Project 21: New Visions

Marion Barry: Last of the Black Emperors, by Kimberley Wilson

New Visions Commentary /
On May 21, 1998, Marion Barry announced to the world that he would not be a candidate for a fifth term as mayor of Washington, D.C. I hardly know whether to laugh or cry. Marion and the city of Washington have been locked in a long and sometimes torturous embrace for more than 16 years. In his heyday, he cast a long, dark shadow over this town. The first thing a visitor to the District of Columbia sees is Marion Barry. His name is everywhere you look. It's on the city's welcome signs, the Reeves Municipal Center and on every ...
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Morality Over Money, by Mike Ramey

New Visions Commentary /
I recently saw a very interesting and funny video entitled "Afros and Bellbottoms." It featured the well-known African-American comic and television talk show host Sinbad. I'll admit I was a bit skeptical. With many comics making fortunes by tossing around jokes about bodily functions, four-letter words and sexual situations like they were leaves falling from trees, I hoped Sinbad's video would be a welcome departure from this valley of filth and profanity. Much to my surprise, the 74-minute presentation was squeaky clean by modern standards. Sinbad's performance was a romp through the 70's -- from plastic-covered furniture to two-parent families ...
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He’s Got More than Game. He’s Got Perspective, by B.B. Robinson

New Visions Commentary /
Spike Lee has done the right thing again! His new movie "He Got Game" touches almost every nerve and fiber of the African-American contemporary experience. More importantly, Lee provides a valid metaphorical perspective on that experience. If you want a starting point for discussing the economic, political, social, educational or entertainment experiences of African-Americans, "He Got Game" is your movie. However, because the African-American experience is enmeshed in the American experience, the movie's relevance cannot be restricted to ethnic grounds. The two main story lines are simple enough: (1) A father's attempt to reunite with his son after a long ...
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James Earl Ray is Survived by a Family of Troubling Questions, by Deroy Murdock

New Visions Commentary /
Dead men tell no tales, but the questions they inspire can be immortal. This is true for James Earl Ray, Dr. Martin Luther King's convicted assassin who died in prison April 23 of liver failure at age 70. Alive and well, Earl Caldwell still wonders what really happened on April 4, 1968 in Memphis. He thought he heard a bomb. The then-New York Times correspondent dashed from his room at the Lorraine Motel. He saw a man arise from a crouched position in the bushes across the street. Facing the balcony above Caldwell, with their backs to those bushes, Andrew ...
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Working in a White Man’s World, by Kimberley Wilson

New Visions Commentary /
For many people, The Black Man's Guide to Working in a White Man's World is going to be hard to read. This is not because it is a dry, scholarly tome, but because it will make quite a few readers squirm with discomfort. The Guide's author, E. LeMay Lathan, hits hard and speaks plainly. To those who come to this book looking for a mishmash of theory and finger-pointing at whites, Lathan offers hard truth instead. It comes as a splash of cold water: to those readers who approach it with open minds, this book will be as refreshing as ...
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Lower the Lifeboats, Now! Public Schools are Sinking, by Phyllis Berry Myers

New Visions Commentary /
Inner-city public schools are like a sinking ship, and the children on board need to be rescued before it's too late. Their schools are sinking fast and educational opportunities are being lost. Roofs leak. Boilers are busted. Science and computer labs, if they even exist, are out of date. Classrooms are crowded. Drug and violence are commonplace. Dropout rates are high; expectations and standards are low. Inner-city parents, many of whom are low-income, are tired of waiting for others to save their children from failing schools. They pushing for and beginning to adopt all kinds of innovative strategies to turn ...
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Slap in the Face of the Reverend Floyd Flake, by Jackie Cissell

New Visions Commentary /
Former Democratic congressman Floyd Flake of New York was recently uninvited to the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus Prayer Breakfast. Now, if anyone should be welcome at the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus Prayer Breakfast, it should be Floyd Flake. Rev. Flake spent six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. He is also pastor of the 9,000 member Allen A.M.E. Church in New York. All of these qualifications would seem to make him a shoo-in for the Prayer Breakfast, right? Wrong! The Rev. Flake has a problem -- a problem ...
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Black History Month: Why February? by C. Mason Weaver

New Visions Commentary /
This is Black History Month. I wonder who picked the coldest, wettest, shortest month of the year to remember the history of African people and their descendants in America? How did we come to have Black History Month in February? Why not remember the history of Black people during January for the month Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and the birthday of Dr. King? Perhaps, we could recognize it during December for the make-believe holiday of Kwanzaa. How about June in recognition of "Juneteenth," the liberation of slaves in Texas? Why February? Slavery was abolished by Congress in April 1862; ...
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Recollections of Racial Identity, by Jackie Cissell

New Visions Commentary /
I recently completed a sociology class in which we covered a section on how communities are identified by race, class and other factors. During the class, we discussed our earliest recollection of racial identity, and the benefits and struggles associated with those childhood recollections. My earliest recollection of my racial identity was at the age of eight. The time was the mid-1960s. I clearly remember my parents and other members of the NAACP poring over maps, discussing certain areas of the city where blacks could not live. It was during this time I realized that blacks could not live anywhere ...
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Amistad: Reigniting Fears Through History, by B.B. Robinson – January 1998

New Visions Commentary /
Like most Americans, European-Americans without racist attitudes fear a weak economy, a bad president or schools unable to educate their children. However, many African-Americans believe that European-Americans with racist attitudes still harbor a genuine fear of the day when so-called "minorities" will dominate the nation's population. U.S. Bureau of the Census projections confirm this will happen around the year 2050. European-American racists must fear that day the way their forefathers feared Nat Turner. Amistad, the new blockbuster movie, can ignite that same fear through its coverage of history. It is a great movie that should be seen because it enables ...
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A Street Named Martin Luther King, by Kimberley Wilson

New Visions Commentary /
Recently my husband and I were sightseeing in a large urban city. I misread the map and, instead of arriving at the wax museum, we found ourselves headed for the Martin Luther King Memorial Bridge. "Hon, we better turn around. We're about to get in trouble," I announced. My husband quickly reminded me that, except in action adventure-movies, it's mighty difficult (not to mention illegal) to make a U-turn on a bridge. There was no turning back. As we expected the MLK bridge led to a poverty pocket. Actually, that's too nice an expression for what awaited us. The place ...
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Amistad: Reingniting Fears Through History, by B. B. Robinson

New Visions Commentary /
We all have fears. Like most Americans, European-Americans without racist attitudes fear a weak economy, a bad president or schools unable to educate their children. However, many African-Americans believe that European-Americans with racist attitudes still harbor a genuine fear of the day when so-called "minorities" will dominate the nation's population. U.S. Bureau of the Census projections confirm this will happen around the year 2050. European-American racists must fear that day the way their forefathers feared Nat Turner. Amistad, the new blockbuster movie, can ignite that same fear through its coverage of history. It is a great movie that should be ...
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Succeeding American-Style, by James Coleman

New Visions Commentary /
When I was a child, my mother told me black people had to be twice as good as people of European ancestry if they wanted to succeed. I never took her advice as a deterrent, just a statement of fact. I chalked it up to understanding the rules of the game. As in any game, there are obstacles and restrictions. Winners master the rules and excel, while losers complain about them and fail. For example, outfielders in baseball don't complain that they have to run around while the pitcher, catcher and other infielders stay in roughly the same place. They ...
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Is UNICEF Aiding AIDS? by Kevin Pritchett

New Visions Commentary /
by Kevin PritchettA New Visions Commentary paper published November 1997 by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, E-Mail [email protected], Web http://www.nationalcenter.org. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. Whether media tycoon Ted Turner's recent $1 billion pledge to the United Nations is altruistic or just a stunt is not yet clear. What is certain, however, is that he won't be getting his money's worth or saving humanity. If Mr. Turner had performed the same due diligence as he surely does on his business investments, he would have found that ...
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The Emergence of Clarence Thomas, by Paul Weyrich

New Visions Commentary /
by Paul WeyrichA New Visions Commentary paper published September 1997 by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, [email protected], Web http://www.project21.org. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. The headline on the front page of Sunday's [July 27] Washington Times read "Thomas Increasing in Stature as Justice." It virtually jumped off the page. The Times piece, by Frank J. Murray, acknowledges what Supreme Court watchers such as Tom Jipping have been saying for some time now. Clarence Thomas is slowly but surely becoming one of the most influential of the ...
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Competition and Experience are the Keys to Achievement, by Mike Ramey

New Visions Commentary /
One of my favorite baseball stories involves two well-known players: Hank Aaron and Yogi Berra. The story dates back to when they were young men. Aaron and Berra were playing in the same game for opposing teams. Aaron stepped up to the plate, bat in hand, ready to take care of business. Berra, who was in his position as catcher, noticed that Aaron was holding the bat with the label facing the wrong way. Berra whispered to Aaron: "Hold the bat so you can read the label." Aaron whispered back to Berra: "I didn't come here to read, I came ...
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How Social Security Shortchanges Black Americans, by Deroy Murdock

New Visions Commentary /
By yesterday's definition of racism, the answer is no. For all its failings, Social Security was concocted in 1935 with glowing intentions. Rescuing the elderly from poverty -- regardless of race -- is an idea to which only the flintiest would object. By today's definition, however, a negative "disparate impact" on minorities trumps even the most pristine motives. Perhaps Social Security should be investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As it is, Social Security is a legalized pyramid scheme built atop unstable demographic sands. It threatens to collapse into rubble once the Baby Boomers retire and Generation-Xers begin carrying ...
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African-Americans Suffer Disproportionately From AIDS, by Roderick Conrad

New Visions Commentary /
by Roderick Conrad A New Visions Commentary paper published May 1997 by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, E-Mail [email protected], Web http://www.nationalcenter.org. Reprints permitted provided source is credited.When names like Arthur Ashe, Rock Hudson, and Kimberly Bergalis are mentioned, people automatically think of AIDS or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The fact that most Americans would know that Ashe, Hudson and Bergalis died of AIDS is in no small part due to the enormous attention HIV and AIDS have received in the press for over a decade ...
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The Clinton Administration’s Great Racial Divide, by Arturo Silva

New Visions Commentary /
President Clinton is in a funny mood these days. On June 23 he gave a gloomy speech complaining that official Washington is: gloomy. Saying "You listen to some of these people talk in the nation's capital, you'd think that they spent the whole morning sucking lemons," the President boasted of his own unifying influence: "I have done everything I can as president to heal the kind of divisive, destructive political climate that has come to dominate too much of the discourse in Washington." But has he? Nine days before his "gloomy" speech the President's topic du jour was race, and ...
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Regarding Affirmative Action: It’s Higher Standards, Higher Expectations that Guarantee a Better Future, by Faye Anderson

New Visions Commentary /
by Faye Anderson (Faye Anderson, a member of the national Advisory Committee of the African-American leadership group Project 21, is President of the Douglass Policy Institute, a tax-exempt public policy education and research organization.)A New Visions Commentary paper published April 1997 by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, E-Mail [email protected], Web http://www.nationalcenter.org. Reprints permitted provided source is credited.With the unveiling of President Clinton's race initiative and the introduction of the Civil Rights Act of 1997, affirmative action is once again on the national public policy agenda. The call for ...
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