lying about anything. We can disagree without insults and accusations.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Here's a story about racism at Harvard that you can add to the Hub:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/opinion/04herber...


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Innocence Is No Defense

Article Tools Sponsored By

By BOB HERBERT

Published: August 3, 2009

Cambridge, Mass.

Bob Herbert

Go to Columnist Page »

Related

Times Topics: Race | False Arrests, Convictions and Imprisonments

Readers' Comments

Last August the president of Harvard University, Drew Gilpin Faust, set up a committee to respond to the concerns of black faculty members and students who were uneasy, and in some cases upset, about the treatment of blacks by the campus police.

The arrest last month of Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. did not occur in a vacuum. While his encounter was not with the Harvard University Police Department (he was arrested by a member of the Cambridge force), it was the latest in a series of troubling incidents that have left law-abiding members of the Harvard community feeling as though they were unfairly targeted and humiliated because of their race.

The incident that ultimately led Ms. Faust to establish the committee concerned a black high school student who was working in a youth employment program at Harvard. The Harvard police, responding to a phone call, spotted the youngster attempting to remove a lock from a bicycle. He tried to explain that the bike was his and that his key had broken off in the lock.

One of the officers reportedly pulled a gun and pointed it at the teenager. The frightened youngster said he did not have any photo identification, but he showed the officers his library card. Traumatized, he started to cry at one point. When the boy’s story was eventually confirmed, he was allowed to leave with his bike.

In 2004, the campus police stopped S. Allen Counter, a distinguished professor of neuroscience at the Harvard Medical School as he was strolling across Harvard Yard. Professor Counter, who is black and had been at Harvard for 30 years when the incident occurred, was viewed by the police as a robbery suspect. They asked him if he belonged at Harvard.

He did not have his identification with him. In a particularly humiliating ritual, the officers went to University Hall and asked two students to confirm that the professor had an office there. They did.

As these types of incidents accumulate, resentments build. Black students that I’ve spoken with at Harvard over the past week have not complained about overt racism or widespread police misconduct. Rather, they have expressed their sense of unease over encounters that others might dismiss as aberrations or think of as trivial but that collectively make the students feel as if they are being treated differently — unfairly — at their own school, and they don’t like it.

Nworah Ayogu, a senior who is studying neurobiology, told me about a well-known incident that occurred in 2007 when a number of black students were playing games like dodge ball and capture-the-flag on the Quad as part of an annual field-day-type celebration. White students called the Harvard police to investigate.

The police showed up on motorcycles and asked the black students for identification, even though the students were wearing all kinds of Harvard regalia — caps, crimson T-shirts with “Harvard” emblazoned in white, and so forth. Mr. Ayogu said the cops actually seemed to be embarrassed by the situation and were not confrontational.

“The whole thing made us feel like we didn’t belong,” he said. “What was most offensive was that our own classmates called the police on us.”

Harvard has made an aggressive effort to deal with these situations and create what the school describes as a more welcoming atmosphere for everyone. But it should be easy to understand that one distasteful encounter after another — not just at Harvard or in Cambridge, but nearly everywhere in this country — cannot help but lead to the expectation among blacks that cops will target people and treat them badly solely because of their race.

Too often that expectation is realized, sometimes tragically. Think Amadou Diallo, who died in a hail of police bullets (fired for no earthly reason) outside of his home in the Bronx.

No one is immune. Colin Powell told Larry King that he had been profiled many times. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke last week about how humiliated he felt as a college student when a cop made him stop his car and open the trunk so it could be searched for weapons.

No one is too young. I traveled to Avon Park, Fla., a couple of years ago to write about the arrest of a black 6-year-old named Desre’e Watson. She threw a tantrum in her kindergarten class. The police were called, and the terrified child was arrested, handcuffed (the handcuffs were too large to fit her wrists, so she was cuffed on her upper arms) and driven off to headquarters.

When I asked the police chief about the incident, he said: “Do you think this is the first 6-year-old we’ve arrested?”

Young, old, innocent as the day is long — it doesn’t matter. Your skin color can leave you perpetually vulnerable to a sudden and devastating criminal injustice.


habueld profile image

habueld 7 years ago from Riverside, CA Author

Mr. Deeds that is a great article. Texan, I to am from TX and you can watch the documentary "Prom Night in Mississippi". It is showing on HBO.


A Texan 7 years ago

Liberals hurl insults all the time I have read some of your comments that were insulting, at least insulting to those you call Whackjobs or whatever colorful names you use! If you don't like being insulted then refrain from doing it, your gonna get what you put out there!!!!

Yeah Ralph somebody lied, Dobbs has said repeatedly that he believes Obama was born in Hawaii,this hub says he does not dispute the "birthers!" I don't watch Dobbs and I am sure that Obama is a US citizen, this is a non issue except for those that can get some ratings they desperately need!

habueld I will look for the Documentary maybe its on HBO on demand, I do not dispute that racism exists I take these cases individually and the two that I know of I don't believe racism exists. Well, in the case of Gates it does, his racism! Where in Texas?


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Lou Dobbs embraces the Birthers

This week, the birthers -- the movement that believes President Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the U.S. and thus not eligible to be president -- have gone mainstream, and in a big way. That's due in part to a YouTube video of a woman shouting at Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., about Obama's birth certificate. It's also the work of CNN's Lou Dobbs, who's apparently found yet another conspiracy theory to love.

Dobbs actually first began giving the birthers a boost last week, when he had Alan Keyes, who ran against Obama in 2004 and 2008 and is now suing over the president's birth certificate, on his radio show, along with Keyes' lawyer, Orly Taitz, the "queen bee" of the birthers. Since then, he's latched on to the movement, discussing it several times on his radio show and on CNN. On a night he was off, a fill-in host on "Lou Dobbs Tonight" interviewed Keyes and Taitz.

The new focus has led to some media attention, which Dobbs has reveled in. It allows him to play the populist, the guy sticking up for the concerns of the average American, in contrast to allegedly liberal reporters, who are, he says, "more interested in currying succor with the White House than in doing their jobs."

On his radio show Tuesday, Dobbs was back at it, discussing the issue at length and responding to requests for comment from media outlets including Salon. (As of this post, a CNN spokeswoman had not yet been able to provide any comment.)

"We'll have some answers for the Los Angeles Times, Salon, a few others, Politico too. You know, and if you're in the left wing of the political spectrum, come on down, because we're going to have us a little talk about, oh, all of those crazy things that the American people just want to know," Dobbs said. "Some of the news organizations in this country are acting as if they have their very identity attached to the issue of his birth certificate."

Later in the day, Dobbs brought the issue to CNN again. This time, it was part of a panel discussion at the end of his show with a decidedly unbalanced panel: Just three talk radio hosts, none of whom seemed to have any actual facts at hand -- not that they would have contradicted the anchor anyway. One of the panelists, WPHT's Dom Giordano, noted that he's actually friends with Phil Berg, a Pennsylvania attorney who was one of the original leaders of the birther movement, and that his son once worked for Berg. (Giordano didn't mention that Berg has also represented him in a lawsuit before.)

From the beginning of his coverage, Dobbs has been repeating a familiar trope of the birthers and their supporters: If Obama would just release his real birth certificate, the long form rather than the certification of live birth he made public last year, then all of this would be over.

"I believe Barack Obama is a citizen of the United States, folks, don't you? But I do have a couple of little questions, like you. Why not just provide a copy of the birth certificate? That's entirely within the president's power to do so. Then all of this nonsense goes away," Dobbs said on his radio show Tuesday. "One would think the president would want to get rid of this nonsense. But he doesn't. And so none of us knows what the reality is."

But Dobbs knows that the crowd of conspiracy theorists he's now supporting won't be placated that easily. When he brought Keyes and Taitz on his show, he mentioned that he'd asked Taitz, off-air, whether the release of a long form birth certificate would satisfy her. "She said no," Dobbs told his audience, and then directed the question to her again. "Both parents have to be citizens in order to satisfy the requirements of natural-born citizen," Taitz responded. In other words, for the de facto leader of the movement, her questions can never go away, because Obama's father was a British citizen at the time of his son's birth. (For the record, Taitz is wrong about the law here, as she very often is; in the 1898 Wong Kim Ark case, the Supreme Court said a child born in the U.S. is a natural-born citizen regardless of their parents' citizenship.)

Besides, Dobbs is completely wrong about the legal status of the certificate of live birth that Obama released. He said Tuesday that "there is no actual birth certificate. There is a document that says there is a birth certificate." But what Obama has made public thus far is the same form that anyone requesting their birth certificate from Hawaii would receive, and state officials have made very clear that it's authentic and shows he was born there.

Taitz and others say, wrongly, that there's a Hawaiian statute that applied to Obama that would have allowed his parents to register a foreign birth there, and somehow get state officials to say he was born in Honolulu. But as Janice Okubo, the director of communications for the Hawaii Department of Health, recently explained to the Washington Independent's David Weigel, "If you were born in Bali, for example, you could get a certificate from the state of Hawaii saying you were born in Bali. You could not get a certificate saying you were born in Honolulu. The state has to verify a fact like that for it to appear on the certificate. But it’s become very clear that it doesn’t matter what I say. The people who are questioning this bring up all these implausible scenarios."

That gets to the heart of the problem here. While Dobbs' colleagues at CNN, like Rick Sanchez and even Kitty Pilgrim, his own guest host, have debunked the birthers' claims, Dobbs himself says he's learned a lot about birth certificates and the whole issue from Taitz and Keyes. And that raises a question: With other CNN hosts having offered the actual facts on the air -- Pilgrim even attributed the debunking to the network itself -- why is Dobbs allowed to go on and make these false claims, without any hint of opposition? For now, CNN's not saying.

Update: There are, of course, other ways for cable news hosts to deal with the birthers. In the video below from Tuesday's "Hardball," MSNBC's Chris Matthews demonstrates one of them, opting for the verbal beatdown method. His over-the-top bombastic style probably won't change many minds, but at least he's working hard to debunk the myths.


A Texan 7 years ago

"I believe Barack Obama is a citizen of the United States, folks,"

Ralph, why post such a long message when it just winds up proving me right? Do you read these things or do you just cut and paste?


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Because I thought it would be of interest. You are the one who brought up Lou Dobbs. Here is another one from Salon about Orly Taitz the Birther whackjob from Israel--

Orly Taitz responds to forgery charges

Orly Taitz, the birther lawyer who released the document that was supposedly a copy of President Obama's Kenyan birth certificate, has now taken to her blog with an angry screed in response to the evidence that her find is in fact a poorly done forgery.

Referring to the discovery that the purportedly Kenyan document was almost certainly based on a copy of a birth certificate issued for an Australian man, David Jeffrey Bomford, Taitz writes, "Recently Obama’s thugs in main stream (sic) media came up with this Bomford report in order to stop my efforts in exposing and prosecuting Obama. Though typically I don’t have time to waste on each and every dumb obot, since it got to National TV and my children's friends called my children, I’ll spend a few minutes to debunk the obots." She continues:

1. Kenya became an independent (sic) country in 1963, not 1964. The seal of Kenya was correct ...

5. Bomford report was created to try to discredit my efforts

6.lastly, I am not supposed to waste my time and money on this issue, Obama us the one who is supposed to provide evidence of legitimacy

7. Kenyan BC provides more info than the piece of garbage Obama posted on the net, which doesn’t have the name of the hospital, name of the doctor or signatures.

8. Chioumi Fukino (sic) and Obama and all their Nazi Brown Shirts in the main stream media need to give it a rest and provide an original hospital BC and the corresponding big thick hospital Birthing file from the Kapiolani hospital. If they don’t have such a file, all of them need to resign immediately or they will be prosecuted for massive fraud and treason to this Nation. (in case you didn’t know, treason carries punishment of life in prison or death penalty).

(The full post can be read here; be aware, however, that both Google and Firefox identify Taitz's site as an attack site that contains malware.)

A couple of points: It's true that Kenya became an independent country in 1963, not 1964. No one's denying that. The real issue, which Taitz avoids, is that the document she released is marked as having come from the Republic of Kenya in February of 1964, when the country was actually known as the Dominion of Kenya -- it wasn't a republic until 10 months later.

And the idea that the Bomfort document on which the forgery was based "was created to try to discredit my efforts" is pretty ridiculous -- Archive.org shows it linked to on the site from which it was taken as far back as 2007.

Finally, the "Chioumi Fukino" Taitz refers to is in fact Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the director of the Hawaii Department of Health, who has repeatedly verified that the state has Obama's birth certificate on file and that he was in fact born there. She's become a birther target for doing so.

In another post to her blog, Taitz asked only, "If Kenyan BC that I provided would not be genuine, Hillary would not be rushing to Kenya, would she?"

Of course, Clinton's trip to Kenya was actually announced and briefed by the State Department before Taitz released the forgery.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Gates incident was very unfortunate. In India we have a different problem ie., casteism. Sometimes to set a "historical wrong" right we have reverse racism where somebody who is less qualified is admitted/promoted over.

There should only be one yardstick merit and all other considerations like gender, color, race, sex, sexual orientation and so on should be irrelevant.


A Texan 7 years ago

No Ralph, the hub mentioned Dobbs I just corrected the lie that you said did not occur. I am having a run of people who can't seem to remember what Hubs are about!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

Here's the ulitmate whack job, Orly Taitz.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic...


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

Well! Here's my take...the Mississippi prom is about racism and backward folks, period.

The Gates issue is a Constitutional issue...man's right to safety in his own home. As for the person who said he was being disorderly...he owes no deference to the police inside his home. That is why the officer insisted he step outside. He was an officer acting stupidly.

Finally, the President's birth certificate is a matter that will never be settled. Now they will say it is fake, or forged or something equally illegitimate. They are people who simply refuse to accept that a Black man sits in the office...they would rather disgrace the entire country before the world than accept that fact. Frankly, it doesn't really matter...they would never vote for him anyway.

voted up


B-Dawg 3 years ago

Habueld,

I am a biracial man half black half white. I have been studying race objectively for 6 years and I have some strong opinions about what I think the white man should do moving forward. First of all I see my black skin for what it truly is in america. Protection. Black skin is like a shield. Nobody messes with you. Everybody respects you. I don't understand why the black man is so blind that he can't see that. My mom told me straight up that she wanted her kids too have pigmentation because she felt her kids would be more protected in society. And she was right.

I tell my white friends straight up what a blessing black skin is. All the fine women it attracts. Everybody has had a bad experience with the police. I challenge you to ask your white friends and acquantances and they will tell you so. The only time I had a bad experience I had a white person with me.

My agenda is to enlighten the white man on how great black skin is. Many whites are having children with black men because they feel like their children will be liked more and protected better with pigmentation. I also want to invent the black spray tan. That is my take peace.

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