Today's Feature Article

Miss. Middle School Bars Black Students From Running For Class President
Russell Goldman, ABC News | August 27, 2010

After 30 years of barring black students from running for class president, a Mississippi public middle school, reversed a Jim Crow era policy today and announced students of all races would be allowed to run for student government.

Students at Nettleton Middle School looking to run for class president, previously needed to maintain a B average, obtain 10 signatures from their classmates – and be white.

Rules issued last week outlined the school’s rules for seeking office. Students could run for president, vice president, secretary-treasurer and reporter, but some positions were off-limits depending on race.

In all three grades, only white students could run for president. In eighth grade black students could run for vice president and reporter. In seventh grade blacks could only run for secretary-treasurer, and in sixth grade only for reporter. (Read the full article)

**UPDATE** Since this story was covered, MSNBC reported that the Nettleton Middle School met in an emergency session and voted to repeal its policy to apportion student council positions by race.

Commencement Season: On Not Going to College

And to think blacks spend all this money on big colleges, still most of y’all come out confused. – Arrested Development

A few weeks ago, N’s daughter, E came into the living room, and asked us if she’d be “ruining [her] life” by traveling for a few years after high school before she went to college.  Now E is all of ten; the other month she wanted to become a therapist, now she’s on this fashion designer tip.  So these kinds of questions can be expected, and I imagine that as of this writing she’s completely forgotten that she even asked the question.  Right now, the only thing she consistently loves is basketball, text messaging, and playing the saxophone.  (She’s really good at the latter; been invited to play at 8th grade graduation and everything.)  We advised her that she would not be ruining her life by deferring enrollment into college, and in fact encouraged her to see the world, whenever and however she chooses.  Consequently, she seemed less anxious about the whole thing (she’s very sensitive).

Crime, Punishment and Black Politics

Crime, Punishment and Black Politics
Katti Gray, Colorlines, May 28, 2010

The day bullies dared to gang up on a lone teenager smack atop Jimmy Smith’s meticulously kept lawn, his reflexes kicked in. “Sanctuary over here!” he hollered, dashing out of his Chicago home and firing his Beretta revolver skyward. “Ain’t nobody dying up in my yard today. Let that boy go.”

The attack ended, the attackers high-tailing it off Smith’s property. “I was determined to stop what was going down,” he says of that assault 30 years ago.

Then—as now—his corner of the North Avalon section of the Windy City’s mostly Black South Side was a study in contrasts. Strivers like him, a retired community college administrator, and his wife, who works in banking, live there. So do some of the city’s chronically poor. They hail from families set further adrift when the government, decades ago, dynamited Chicago’s worn housing projects. Displaced families used their reconfigured government subsidies to rent houses alongside people like the Smiths—people unabashedly tough-on-crime and certain that the poor commit a disproportionate share of it.

Just the other day, Smith says, someone in a house across from his place was smoking crack in plain view. It makes you angry, he says, and breaks your heart. And it can make even a community-minded, pro-Black kind of Black American ambivalent about how severely criminality should be adjudicated, who should be locked up and the extent to which Black people should care.

That ambivalence was revealed dramatically last week, when Detroit police shot and killed 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones. While many people raged against the police, many others roared just as loudly about the family’s alleged relation to a murder case cops were investigating. The sentiment complicates the goals of an increasingly mainstream set of voices, who are arguing that criminal justice reform is a defining political issue for Black Americans. (Read the full article)

Eminem's "Recovery" Tracklisting, and A Rant About "Going Pop"….

Yesterday, the official tracklisting for Eminem’s upcoming 6th studio album, entitled Recovery (and set for release June 22nd), leaked onto the internets, and it most definitely sent the message boards into a frenzy.

A few months back, Just Blaze, one of the producers for the album, and Eminem himself, touted Recovery as a new beginning for the legendary Detroit emcee, and unlike anything he’d ever done. Of course, I simply interpreted that as “less serial killing and hotter beats,” respectively.

Well, I was almost right; I forgot about “collaborations with pop divas.”

Just Wright or Not Quite Right: Queen Latifah Kissed Common, Yuck?


Do you remember back in 94’ when you were about 13 years old watching Jason’s Lyric for the first time when you probably shouldn’t have been because the movie was rated ‘R,’ and you were suppose to be cleaning your room? Do you remember the feeling of preteen girl giddiness, one hand over one eye, watching the scene where Jason Alexander intimately rubs Jada Pickett’s feet on the banks of the river? Do you remember feeling not quite right about watching the scene because it was sexually graphic—sex on the banks of some Texas’ bayou—and because your momma specifically told you not to watch the movie, but, being a hormonal sexually curious preteen you watched one hand over one eye anyway? Yes, I remember.

And I remember feeling the same way as I watched the movie, Just Wright, starring Queen Latifah, Common, and Paula Patton. Honestly, I felt not quite right watching Queen Latifah and Common make-out on the silver screen. When Common kissed Queen Latifah, I felt as if I was once again a pimply pubescent girl giggling senselessly with one hand over one eye at a sex scene. It was weird and I know for a fact that I was not the only one in the movie theater who cringed, giggled, shifted in seat, placed one hand over one eye when they kissed . . . saying to yourself over and over and over again, “Something about this is not quite right.”

NYC Charter School Students Outperform Public School Students

NYC Charter School Students Outperform Public School Students
Yoav GonenNew York Post, May 27, 2010

It’s not just in math and reading that charter schools are dealing out aces.

New data obtained by The Post shows that charter-school kids outperformed traditional public-school kids in three of the four grades tested in science and social studies last year — often by leaps and bounds.

The results are sure to lend ammunition to those who support the state’s raising of the charter schools cap, which has been at the center of heated debate among Albany lawmakers for weeks.

According to the city’s Department of Education, charter-school eighth-graders bested their public-school peers by 19 percentage points in social studies and by nearly 18 percentage points in science.

Additionally, more than 90 percent of charter-school fourth-graders aced last year’s state science exams, compared with 80.3 percent of fourth-graders at traditional public schools. (Read the full article)

Arizona Cracks Down on Accents

It seems we’ve reached a new type of nadir in American race relations. The status quo has been threatened. All of this talk about a new majority has roused some sort of fear down in Arizona and it doesn’t seem like that State is enthusiastic about joining the new Post Racial America. And the legislation they’ve been passing this year has made it very clear that they don’t intend on going down without a fight.

Arizona is simply not having it. First, racial profiling a blow against illegal immigration (strike 1). Then, an eradication of ethnic studies (strike 2). And now the Arizona Board of Education is demanding that school districts remove heavily accented teachers from the classroom (strike 3).


Disclaiming “Gay”—New Black Men

This past week I read New Black Man, by Mark Anthony Neal. (Which is generally an awesome book). However, I do have my criticisms (as I usually do for almost everything). Mark Anthony Neal in New Black Man examines the contemporary paradigms of what it means to be black and masculine/male. He also positions these things in the greater context of black feminist thought, parenting as a father, and anti-homophobia (he does a great job doing this). He goes through moments in pop culture where we will find situations antithetical to what the New Black Man metaphor is moving towards. Neal goes further to explain that he has not achieved—at least not in totality—what New Black Man is arguing for.