Sung-Bong Choi’s amazing story and performace June 6, 2011Posted by koreanpower999 in Korea, Korea's Got Talent, Sung-Bong Choi, Uncategorized.
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Happy Birthday to me? April 25, 2011Posted by koreanpower999 in Uncategorized.
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I’m turning 32 and I feel like I have so much to learn. I can’t sleep and I’m reflecting on my past regrets. Why didn’t I accomplish more? Why am I a disappointment to myself, others, and God? Why am I angry at myself, others, and God? Why do I push people away? Why do I hurt other people? Why do I feel isolated? Am I making a difference in the lives of others, in this world? Am I fully living out my calling from God? As I have all these things rushing in my head, I realized I have never learned how to celebrate. Even in my family, we never really celebrated holidays and birthdays were low-key. Why is it hard for me to even for me to celebrate my own birthday? Hopefully, I can fall asleep soon. Until then, I’ll watch some “Morning Joe” on MSNBC and hopefully my eyes will get heavy. Too bad they’re debating the politics of the debt ceiling and I am somewhat enthralled by it. My inner political junky is coming out right now.
On another note, Pastor Eugene Cho preached a great Easter message yesterday at Quest. It put Easter in proper and deeper perspective. Watch the podcast on the Quest website when they put it up.
On another note, the NY Knicks got swept by the Celtics. All I want for my birthday is Chris Paul on the Knicks!
An Absence of Class March 23, 2010Posted by koreanpower999 in Uncategorized.
Tags: Barack Obama, health care, racism, Republican Party, tea party
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The New York Times
By BOB HERBERT
Published: March 22, 2010
Some of the images from the run-up to Sunday’s landmark health care vote in the House of Representatives should be seared into the nation’s consciousness. We are so far, in so many ways, from being a class act.
A group of lowlifes at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio, last week taunted and humiliated a man who was sitting on the ground with a sign that said he had Parkinson’s disease. The disgusting behavior was captured on a widely circulated videotape. One of the Tea Party protesters leaned over the man and sneered: “If you’re looking for a handout, you’re in the wrong end of town.”
Another threw money at the man, first one bill and then another, and said contemptuously, “I’ll pay for this guy. Here you go. Start a pot.”
In Washington on Saturday, opponents of the health care legislation spit on a black congressman and shouted racial slurs at two others, including John Lewis, one of the great heroes of the civil rights movement. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was taunted because he is gay.
At some point, we have to decide as a country that we just can’t have this: We can’t allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress — epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here.
It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters.
For decades the G.O.P. has been the party of fear, ignorance and divisiveness. All you have to do is look around to see what it has done to the country. The greatest economic inequality since the Gilded Age was followed by a near-total collapse of the overall economy. As a country, we have a monumental mess on our hands and still the Republicans have nothing to offer in the way of a remedy except more tax cuts for the rich.
This is the party of trickle down and weapons of mass destruction, the party of birthers and death-panel lunatics. This is the party that genuflects at the altar of right-wing talk radio, with its insane, nauseating, nonstop commitment to hatred and bigotry.
Glenn Beck of Fox News has called President Obama a “racist” and asserted that he “has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”
Mike Huckabee, a former Republican presidential candidate, has said of Mr. Obama’s economic policies: “Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff.”
The G.O.P. poisons the political atmosphere and then has the gall to complain about an absence of bipartisanship.
The toxic clouds that are the inevitable result of the fear and the bitter conflicts so relentlessly stoked by the Republican Party — think blacks against whites, gays versus straights, and a whole range of folks against immigrants — tend to obscure the tremendous damage that the party’s policies have inflicted on the country. If people are arguing over immigrants or abortion or whether gays should be allowed to marry, they’re not calling the G.O.P. to account for (to take just one example) the horribly destructive policy of cutting taxes while the nation was fighting two wars.
If you’re all fired up about Republican-inspired tales of Democrats planning to send grandma to some death chamber, you’ll never get to the G.O.P.’s war against the right of ordinary workers to organize and negotiate in their own best interests — a war that has diminished living standards for working people for decades.
With a freer hand, the Republicans would have done more damage. George W. Bush tried to undermine Social Security. John McCain was willing to put Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the Oval Office and thought Phil Gramm would have made a crackerjack Treasury secretary. (For those who may not remember, Mr. Gramm was a deregulation zealot who told us during the presidential campaign that we were suffering from a “mental recession.”)
A party that promotes ignorance (“Just say no to global warming”) and provides a safe house for bigotry cannot serve the best interests of our country. Back in the 1960s, John Lewis risked his life and endured savage beatings to secure fundamental rights for black Americans while right-wing Republicans like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan were lining up with segregationist Democrats to oppose landmark civil rights legislation.
Since then, the right-wingers have taken over the G.O.P. and Mr. Lewis, now a congressman, must still endure the garbage they have wrought.
Health Care Reform Passes March 22, 2010Posted by koreanpower999 in Barack Obama, health care, Uncategorized.
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On Sunday night, the House of Representatives passed a historic health care reform bill. After almost a year of prognostication and partisan politics, it finally passed. Just a few weeks ago when the Democrats lost the filibuster-proof majority in the Senate through the election of Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy’s former seat in Massachusetts, most politicians and pundits declared health care reform dead. However, since that point it seemed to have lit a fire into President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We finally got to see the Barack Obama that we thought we would see. He was actually engaging the process and fighting for this bill which he wasn’t doing before this. Sometimes Obama does act like the coo kid in high school who seems disengaged. I know he’s a pragmatist and that is definitely necessary in politics. But people resonate to someone who is willing to fight for the issues they believe in. They resonate with leaders who will take ownership of a legislative bill and put their neck out their to pass it. Obama finally after months and months of waffling, bumbling, and floating decided to take the bull by the horns.
With all that said, I think this bill is far from perfect. It still doesn’t fully reign in the health insurance industry. I’ve always been a single payer proponent. However, next to that, I wanted to see a robust public option. However, through the lack of leadership by the White House and the Congress along with the obstructionism and lying of the Republicans and also being sold out by conservative Democrats bought and paid for by the insurance industry like Joe Lieberman and Blanche Lincoln, the public option never had a fair debate.
With all that said, there are some great things in this bill. Though this bill not as historic as Social Security and Medicare, is still a great accomplishment. More changes will have to be made over time to fully deal with our broken health care system. Beyond just the politicians, we need people inside the world of health care, especially doctors willing to be engaged in the dialogue and willing to make sacrifices. The AMA has said they are for health care reform if their salaries are not affected. How does that work? Doctors are vital in the dialogue about fixing the failing health care sytem. With future doctors like Dale Terasaki, there is still much hope.
I hope the passage of this health care reform is just the start of fixing our broken health care system. I hope conservatives and the Republican will actually have real and plausible ideas to deal with the issues of cost and access to health care instead of just obstructing and spreading fear and lies through the Tea Party movement. This is about more than politics. The lives of real people are on the line.
Unexplicably Funky March 11, 2010Posted by koreanpower999 in Uncategorized.
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Do you ever feel you’re in a unexplicably funky sometimes where you feel two forces tugging at you? I don’t feel overwhelmingly high or low. I just feel this mish mash of feeling both the euphoria of my triumphs and the agony of the failures of my life at the same time. It’s the overwhelming presence of God mixed with a perception of His deafening absence. It’s experiencing a secure embrace while at the same time feeling like I’ve been pushed to the side. I don’t really know what I’m feeling right now.
It’s all about the U!!! December 14, 2009Posted by koreanpower999 in Uncategorized.
Tags: college football, Dennis Erickson, Howard Schnellenberger, Hurricanes football, Jimmy Johnson, law school, Miami, national championship, Seattle, the U, University of Miami, University of Washington
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On Saturday night, I was able to watch a documentary on ESPN about the University of Miami Hurricanes football team that dominated the 1980s by winning four championships in nine years. So why am I writing a blog post about this?
After I graduated from college, I was on track to go to law school. I had taken a year off to get ready for applications. I was looking to get away from Seattle. I was in a place where I just wanted to get as far away from Seattle as I could. Most of my closest college friends had moved away and I just didn’t feel like Seattle was the place for me. I actually hated Seattle at that time. So when I was looking at where I could go to school, I ran across the University of Miami.
I was intrigued by the University of Miami for a couple of reasons. Geographically, it was the farthest metropolis from Seattle. Also, it would be a good change of pace to live in a warmer climate. On nights like this where it’s near freezing in Seattle, I think of what it would have been like to live in a tropical place. Along with that, Miami would be a big change for me because in many ways it’s the opposite of Seattle. Demographically, Miami doesn’t have many Asian Americans but had a huge Latino, African American, and Jewish population. It would expose me to something different. That was something that really interested me at the time. I felt like I was in a bubble in Seattle.
Moreover, the other factor in wanting to go to the University of Miami was its football team. The football team had just come off winning the national championship in 2001. In my opinion, it was the greatest college football team of all time. The University of Miami or “the U” had a great tradition of football going back 20 years. I’ve always had a secret admiration for “the U” back when they were the top football team in the 80s and early 90s. They had a confidence and swagger that was uniquely their own and they didn’t care about what others thought of them. So thus, the idea of going to “the U” was extremely intriguing. So I admit that football had a big part in choosing what school I wanted to go to.
In my senior year, the University of Washington football team won the Rose Bowl and finished the season #3 in the nation (Miami finished #2 even though UW had beaten Miami earlier that year). So I wanted the continued experience of an outstanding football team.
So I applied to the school and got in. The one drawback along with the ridiculous cost associated with a legal education was the fact that the law school had almost no Asian American students. However, I came to terms with that. I started contacting a Korean American pastor in Miami and also the InterVarsity chapter at the school. I was looking up information about all the fun things to do in Miami and the transportation system. I was getting excited. I was all ready to go to Miami when God intervened and changed my course – which is a long story in and of itself. In retrospect, it was the right decision.
I am thankful to God for changing my course because I wouldn’t have met all the great people I have since that point. However, I do admit that once in awhile I wonder what would have happened if I had gone to Miami aka “the U”. My life would definitely be different and hopefully I’d have a nice tan. So I have a weird affinity to the University of Miami. So anytime something comes up about the University of Miami, it brings up all my memories from back then. It could have been all about the U!!!
Even though UW will always be my #1 team, I still secretly root for “the U”!!!
Deadly Viper: It’s not courageous to say you weren’t offended November 24, 2009Posted by koreanpower999 in Uncategorized.
Tags: Asian American, Christianity, Church, controversy, culture, Deadly Viper Character Assassins, Eugene Cho, Jud Wilhite, Kathy Khang, Ken Fong, Mike Foster, Nikki Toyama-Szeto, race, racial reconciliation, racism, Soong-Chan Rah, white privilege, Zondervan
It’s taken me awhile to finally write a blog post (not that people will read this, haha). I’ve been late to the game and I don’t really have much to add. But here are some of my thoughts and I’m sure these have been expressed already on many other blogs. I’ve been hesitant to write about it for some reason. I don’t claim to be right or have the answers. I have my own blind spots in all of this. But these are some of my thought – for what they’re worth.
I’ve been reading various blogs about the whole situation with Deadly Viper. In some ways I have been encouraged and inspired and in other ways I have been angered and disheartened.
What has been encouraging for me is to see Asian American voices being heard in all of this. I was able to hear from voices I hadn’t hear from before. I was able to talk with people about this in a way I hadn’t before. People were willing to share their pain and were not willing to be silent on this. You could see people writing emails to Zondervan to express their dismay at what was taking place. You could see and feel the empowerment of Asian Americans to speak up. I saw glimpses of an American American voice and presence in the larger Christian community. As the larger Asian American Christian voice is still forming and emerging, it was gratifying for me to see other Asian American Christians willing to engage and participate in this vital issue of race and racism in the larger Christian community. I was also encouraged by non-Asian American voices in the Church willing to advocate and speak out on this issue.
I was also inspired by Asian American leaders in the church willing to speak up for those who feel voiceless. It’s not an easy place for these leaders to put themselves out there because they knew there would be a backlash against them. But the courage they showed in their Christ-like advocacy has been inspiring for me and so many others who felt like they didn’t have much power to say anything.
While there have been things that have been encouraging, there has been plenty that has been discouraging, especially the backlash against the Asian American leaders who spoke out and against the Asian American community at large. I guess I shouldn’t surprised. But it’s still disheartening nonetheless. In this age of Obama, things are scary out there.
I’ve been listening to so many Christians, mostly white, but also other Asian Americans, who are basically telling those who have been offended and who have spoken up that “we need to get over it”. Our problem or our sin is that we CHOOSE to be offended. Everything feels so backward. How did the oppressed get turned into the perpetrator? This has brought up all those all too many times in my life when I was told to GET OVER IT! I need to be thick-skinned and if I was offended I just suck it up and move on. I went through a long period of my life with that attitude. How damaging it was for me to keep all my emotions and anger inside. I will not GET OVER IT! I am speaking up not so I can go through my gripes against white people. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with my love for greater Christian community that values Christ-like justice, reconciliation, and inclusion.
Many have commented on the way Professor Soong-Chan Rah handled the situation. He’s already apologized for his part. However, much of his reaction was facilitated by the dismissive response by Mike. Had he responded differently, I think Professor Soong-Chan Rah would have acted differently. Had Soong-Chan Rah not called people to action, I don’t think Mike and Jud or Zondervan would have responded.
I know some who claim to know Mike and Jud have said they were trying honor Asian culture and consulted other Asian Americans. However, I have to ask, who were the Asian Americans around them who were giving them counsel that thought this marketing would be culturally sensitive and honoring to Asian culture and Asian Americans?
What may be the saddest part of this whole deal is how this is looking to nonChristian Asian Americans who already think Christianity is an oppressive force and that the Church glosses over issues of race and justice. What kind of witness are we demonstrating to nonChristian Asian Americans with this backlash and justification of cultural insensitivity to the Asian American community?
I have been taken aback by the arrogance of those who confidently state that they have the theological high ground by quoting the same scriptures that purport to devalue race and ethnicity. It just shows the dominant view in the Church through the lens of individualism and reductionism. Like Soong-Chan Rah’s book states, we are witnessing the Western cultural captivity of the Church. Scripture being used to justify ignorance and cultural insensitivity is extremely dismaying to say the least.
I’ve already seen comments on blogs in which there have been white Christians not just discussing the Deadly Vipers incident but also their gripes against Asian Americans and other people of color. It’s sad that it has deteriorated to that point.
Lastly, I’d like to say that it’s not courageous to say you weren’t offended. I’ve seen some blogs by Asian Americans who have proudly stated that they weren’t offended by the marketing of Deadly Vipers and they even have the audacity to apologize on behalf of the whole Asian American community. The Asian American community is not monolithic and they don’t need to apologize on my behalf. I have no problem with Asian Americans stating that they weren’t offended by the material or they thought Mike and Jud were trying to honor Asian Americans. That’s fine. However, those views have implicitly given license to those white Christians who are angry about this to blame the Asian American community for their feeling of “losing” Deadly Vipers and in some way “losing” power. I’ve seen so many of the white Christians who are angry about this justifying themselves by citing various Asian American bloggers who say they weren’t offended. They are called courageous by these white Christians. I don’t think it’s courageous. I think the ones who have been courageous are those who have spoken out against the cultural insensitivity of the marketing of Deadly Vipers even though they knew there would be a huge backlash by many white and some Asian Americans in the Church.
Soong Chan-Rah, Eugene Cho, Kathy Khang, Ken Fong, and Nikki Toyama-Szeto have stated their desire for Mike and Jud to be restored and for their ministry to continue. I hope Mike and Jud come back and get to continue their ministry that has changed the lives of so many. I think they can do that without being culturally insensitive to Asian Americans in the process. Let’s hope the reconciliation process will continue and that all those involved would continue to rely on God for discernment and that we would move a step forward in the elusive place of racial reconciliation.
I hope the three people who read this post enjoyed reading it. =)
Tags: Asian American, Asian American women, mental health, model minority, race, suicide
University of Washington
Although Asian-Americans as a group have lower rates of thinking about and attempting suicide than the national average, U.S.-born Asian-American women seem to be particularly at risk for suicidal behavior, according to new University of Washington research.
The study shows 15.93 percent of U.S.-born Asian-American women have contemplated suicide in their lifetime, exceeding national estimates of 13.5 percent for all Americans. The finding comes in a study published in the current issue of the journal Archives of Suicide Research. Lifetime estimates of suicide attempts also were higher among U.S-born Asian-American women than the general population, 6.29 percent vs. 4.6 percent.
Data from the study were drawn from the larger National Latino and Asian-American Study and were based on bilingual interviews with almost 2,100 individuals at least 18 years of age. Two-thirds were immigrants from Asia and women made up 53 percent of the respondents. Participants included 600 Chinese, 520 Vietnamese, 508 Filipinos and 467 other Asians, including Japanese, Koreans and Asian Indians.
“It is unclear why Asian-Americans who were born in the United States have higher rates of thinking about and attempting suicide,” said Aileen Duldulao, a UW doctoral student in social work and lead author of the study. “There is the theory of the ‘healthy immigrant’ that proposes immigrants may be healthier on average than U.S-born Americans, because of the selectivity of migration or the retention of culturally-based behaviors. But it is unclear if this theory is the mechanism at work with regard to our findings.”
Evidence supporting this idea was previously found among Mexican-American and Latino American immigrants. However, Duldulao said, the health of immigrants tends to decline with the number of years they spend in the U.S. and start adopting behaviors that are less healthy than those found in their homeland.
The suicide data echo a 2006 study that showed Asian immigrants to the U.S. have significantly lower rates of psychiatric disorders than American-born Asians and other native-born Americans. That study’s lead author was David Takeuchi, a UW professor of social work and sociology who is also a co-author of the suicide study. Seunghye Hong, who recently earned her doctorate in social work from the UW, also contributed to the suicide study.
The new research also found that:
• The percentage of Asian-Americans who reported thinking about suicide increased the longer they lived in the U.S.
• Young Asian-Americans, between 18 and 34, had the highest estimates of thinking about (11.9 percent), planning (4.38 percent) and attempting suicide (3.82 percent) of any age group
• Asian-Americans who were never married reported the highest lifetime estimates of thinking about (17.9 percent) planning (7.6 percent) and attempting (5 percent) suicide.
• There were few major differences by ethnicity, although Chinese (10.9 percent) and Filipinos (9.76 percent) reported the highest rates of thinking about suicide.
“This study highlights the fact that we may be underserving Asian-American women born in the U.S,” said Duldulao. “While there was little evidence of sociodemographic differences in suicidal behaviors among various Asian-American groups, there was some anecdotal data from people working in the community. It is important for service providers, as well as policymakers, to know that U.S.-born Asian-Americans, particularly the second generation, are at high risk for mental health problems and suicidal behavior.
“In most cultures suicide is just as unacceptable as it is here. It is pretty much a taboo. That’s why this study is important and why Asian-American communities need to talk more about suicide and mental health,” she said.
The researchers used a modified version of a World Health Organization questionnaire to assess whether and at what age people had suicidal thoughts, made suicide plans or attempted suicide.
The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research at the National Institutes of Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Anger Has Its Place August 2, 2009Posted by koreanpower999 in Uncategorized.
Tags: African American, Barack Obama, Cambridge, Harvard, Henry Louis Gates, James Crowley, police, race, racial profiling, racism, white privilege
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No more than five or six minutes elapsed from the time the police were alerted to the possibility of a break-in at a home in a quiet residential neighborhood and the awful clamping of handcuffs on the wrists of the distinguished Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
If Professor Gates ranted and raved at the cop who entered his home uninvited with a badge, a gun and an attitude, he didn’t rant and rave for long. The 911 call came in at about 12:45 on the afternoon of July 16 and, as The Times has reported, Mr. Gates was arrested, cuffed and about to be led off to jail by 12:51.
The charge: angry while black.
The president of the United States has suggested that we use this flare-up as a “teachable moment,” but so far exactly the wrong lessons are being drawn from it — especially for black people. The message that has gone out to the public is that powerful African-American leaders like Mr. Gates and President Obama will be very publicly slapped down for speaking up and speaking out about police misbehavior, and that the proper response if you think you are being unfairly targeted by the police because of your race is to chill.
I have nothing but contempt for that message.
Mr. Gates is a friend, and I was selected some months ago to receive an award from an institute that he runs at Harvard. I made no attempt to speak to him while researching this column.
The very first lesson that should be drawn from the encounter between Mr. Gates and the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, is that Professor Gates did absolutely nothing wrong. He did not swear at the officer or threaten him. He was never a danger to anyone. At worst, if you believe the police report, he yelled at Sergeant Crowley. He demanded to know if he was being treated the way he was being treated because he was black.
You can yell at a cop in America. This is not Iran. And if some people don’t like what you’re saying, too bad. You can even be wrong in what you are saying. There is no law against that. It is not an offense for which you are supposed to be arrested.
That’s a lesson that should have emerged clearly from this contretemps.
It was the police officer, Sergeant Crowley, who did something wrong in this instance. He arrested a man who had already demonstrated to the officer’s satisfaction that he was in his own home and had been minding his own business, bothering no one. Sergeant Crowley arrested Professor Gates and had him paraded off to jail for no good reason, and that brings us to the most important lesson to be drawn from this case. Black people are constantly being stopped, searched, harassed, publicly humiliated, assaulted, arrested and sometimes killed by police officers in this country for no good reason.
New York City cops make upwards of a half-million stops of private citizens each year, questioning and frequently frisking these men, women and children. The overwhelming majority of those stopped are black or Latino, and the overwhelming majority are innocent of any wrongdoing. A true “teachable moment” would focus a spotlight on such outrages and the urgent need to stop them.
But this country is not interested in that.
I wrote a number of columns about the arrests of more than 30 black and Hispanic youngsters — male and female — who were doing nothing more than walking peacefully down a quiet street in Brooklyn in broad daylight in the spring of 2007. The kids had to hire lawyers and fight the case for nearly two frustrating years before the charges were dropped and a settlement for their outlandish arrests worked out.
Black people need to roar out their anger at such treatment, lift up their voices and demand change. Anyone counseling a less militant approach is counseling self-defeat. As of mid-2008, there were 4,777 black men imprisoned in America for every 100,000 black men in the population. By comparison, there were only 727 white male inmates per 100,000 white men.
While whites use illegal drugs at substantially higher percentages than blacks, black men are sent to prison on drug charges at 13 times the rate of white men.
Most whites do not want to hear about racial problems, and President Obama would rather walk through fire than spend his time dealing with them. We’re never going to have a serious national conversation about race. So that leaves it up to ordinary black Americans to rant and to rave, to demonstrate and to lobby, to march and confront and to sue and generally do whatever is necessary to stop a continuing and deeply racist criminal justice outrage.
The Personal Responsibility to End Racial Profiling July 29, 2009Posted by koreanpower999 in Uncategorized.
Tags: African American, Barack Obama, Cambridge, Henry Louis Gates, James Crowley, personal responsiblity, police, race, racial profiling, racism, white privilege
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The Huffington Post – July 28, 2009
by Mark Thompson
In one week, President Obama covered the waterfront on racial politics. Although, in his address to the delegates at the NAACP’s Centennial he said, “an African-American child is roughly five times as likely as a white child to see the inside of a jail,” he also used the same “personal responsibility” rhetoric as he has every time he has spoken to African American audiences as candidate and president. Just days later, he would answer a question at a prime time press conference regarding the arrest of African American Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. that would place him in the middle of the debate on racial profiling.
“Personal responsibility,” a Republican vocabulary word born in the Reagan era, plays politically well among moderate and conservative Whites, and even among some White liberals who, unfortunately, have a hard time distinguishing reality from the right-wing noise machine. The “personal responsibility” argument suggests that there is some inherent pathology within African Americans that is disabling. “Personal responsibility” is the modern day replacement for the antebellum term that endured through the middle of the 20th century — “shiftlessness.”
Today, Republicans argue “personal responsibility/shiftlessness” most frequently with the statistic that 70% of African American children are born to single mothers. But according to the Institute for Policy Studies, “the increase in the share of White children living in a single parent home has been much higher (229%) than for Black children (155%) since 1960.” Yet Whites are never accused of lacking personal responsibility or preached to about the subject. And sometimes we Democrats, Lefties and Progressives are too quick to repeat what the Right has popularly propagandized without a careful analysis of this rhetoric’s roots.
I criticized the president for feeling the need to include “personal responsibility” repeatedly and exclusively in front of African American audiences (not to mention his admonition while in Ghana for Africans to get over colonialism). Even he mused aloud to the Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson after his NAACP speech about the attention he received. “I’ve noticed that when I talk about personal responsibility in the African American community, that gets highlighted,” Obama said. “But then the whole other half of the speech, where I talked about government’s responsibility . . . that somehow doesn’t make news.”
Enter Gates. Literally. Or Gates attempt to enter into his own home. An arrest is made. The Harvard professor charges racial profiling, and most of us who are African American can immediately identify. Countless studies have proven that African Americans are disproportionately stopped and detained Driving, Walking and Flying While Black. Hence, the NAACP has introduced a mobile rapid response system for African Americans to report police misconduct. I co-founded the Washington, DC NAACP Police Task Force that pressured the DC Police to implement their own profiling study using data collection and analysis. (I even taught a course at the police academy on racial profiling and the historical relationship between African Americans and law enforcement. So, I would love to talk shop on racial profiling instruction with Gates’ arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, a reported fellow teacher on the subject.)
There is no question that the president is an African American who has genuinely lived the African American experience. So when asked about Gates’ arrest he gave an answer which unlike his NAACP speech was unscripted. He said that “the Cambridge Police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home…what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”
Immediately, the political punditry and police unions focused on “acted stupidly,” and demanded an apology from the president. The demographic to whom “personal responsibility” rhetoric was appealing a week earlier was at risk of alienation. The White House then began Walking Backward While Black. The president invited first, Crowley, then, Gates, over for a beer.
But this does not erase the most important part of the president’s statement at the press conference: “There is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”
White House refreshments are insufficient to end racial profiling. As a student of Abraham Lincoln, President Obama knows that Lincoln’s diplomacy by appeasing the South with a plan for gradual emancipation failed to stem the tide of the Civil War. Injustices must be pulled promptly by their very roots.
Why not invite stakeholders on all sides to a National Conversation About Race and Policing as the National Black Police Association has suggested? Why not endorse the reintroduction and swift passage of the End Racial Profiling Act in Congress? This bill would require state and local jurisdictions to practice data be collected by race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, and religion, so as to determine the extent to which profiling exists in a jurisdiction, if at all. For both sides of this debate, this legislation puts the proof in the pudding.
Mr. President, refreshments are insufficient. Without a national conversation and passage of this important legislation, there can be no post-racial America before we achieve an era of post-profiling. With your gifts, Sir, and as president, getting us there is your personal responsibility.