Category Archives: Race

NYC Mayor Race 2013: No Jewish Candidates A Sign of Shift in NYC Demographics

As Published on PolicyMic

America’s capital of diversity is experiencing a noticeable absence in its 2013 mayoral election diversity round table. As the prospects for New York City’s upcoming mayoral race come forward, it is beginning to seem more likely that this will be the fourth time since 1965 that there are no significant Jewish American candidates in contention for the seat.

The attention that New Yorkers have given the topic is a clear indication of the importance of race identity and representation to New York City voters. However, while much can be said about this year’s void, it certainly should not detract from the vast landscape in race, gender, and even sexual orientation in the 2013 mayoral election. Instead, New Yorkers should consider the demographic shifts in our City that are being reflected in the historic race.

Earlier this year, I posted an article that highlighted the diversity in NYC’s mayoral race. In this year’s lineup is City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is of Irish descent and would be the first female and openly gay mayor; Public Advocate Bill De Blasio, who is of Italian and German descent (and happens to be married to an African American woman); City Comptroller John Lui, who would be the first Taiwanese American mayor; and former Comptroller and 2009 Democrat nominee Bill Thompson Jr., who is black. The only significant GOP hopeful is former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr., who would be NYC’s first Latino mayor. This year’s race is indisputably one of the most diverse mayoral elections in NYC, if not the country, and deserves a grin from even the most extreme Tea Partier for its historic implications of our nation’s social progress.

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Chased from the Classroom, Locked out the Prison

“When you came to Lovdjieff’s classes, you came to learn. If you betrayed other motives, ‘Get out of here this minute!’—without malice but without equivocation. He was a magnet, an institution. His classes were works of art. He made ancient history contemporary by evoking the total environment—intellectual, social, political, economic—of an era. He breathed life into the shattered ruins of the past. Students sat entranced while The Christ performed, his silver-rimmed glasses reflecting the light in eye-twinkling flashes…he was drawn to the student who seemed impossible to teach—old men who had been illiterate all their lives and set in their ways. Lovdjeiff didn’t believe that anyone or anything in the universe was ‘set in its ways.’ Those students who were intelligent and quickest to learn he seemed reluctant to bother with, almost as if to say, pointing at the illiterates and speaking to the bright ones…he returned my essay—ungraded. There were instead spots on it which I realized to be his tears.” Read More

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Obama Has Mixed Record on African American Issues

Much has been made of President Barack Obama’s so called controversial statements in last week’s Black Enterprise magazine. As the Reverend Al Sharpton put it, President Obama finally stood up to his handful of critics from black organizations when he said that he is “not the president of black America. I’m the president of the United States of America.” Still, many segments of the black community continue to ponder whether or not the president takes their vote for granted (as most Democrats do).

 

But one of the major distinctions that I’d like to point out about Obama, and the black vote, is the divide between the vote and the admiration. In many ways, I will always be enamored by Obama the man; the black father with a strong family, the historic figure, the stoic and classy demeanor and the message of hope and change that he sends to blacks who have fallen prey to generational poverty and political complacency. However, Obama the politician is just as vulnerable to the assessment of the black community as the next politician who relies on the black vote…Read More

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The New Media Flexes its Muscles in Gabby Story

As Published in the Democrat and Chronicle’s Young Professionals’ Blog

Once upon a time there was a small group of high school girls that would sit in the back lunch room table and gossip their heads off. Every day, they would crack jokes on everyone who spent anything less than the hundreds they spent on clothes and the hours they spent in the mirror.

One day, they decided to pick on the wrong one. The immature bunch decided to post demeaning comments online about a peer who boasted straight As, made the front page of the local paper for getting a full-ride scholarship and became the first Black valedictorian. Before the three mocked and jeered her, half of the student body hailed her achievements. But once the word got out that the three mean girls posted rude comments online, the entire student body, even those who never saw or patted their valedictorian on the back before, came together to embrace her and shun the ‘haters.’ By the time graduation came around, the mean girls were old news and the valedictorian’s academic achievements were the only thing worth talking about…Read More

 

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Sylvia’s Soul Food Owner Dead at 86: Harlem Loses the Queen of Soul Food

As Posted on PolicyMic

Seldom do we ever hear of a non-chain restaurant that is able to transcend the local mom and pop world and become a cultural icon. But a Harlem woman of humble beginnings was able to take a small luncheonette in 1962 and build an empire through soulfulness and congeniality. Sylvia Woods, the Queen of Soul Food, became a household name for serving the best soul food around;  and she did it all with a trademark smile and caring heart. This past Thursday, Woods died at the age of 86. She is survived by four children, 18 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.

Some people may make the mistake of quickly glancing over Woods’ death in the headlines and completely missing out on how much of an impact she has had on the African American community and beyond. People from all around the country are likely to have a Sylvia story. I remember my family rushing to grab a sweat potato pie and waiting on Sylvia’s trademark long lines after we weren’t able to bake dessert in time for our fourth of July cookout. There was also all the commotion around town when Sylvia finally acquired space in Brooklyn during Brooklyn’s revitalization in the late 1990’s; saving us all the long subway ride up to Harlem. Even New York City hip hop mogul Funk Master Flex gave Sylvia constant shout outs and accolades on his Hot 97 radio show. And of course, every New Yorker knows that Harlem resident, and jazz enthusiast, Bill Clinton frequent Sylvia’s, even during his trips to New York as president.

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Kenneth Chamberlain Murder Points to Good Cop vs. Bad Cop Dillemma

As published by PolicyMic

Last week, a grand jury began hearings to determine whether or not White Plains officer Anthony Carelli should be tried for the November 2011 murder of former Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. The tardy hearings began just a day before the former Marine and heart patient’s 69th birthday.

While Chamberlain’s massacre may very well be intertwined with some of the public attention that Trayvon Martin’s slaying brought to excessive force, and tout relations between African American males and policing figures, there is yet another distinctive dilemma that must be raised due to Westchester County DA Janet DiFiore’s handling of the case. The lateness of the hearing, perhaps merely underway because of the pressure and attention given to Martin’s tragedy, as well as the Westchester police department’s initial reluctance to release the name and job status of the accused officer raises the question of how serious law enforcement is about axing out perpetrators of police brutality. Not only do the actions of Carelli perpetuate the violent culture of “Us vs. Them” in the black community, but it also jeopardizes the entire integrity of police departments everywhere and impedes all hope of black and brown communities embracing even the most respectable officers. Read More

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Do I Look Suspicious?

Today, I joined with friends of all colors, creeds, faiths and nationalities for the “Million Man Hoodie March” right here in Rochester. From my eye guesstimate, there were probably around 750 people expressing their discontent with the grossest manifestation of racial profiling that took the innocent life of a 17-year-old kid. The situation has forced me to think and reflect on a new level. Sometimes I debate, sometimes I write editorials; but this time, I chose to express my emotions through my lyrics. Below is a spoken word poem-turned-song that I wrote in response to Trayvon Martin’s murder: Read More

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