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Bill O’Reilly’s Obsession with "Playing the Race Card"

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By A. Peter Bailey, NNPA Commentary –

(NNPA) So-called conservatives in this country spend much of their time accusing Black folks of “playing the race card” when practically any comment is made about expressions of white supremacy. The leader of the conservative mantra on this subject is Fox “fair and balanced” Cable News’ reigning propagandist, Bill O’Reilly.

On his television program and in his newspaper column, O’Reilly regularly scolds those whom he considers “playing the race card.” In a recent column he pontificated about speaking to a gathering of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network during which he told the attendees that “…branding the tea party as a racist group would be a huge mistake that could actually create racism….”

Though calling the tea party gang and their supporters such as O’Reilly “racist” may be a mistake calling them White supremacists is right on target. A survey conducted at the University of Michigan on what Blacks and Whites consider to be “integration” backs up this description. Black, according to the survey, regards integration as 50 percent Black, 50 percent White with a Black or White person in charge.

For Whites, it is 15 percent Black, 85 percent White with a White person always in charge. That is a White supremacist position probably shared by most tea partiers and their journalistic supporters. That’s why they regard the Obamas being in the White House as an abomination, a serious violation of the natural order of the universe.

A Black person who points out this fact of life is “playing the race card,” according to O’Reilly, a charge, by the way, he never hurls at Whites. He didn’t accuse Newt Gingrich of “playing the race card” when, prior to passage of the health reform bill, Newt reportedly said the Democrats who voted for the bill “will have destroyed their party, such as Lyndon Johnson did for 40 years.”

Nor did he hurl race card playing accusations at Investor’s Business Daily for saying that the bill “is affirmative action on steroids, deciding everything from who becomes a doctor to who gets treatment on the basis of skin color.” When his buddy and obnoxious side-kick Glenn Beck lied that “Obama hates White people” and when a tea partier’s sign proclaimed that “Obama Plans White Slavery,” there wasn’t a mumbling word from O’Reilly about “playing the race card.”

A knowledgeable Black person doesn’t expect any such response from O’Reilly and his fellow propagandists.

We just have to be aware of what such toxic flacks are saying, writing and doing so we won’t be caught off guard when one or more of their feverish followers make a move against us. Of course, in doing this we, not the Whites, in O’Reilly’s view will be “creating racism.”

Journalist/Lecturer A. Peter Bailey, a former associate editor of Ebony, is currently editor of Vital Issues: The Journal of African American Speeches. He can be reached at apeterb@verizon.net.

Decisive Actions Lead To Results

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On March 9, 2010, the state announced the names of schools ranked in the lowest five percent for academic achievement in the state. These schools will require substantial changes to their school year, governance, and funding. Among the schools named, 11 are a part of the San Bernardino City Unified School District.

Our community should know San Bernardino City Schools had already taken decisive actions at all of the schools on this new state list, prior to the creation of the list. In fact, most of the schools listed have made great progress in the last two to three years due to these decisive actions. We have aggressively added new leadership at most of these schools as well as provided additional training and material for teachers. We have provided teacher and administrator coaches and academic specialists, restructured academic offerings, and replaced weak programs with strong ones. The results have been positive and in some cases even spectacular!

District wide, our test scores have shown great gains over the course of the last six years. Six years ago 85 percent of the schools in San Bernardino were scoring in the 500 point range or lower in the Academic Performance Index (API). Today, almost 50 percent of our schools score in the 700-900 point ranges.

We have the highest scoring middle school at Richardson PREP HI. Middle College High School is among the highest scoring high schools in the county. We have almost doubled our career path programs for high school students. Our dropout rate is showing the steepest decline in the county, and our innovative programs and student interventions have earned the District numerous awards both at the state and national levels. All of this was accomplished in spite of declining enrollment, a weak economy, and the largest budget cuts to public schools since the Great Depression.

We believe that the state should take a new approach to support our local efforts, including funding sources that can be counted on from year to year and includes greater flexibility on how the funds can be used. Greater partnerships must be created between districts, businesses and city offices in order to maximize our resources and services for local families struggling with major economic and social obstacles that are unique to our community.

Education must be everyone’s priority because our children represent the future vitality of the community in which we live. Parents must become active partners and our teachers and administrators must not be villanized every time a new state program is rolled out.

It is important that we act decisively and quickly to address our latest challenges, and this is precisely what San Bernardino City Schools has done and will continue to do. We do expect that all of our schools will continue to improve as measured by the state’s measurement systems.

But, more importantly, we expect that our schools will be a great place for children to learn.

Dr. Arturo Delgado is Superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District, the seventh largest in California, serving more than 53,000 students in the San Bernardino and Highland communities.

Keeping Taxes Local is Good Policy

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We had an opportunity to keep tax dollars generated in South Mead Valley, Wagon Wheel, Good Hope, Meadowbrook, and Warm Springs, in those communities, and thanks to the support of the residents and property owners, we did it!

Working with the leaders in these areas who sit on the Perris Valley Municipal Advisory Council and after holding numerous meetings in all five communities over the past 15 months, we had a good idea of what the resident’s wants and needs are, as well as services they asked us to provide with their tax dollars.

We will begin redirecting those tax dollars in June 2011, for public safety facilities, public health services, road paving, flood prevention and draining improvements, parks, community centers, and housing rehabilitation programs. These improvements to the community won’t happen overnight, but we will do this the old fashioned way, by saving those tax dollars for use on these improvements over time. During this 15 month process we also heard from the community about what they did not want.

They love the rural lifestyle, peace, tranquility, and solitude that these communities offer their residents and we all agree that should be preserved. We won’t be adding street lights which residents are concerned might impact Mount Palomar Observatory. We will not have wholesale plans to add sidewalks, street lights, and traffic signals either. This process is ongoing and we will work with the residents and property owners over the weeks, months, and years ahead to determine what they want first and when we do it. Make no mistake, not everyone is going to be happy but you have my word to listen and make the decisions based on what you have to say and what is in the best interest of the people who live there. Keeping tax dollars generated in a local community is not a new concept.

My colleagues and I on the Board of Supervisors have transformed our districts using local tax dollars in the communities that produced them. By using similar programs across the county we have added new services. These new facilities have included: fire stations, libraries, child care centers, senior centers and parks; repaired roads, and built new ones. We have also added youth activity centers, family resource centers, and even boxing clubs. Along the way we have installed new sewer lines, water lines, protected your drinking water, and improved access to medical care through health and dental clinics. These funds have been used to clean up our communities and illegal dumping sites and removed unsightly and unwanted graffiti.

Keeping tax dollars in the community in which they are generated is good public policy. So is seeking the advice of the people I have the honor and privilege to represent.

Supervisor Marion Ashley represents District 5. He is chairman of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

HBO's Lily White World War

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(NNPA) - Cable television’s largest movie channel, HBO, has proudly shown two fictitious (they want you to believe it is a documentary) classics about World War II. Band of Brothers dealt with the European Theater and now Pacific is portraying the battles of the Pacific from a very racist point of view. Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of African Americans gave their blood, sweat and tears to this noble challenge these shows are void of any Black participation.

That is just one big lie! A lie that is racist to the core and we must call them out. They are trying to rewrite history to the detriment of Black legacy and pride and that is more than sinful. It is a crime.

The fact is that from the first day, Pearl Harbor, to the very end we were there in all theaters and during every major battle. Yes, just like in all other major wars the United States could not have prevailed in World War II if it weren’t for the efforts of Black military participants.

Recently, HBO showed a segment of Pacific dealing with the Battle of Guadalcanal. Funny, they showed no Blacks. My two uncles, Joseph and Isaiah Brown were there and they had many stories to tell about it. I have a copy of a letter my Uncle Joe wrote to my grandmother from his fox hole. It is so sentimental and I cherish it so much. He would also tell me about his days in Melbourne, Australia which the HBO segment showed.

He remembered the great breakfast of T-bone steak, eggs and a side plate of biscuits all for just nine cents. In route to the Solomon Islands my Uncle Ike (Isaiah) was thrown off his ship during a storm. They barely rescued him and his buddies.

My father-in-law, Charles DeBow, was one of the original four Tuskegee Airmen. He knocked out tanks in North Africa, Nazi artillery in Italy and radar sites in France in preparation of the Invasion of Normandy. They want us to think that the Tuskegee Airmen only ran protection for our bombers. Dad flew a P-38 dive bomber and flew missions almost daily. I am so proud to have his blood flowing through the veins of my sons.

One of my mentors, the late Arthur A. Fletcher, crossed Normandy Beach. There were over 40,000 Blacks who crossed during the Normandy Invasion unlike what Steven Spielberg and HBO want you to believe. While performing guard duty one night in Northern France, Art was shot through his spleen. He would proudly show me the twelve inch scar to prove it.

His racist superiors would not put him in for a Purple Heart because they claim that since the bullet went completely through him they had no proof if it were a Nazi bullet or just a bullet from one of those red neck 3rd Army bigots trying to shoot them a N------.

Another mentor of mine, the late Leroy Toombs, served in a submarine in the Pacific. Our Pacific submarines decimated Japanese supply lines and Leroy loved to talk about their exploits.

One morning they sunk three ships within twenty minutes, probably a record. They had so many prisoners they couldn’t take any more. Thus, they had to surface and shoot all survivors as they could divulge their coordinates to the Japanese Navy. Yes, war is hell.

The late Congressman Parren J. Mitchell, another mentor of mine, had his World War II stories also. Parren was a bona fide hero. One day he deliberately fell on a live German grenade during a battle in Italy in order to save three other soldiers. Well, they gave him his Purple Heart, unlike Art, but he really deserved a Medal of Honor. There are thousands of these stories about our brave African-Americans who served their country so well even thought they had to return to a Jim Crow society. They were strong and proud. Even though they were discriminated against as they wore their uniforms with battle decorations they remained strong.

So brilliant was the service of our tank battalions, paratroopers, airmen, soldiers, sailors and marines. It was like we do on basketball courts and football fields today. These heroes paved the road that General Colin Powell and others would follow. I am a proud veteran but not a minute will pass that I don’t forget the great Blacks who came before my time and created this great legacy. This is why I am so upset at HBO. These portrayals of World War II are big, racist lies and they are trying to do a very dastardly thing – rewrite history to the detriment of a whole race. We need to organize and have them removed from television.

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

Don't Let the Corporations Steal Our Voice

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By James Rucker, NNPA Guest Commentary –

Throughout the Black struggle for justice and equality, few things have meant more than the ability to speak out and to speak forcefully.

Whether it was David Walker’s Appeal for action against the horrors of slavery published in 1829, the cause of Cinque and the Amistad slave ship revolt in 1841, the words of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the oratory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or the fiery rhetoric of Malcolm X—the power to speak, to challenge, to rally, to defend, and to define have been crucial for us as a people.

Today, the battle to have our voices heard isn’t about access to a newspaper, a TV show or a radio program. Through the “open” Internet, modern technology has opened the door for Black America to speak truth to power in direct and unfiltered ways. We can speak loudly enough on the Internet that our points of view make their way into traditional media outlets – our participation in the marketplace of ideas can’t be ignored. That’s what I mean by an “open Internet”: our voices can compete on a level playing field with the biggest corporations, and we don’t need a lot of money to do it. This is the reason the Internet is so diverse, and it’s why thousands of Black blogs, online businesses, and news sites have flourished in recent years.

But our newfound voice is now in jeopardy.

In an effort to make even more money, corporations that provide highspeed Internet service (such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon) are trying to fundamentally change the way the Internet works by acting as gatekeepers over what you see or do online. The fight is over “net neutrality,” a principle that has guided the Internet since it began, and which means that Internet service providers can’t decide which websites load fast, slow, or not at all. Sounds simple and logical right? After all, why would you want At&T to be able to block, filter, or slow down what you or anyone else puts online? Well, these corporations see it differently.

They are fighting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the right to create a new system where they can charge large fees to speed up some websites, while leaving those who can’t afford to pay in the slow lane. For these companies, the ability to discriminate online would amount to billions of dollars of new revenue. But such a system would end the Internet as we know it — giving wealthier voices online a much bigger megaphone than poorer voices. It would mean an Internet with far less potential for our communities.

Sadly, these corporations have enlisted trusted civil rights groups like the NAACP, National Urban League, and others — groups to whom they’ve donated millions of dollars — to oppose or question net neutrality policies. These groups argue that net neutrality could limit minority access to the Internet. They say that unless we allow Internet service providers to make bigger profits by acting as gatekeepers online, they won’t make high-speed Internet access more affordable in underserved communities. In other words, if Comcast — whose broadband Internet business is already earning 80 percent profit margins — can increase its profits under a system without net neutrality, then it will all of a sudden invest in expanding Internet access in our communities.

The argument is bogus, and the FCC knows it. Businesses invest where they can maximize their profits, period.

Internet service providers are already making huge profits, and if they believed that investing in low-income communities made good business sense, they would already be doing it. The idea that making even more money is suddenly going to make them care about our communities is ridiculous.

Expanding high-speed Internet access in poor and minority communities is an important goal and we must fight to make sure it becomes a reality. But there are no reliable data or plausible arguments that suggest preserving net neutrality is at odds with this goal. Still, civil rights groups are creating the false impression that our communities stand firmly against net neutrality policies, giving cover to the broadband providers, and making it difficult for the FCC to protect the open Internet against corporate attempts to control it.

Network neutrality is a civil rights issue for the 21st century, and like the last great civil rights generation, we have a choice to make. We can stand up to the corporations that want to control the means by which we organize and speak truth to power, or we can allow the Internet to go the way of television, radio, and print media — where we have virtually no control over the production and distribution of ideas, and where our voices are ghettoized and limited. I’m hoping that we make the former choice, and I appeal to you to join me in making it a reality. You can help by writing the Federal Communications Commission and telling them that you support net neutrality, or by visiting our website at www.colorofchange.org/opennet.

James Rucker is co-founder of ColorOfChange.org, an online citizens' lobby, and he serves as its executive director.

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