Tag Archives: Census

The idea of race

Leonard Pitts wrote a tremendous article, Dumbest idea in history? Race. You should read the whole piece.

Among other things, He explains that race became “that which would allow one person in rags to feel superior to another person in rags.” In the United States, “Whiteness was something that had to be learned and earned, particularly for those — Jews, Poles, southern Italians, Hungarians, the Irish — who were regarded as congenitally inferior. They were seen as white, says [Nell Irwin] Painter, but it was a sort of defective whiteness. They were ‘off white’ for want of a better term, and as such, a threat to American values and traditions. And they were mistreated accordingly until, over the passage of generations of assimilation, they achieved full whiteness.”

“As whiteness was invented, so was blackness. Continue reading The idea of race

N is for National Elections on November 6

If you’re not from the United States, you may not be aware of the fact that the US is having its national election on Tuesday, November 6.

CONGRESS

Approximately 1/3 of the US Senate is up for election. Senators are elected on a statewide basis for six-year terms.

All 435 members of the House of Representatives are up for election. The number of districts in each state is dependent on its population. The breakdown changes every 10 years, after the decennial Census. The results of the 2010 Census will alter the makeup of the House for the 2012 election. Continue reading N is for National Elections on November 6

Yes, there was a real Vidal Sassoon

I was on Facebook recently, and someone, who I believe considers herself a bit of a fashionista, wrote: “Did you have ANY idea Vidal Sassoon was a real person? I did not.” She must be even younger than I thought, because that means she never saw this commercial, and others like it. This made me feel rather old Continue reading Yes, there was a real Vidal Sassoon

I am interviewed in the NYADP Journal, and other things

In one or more of my blogs at some point, I had written about murderabilia, the collection of items associated with murder. Somehow the folks at New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, of which I am a member, saw the pieces and decided to interview me, much to my surprise. Well, the Winter 2012 NYADP Journal [PDF] is out and I’m in there on page 10 (PDF page 12), where I talk about my anti-death penalty journey. Check out also Continue reading I am interviewed in the NYADP Journal, and other things

G is for Gerrymander

Gerrymandering is a word which means “a practice that attempts to establish [in the process of setting electoral districts] a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan, incumbent-protected districts. Gerrymandering may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a political, racial, linguistic, religious or class group.”

The term was created way back in the early 19th century concerning the redrawing of the “Massachusetts state senate election districts under the then-governor Elbridge Gerry…to benefit his Democratic-Republican Party. When mapped, one of the contorted districts in the Boston area was said to resemble the shape of a salamander.” Continue reading G is for Gerrymander

This week, and next

I should note, first of all: Today is Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May, which “commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the French-Mexican War. It is not Mexico’s independence day, as is commonly believed.” [Emphasis mine.] “In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.”

Which means, unfortunately, yet another opportunity for some people to consume alcohol stupidly, even in areas without a large Mexican-American population. Guess I’ll put out a good thought to the cosmos Continue reading This week, and next

Getting All Post-Racial with MLK, Jr.


Since the King holiday is coming up, I thought I’d mention that noise I’ve been reading about Martin Luther King, Jr. being a Republican. This involved posters over the past couple years and his niece declaring it to be so. Frankly, I have not come across a totally credible source proving it one way or another.

The Republican party, of course, was the party of Lincoln, while the Democratic party, particularly in the South, where King lived, was the party of George Wallace and other segregationists. So it is quite plausible that he was a member of the GOP, at least until the 1960 election of John Kennedy. Surely he voted for Democrat Lyndon Johnson over Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964, his public comments make clear.

But most of the conversations miss the greater point, which is, “Would Martin Luther King, Jr. be a Republican in the 21st Century?” Those who suggest that the answer would be “yes” generally zero in on one section of his March on Washington I Have A Dream speech in August 1963, the part that goes: I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. The clear implication is that race-based remedies for past or current discrimination should be off the table.

But read the very end of the speech: Continue reading Getting All Post-Racial with MLK, Jr.