A+ R A-

More Commentary

Penn State: How Many of the Victims Were Black?

E-mail Print PDF

By Danny J. Bakewell, Jr., Contributing Editor
Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel –

(NNPA) The molestation of a child (any child) is a sick and heinous crime. The allegations against Gerald “Jerry” Sandusky the long time coach at Penn State University and founder and primary fund raiser behind The Second Mile Foundation has captured the attention of the worldwide media and has brought an end to the face of Penn State University (Joe Paterno) along with the school President, Athletic Director, many of its assistant coaches and for the most part its entire football program. However, while the allegations of sexual abuse and child rape sicken almost everyone who is within an ears shot of this scandal. The resulting cover up or veil of secrecy which has been ongoing for the past 12 years may be more heinous then the alleged crimes themselves. While state and federal law prohibit the identity of a sexual crime victim from being released (no matter what age) it is interesting that no one is discussing the race of these young victims. Which also leads one to ask if these boys would have been young white males would the code of silence and veil of secrecy remained so strong and so quiet for so long?

The Second Mile Foundation was started as a Group Home in the State College Area (home of Penn State). According to both the grand jury report as well as the Second Mile website as “a program to work with troubled boys and grew into a charity dedicated to helping children with absent and dysfunctional families”. What has not been disclosed or a topic of conversation is that many of the alleged victims are African American. According to Pennsylvania foster care records 48% of all children in out-of-home care are African American and 53% of all children in foster care are males with an average age of 11-years-old. Aubrey Manuel, President of the California State Care Providers Association (CSCPA) stated that, “These percentages are very similar to California.” The likelihood that the majority of these children are African American is overwhelming. “Particularly given that these kids were in a program, that the state foster care population is over 50% African American Males and that the Second Chance Foundation client base is poor, underprivileged and foster children and that the coach (Sandusky) used sports as a major recruiting tool to get close to the victims it would not be a risk at all to believe that at least half of the Penn State victims were Black Boys. The victim population most likely reflected that of foster care population.”

Throughout the grand jury report are stories of young boys between the ages 9 and 12 years old. All recruited and involved with Sandusky through the Second Mile Program. Furthermore, in almost every account someone saw lewd and lascivious acts being conducted upon children ranging from oral sex, to actual anal intercourse between Sandusky and these children. Much has been discussed about the graduate assistant coach Mike McQueery actually witnessed the anal sex act and later reported it to then Head Coach Joe Paterno. Joe Paterno did report the allegations to Athletic Director who later interviewed McQueery and then reported back that “they had taken away Sandusky’s keys to the locker room”. McQueery was never questioned or interviewed by campus or city police.

But what about the report or failure to report the instance by then elementary school wrestling coach Joseph Miller who witnessed an incident one evening in 2006 or 2007 but failed to report it for almost 5 years. Or Steven Turchetta an Assistant Principal and head football coach at a local high school who testified that “Second Mile program is a very large charitable organization that helped children who are from economically underprivileged backgrounds and who may be living in single parent households.” Turchetta testified that he witnessed on more than one occasion Sandusky removing the boy from class and ultimately heard of the sexual assault allegations by the boy’s mother, who called the school to report the sexual abuse.

Sandusky and Penn State are both considered culpable in these sickening crimes. Sandusky because he not only used his relationship with Second Mile to gain access to the boys and preyed on the very vulnerability that The Second Mile Foundation was supposed to be assisting these boys with overcoming and making them stronger men. As well as Sandusky used his relationship with Penn State to give these children access to a football program known worldwide and is an icon in Pennsylvania and in College Park in particular, which is where Sandusky lured these boys with gifts, trips and access that grown men would be overwhelmed with let alone 9-13 year old boys from impoverished homes and foster care facilities.

Penn State, because they knew about these allegations and improper events and actions almost 15 years ago, did nothing but turn a blind eye. It is outrageous and sickening that this 67-year-old man is alleged to have done to a few as 9 and now allegedly up to 23 boys, all who came from broken homes in the poorest parts of the community who were only looking for guidance and someone to look up to.


Race Realities Persist in America

E-mail Print PDF

(NNPA) The reality is that race still matters in America in 2011. For all of those who would rather not prefer to admit this fact, it important to continue to keep stating the truth that institutionalized racism is alive and well in the United States. Yes, there has been remarkable progress attained as the result of a very long, difficult and protracted struggle for freedom, justice, equality and empowerment. We should all be proud that we now have President Barack H. Obama as the President of the United States. Black Americans, in particular, however should avoid falling into the anti-reality pitfall that we are now living in a “post-racial” society and world.

My purpose is not to dissuade or discourage anyone. I just do not think it is healthy for Black people to not face the hard facts that we still have a long struggle ahead of us to ensure that the next generation of Blacks in America, and African people throughout the world, will have a better quality of life in the future. The world is changing but race remains a determinative factor in too many areas where social and political decisions are made on a daily basis.

I have posited before that the “hop-hop generation” has done much to transcend and dismantle racial prejudice in the mindset of millions of people. Of course hip-hop culture arose out of the crucible of African American and Latino American struggle against abject economic, racial and social oppression in the South Bronx more than 40 years ago. Today hip-hop is a global cultural phenomenon that has united more than a billion youth who share common aspirations for freedom and empowerment beyond the boundaries of race, ethnicity, nationality, language and geography.

But the fact of the matter is that racial discrimination and injustice in the United States glaringly persist in employment, housing, education, environment, finance and criminal justice. In other words, the systems of injustice are still in place even though there has been some progress and social change for the better. The entire pseudo theory of a “post-racial” society in America is itself ahistorical and at clear variance with reality. The progress that has been attained should be an indication that we need to keep on fighting for freedom and to not stop prematurely. Yet reform sometimes creates an illusion that the goals and objectives of the movement for change have been realized without verification from facts and relevant statistics. Numbers are important, but this is really about the quality of life in our communities. Today there are too many of us who live in poverty, who are in prison unjustly, and who are unemployed with a sense of hopelessness. Thus, this is not the time to consider lowering our voices or actions away from demanding the changes that will be necessary to advance the political, economic, social and global interests of our families and communities.

Even within the growing “Occupy Wall Street” movement throughout the United States, there are noticeable tendencies where the various and sometimes different public utterances of opinion are given a range of value by the established media based on the race or class-orientation of those who are routinely called on to issue public statements about the intentions and goals of that “diverse” movement for social and economic change. The point is Blacks and Latinos should willingly continue to join other diverse multiracial and multicultural coalitions for social change. But we should not permit the interests of Blacks and Latinos to be triaged in those broader coalitions. We have to vigilant and remain focused on those key issues and objectives that will bring about the greatest progress for the largest number of those who continue to cry out for a better way of life in our communities.

You can be assured that the forces of opposition against the re-election of President Barack Obama will be using racial stereotypes and racism in all of its disguises in an unsuccessful attempt to derail President Obama. The politics of race cannot summarily be replaced by the politics of class, particularly in a nation with a history of racial oppression and discrimination. The current actions in many states to suppress the Black and other minority vote in 2012 through requiring new voter ID cards in addition to other forms of state-issued identification is just the latest examples of how far we have not come toward full and complete racial justice for all people.

I am optimistic because I am witnessing a generation of young, courageous and conscious African America leaders emerge on the streets and college campuses across the nation who know what time it is and who will be active in helping once again to get the largest young voter (18-30 year-olds) turnout in American history for the November 2012 national elections. Yes, race still matters in a positive proactive sense if we do our homework, roll up our sleeves and continue to fight for freedom, racial justice and equality for all.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. is Senior Advisor to the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) and President of Education Online Services Corporation and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN).

Letter to the Editor: Working Families Must be Sustained

E-mail Print PDF

By Amos J. Young, Jr.
Assembly District 62 California Democratic Party Delegate; Former Inland Empire and Orange County Regional Director, CYD

Last week, Ohio voters delivered a bona fide victory for public sector workers everywhere. I was pleased to join my Labor Sisters and Brothers on the ground in Gahanna and Columbus, engaging directly with the people of Ohio to Vote No On Issue 2 and repeal Senate Bill 5.

After months of advocacy and organizing, the people of Ohio have defeated a law that would have silenced the middle class and curtailed the collective bargaining rights of thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers. Ohio has made it clear: these dedicated public servants still need a seat at the table to demand fairness, dignity and respect-- especially in tough economic times. Through their unions, they have a voice in their workplace, in their future and, most importantly, in our future.

In my time as California Democratic Party Delegate and as a Labor Organizer, I’ve seen firsthand time and time again how unions make remarkable contributions to the strength and prosperity of our community.

In workplaces across the Inland Empire, collective bargaining is helping businesses improve their bottom line, providing tax payers with high quality services, making workplaces safer and more productive, and ensuring that all Californian’s have the opportunity to make it into the middle class.

Next year voters of California will likely be faced with a deceptive measure called the Paycheck Protection Act, this initiative Paycheck “deception,” as it should be referred to, attacks organized labor, collective bargaining and all workers’ rights. It’s being circulated by big drug, oil and insurance companies to keep teachers and public employees from participating in the political process. I will urge voters to Vote No on this initiative in the event it comes before us.

I was proud to join my sisters and brothers in Ohio in the fight for social and economic justice.

Public sector workers voices can only be guaranteed when they have the right to organize and bargain collectively. Together, we shall continue to contribute our time, passion and dedication to achieve this incredible feat for working families. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Letter to the Editor: "After the Election…"

E-mail Print PDF

Foremost, I thank the citizens who voted for me in the San Bernardino City Clerk election.

I am grateful to the volunteers who worked long days and stood by me as we carried out a clean “grassroots” campaign. I appreciate my family and friends who contributed their hardearned dollars to help finance our campaign. And, a heartfelt thanks to The Black Voice News for your endorsement.

I continue my life-long commitment to San Bernardino.

I’m participating in the City of San Bernardino’s Citizens Academy, and my family and I are looking forward to participating again in the next Beautification Day scheduled in 2012, among other programs.

The people who turned out to vote decided the outcome and I respect that. San Bernardino is my hometown and I’ll continue to work with those who are as sincere and concerned about our communities as I am. I met many great people throughout the city who are new found friends.

In this first bid for elective office, I answered the call to serve the public as candidate for City Clerk, and appreciate the support we received. I am proud of our democratic election process, and I’m aware of how it can be corrupted. I experienced a crash course of “San Bernardino Campaigning 101.”

The past 3 1/2 months have provided us with vital lessons, to say the least. We experienced first-hand “big boss-style” politics, and the culpable will probably tag my comments as “sour grapes.” Nonetheless, the facts are:

In Ward 3, we came across a group of firefighters placing signs and distributing literature for candidates they were supporting.

A resident wouldn’t be convinced that I am an American - she was told, and without a doubt believed the untrue rumor that I am “illegal alien” without enough credits to obtain Social Security. Also, a resident informed my volunteers that he witnessed firefighters pulling out my campaign signs as they replaced them with their own candidate’s signs.

Several 7th Ward residents shared their experiences regarding fear and intimidation tactics incurred by the City Attorney.

Another ugly lesson took place early in the morning on Election Day when two “dirty” police officers harassed a volunteer in the 1st Ward who was “legally” standing across the street from a polling place. They manhandled him and tried to wrongfully accuse him of being there illegally. I’m aware that the majority of our safety officers are committed to protect the public, and I applaud them.

The most valuable lesson for me was to see many of our volunteers grow from their civic engagement – they make me proud. I encourage residents to vote their conscience in the next election.

Thank you.

Esther Jimenez, San Bernardino

How Black is Herman Cain?

E-mail Print PDF

(NNPA) A lot of people are quick to disclaim presidential candidate Herman Cain as a natural Black or African American simply because of his conservative, pro-business views. It really puzzles me how people think political persuasion identifies your race. The founder of the Republican Party, Frederick Douglas, was indeed Black. The “Father of Black Economic Empowerment”, Booker T. Washington, was also very much Black. Republican President Richard M. Nixon got 38% of the Black vote –yes, they were really Black. Let’s take a good look at Herman Cain and determine if there is anything to dispel his Black appearance.

Mr. Cain was born in Memphis, Tennessee on December 13, 1945. These were serious Jim Crow times in a very segregated South. His mother was a cleaning woman and domestic worker – just like my mother. His father was born on a farm and worked as a barber, janitor and as a chauffeur. These were humble Black roots for Mr. Cain but they were also proud roots. His forefathers were slaves – just like mine.

His family (parents and brother) soon moved to Atlanta and settled initially in The Bluff area. His father’s proudest moment came when he and his wife saved enough money to buy their first home in Collier Heights . Herman grew up in the Black side of Atlanta never doubting his blackness and pure African American roots. He graduated from Archer public school in 1963 and proudly began his matriculation through Morehouse College . He graduated from this Black institution in 1968. He soon married his wife Gloria who recently graduated from another renown Black institution, Morris Brown College . Her career includes being a teacher and librarian.

His family (wife, son and daughter) have lived a productive life in Atlanta and never forgetting that they are indeed descendents of the African American experience in America , replete with slavery, struggle, discrimination and obstacles not sustained by any other people on earth. They know it but still they rise! Much of their strength is gathered in their membership in Antioch Baptist Church right there in inner city Atlanta . Mrs. Cain sings in the choir while Herman is one of the associate ministers. He has been a member of the church since he was ten years old. Antioch is part of the National Baptist Convention, USA . It doesn’t get any blacker than that.

His bachelor’s degree at Morehouse was in mathematics and he began his career as a ballistics analyst for the U.S. Department of Navy (civilian GS schedule). While working there he went through a graduate program in computer science at Purdue University and received his master’s degree. He then leveraged his master’s degree to begin his corporate career starting with The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta as a computer systems analyst. Ironically, one of the chauffeur jobs his father had was for the President of Coca Cola – only in America !

His other corporate experience would be of many accomplishments with Pillsbury where he had key management positions with their Burger King subsidiary and then with its Godfather’s Pizza subsidiary. It was here where he began his notoriety as his successes at both places became legendary. Never, not once, did this child of the Jim Crow South forget his roots. Eventually, he and a group of investors bought Godfather’s from Pillsbury and it became more successful. He moved to Omaha, NE where it was based. This shocked the business world. This newly established magnate was Black and would never let you mistake him for anything else. Herman Cain – strong, proud and black to the “bone”- his story continues.

Herman learned much about banking by becoming the Deputy Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and eventually became the Chairman. He has also done a stint as CEO of the mighty National Restaurant Association which gave him experience with lobbying in Washington, DC and an understanding of politics at the national level. After that he moved back to Atlanta . This career is phenomenal. The frosting on the cake is that it belongs to a proud Black man.

I first heard Herman Cain speak in 1989. A Black social service group I belonged to at the time, International Frontiers, was having its annual convention in Omaha, NE. They proudly introduced him as the Godfather of Black Business in Omaha . He wore that mantel proudly and spoke to us about Black economic empowerment via self-determination (just like Booker T. Washington). I became impressed then and that hasn’t changed since.

Herman Cain is now running for President of the United States . If elected, he will be the first president to come from African American (descendents of slaves) heritage. The first to grow up in and during the Jim Crow South. The first to be a graduate of an HBCU and a lifelong member of a black Baptist church. Is Herman Cain black? He is black to the “bone”. It doesn’t get blacker!

Mr. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: halford@nationalbcc.org.

Page 53 of 94

BVN National News Wire