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‘Power Broke’ Black Leaders

Black news from Pasadena - Commentary - James Clingman on Black leadersFrederick Douglass said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand, it never did and never will." I often wonder what Black people do not understand about that statement. We love to quote it, but when it comes to putting it into practice, we fall far short of the spirit of Douglass' words. Maybe Douglass should have added this caveat: "A demand is nothing without power to back it up."

In response to incidents of injustice, we are quick to resort to the same old tactics directed by leaders who sell us out. They tell us, as our president told the Congressional Black Caucus a few years ago: "Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes," and hit the streets chanting and singing in an effort to show our discontent.

We gather in churches and listen to fiery speeches.We hold press conferences and show our disdain for the system and its oppressive behavior toward Black people. We offer milquetoast solutions to the worst of crimes against us. For instance, in Ferguson, MO, Al Sharpton advised us to stop having "ghetto pity parties." John Lewis called for martial law in Ferguson. I am still trying to figure how he thinks implementing martial law, which has the power to suspend civil rights, is the answer to a problem he and others consider to be a suppression of civil rights. Other iconic leaders say the problems in Ferguson can be solved simply by "voting."

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NFL Case Sparks Debate on Spanking

As the NFL's 2014 season warms up, Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson, prepares to face charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. A week prior, news surfaced that he had spanked his 4-year-old son with a switch, resulting in major bruises and lacerations on his legs, thighs, and scrotum.

When the news broke, NBA's Charles Barkley happened to be a guest on an NFL sportscasting show, where he explained, "Whipping – we do that all the time. Every Black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances."

Mainstream news coverage of the charges have been defining what a switch is for their audiences, a fact that highlights the wide racial divide in child rearing. But even Black parents and scholars are beginning to publicly question whether corporal punishment — spankings, beatings, whoopings, whatever you want to call it – is the best way to discipline children.

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Decriminalizing School Discipline

Black news from Pasadena - Commentary - School discipline findingsThe purpose of public schools is to educate not exclude children, and to help identify and meet children's needs, not make children serve adult convenience, self-interest, and systems. So huge reforms are required in school discipline policies and practices across our nation as school pushout has worsened in past decades with the criminalization of children at younger and younger ages aided and abetted by school expulsion and suspension policies which funnel children into the prison pipeline often crippling them for life.

Nationally, the number of secondary school students suspended or expelled during a school year increased about 40 percent from 1 in 13 in 1972–73 to 1 in 9 in 2009–10. Schools with higher suspension and expulsion rates have worse school climates, lower student academic achievement, and are often less safe. Racially discriminatory school discipline policies contribute to the Cradle to Prison Pipeline® crisis with a Black boy born in 2001 having a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in his lifetime and a Latino boy a 1 in 6 chance of the same fate.

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Eric Holder’s Legacy: No Coward on Race

Black news from Pasadena - Commentary - Eric Holder legacyAfter being confirmed as the nation's first African American U.S. attorney general, Eric H. Holder, Jr. wasted little time putting everyone on notice that he would not tip-toe around the volatile subject of race.

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," Holder declared in a speech at the Justice Department.

There was the predictable uproar on the right and President Obama, while not repudiating his new appointee, told the New York Times, "I think it's fair to say that if I had been advising my attorney general, we would have used different language."

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Killing A President

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Radical rights want President Obama deadNews Flash! John Wilkes Booth shot and killed President Abraham Lincoln on Friday, April 14, 1865, five days after General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses Grant in the Civil War. Lee was part of a larger conspiracy to win America for the confederacy.

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