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[personal profile] mistersandman
“More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began,” Michelle Alexander told a standing room only house at the Pasadena Main Library this past Wednesday, the first of many jarring points she made in a riveting presentation.

Alexander, currently a law professor at Ohio State, had been brought in to discuss her year-old bestseller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness More Black Men Now in Prison System than Were Enslaved. Interest ran so high beforehand that the organizers had to move the event to a location that could accommodate the eager attendees. That evening, more than 200 people braved the pouring rain and inevitable traffic jams to crowd into the library’s main room, with dozens more shuffled into an overflow room, and even more latecomers turned away altogether. Alexander and her topic had struck a nerve.

Growing crime rates over the past 30 years don’t explain the skyrocketing numbers of black — and increasingly brown — men caught in America’s prison system, according to Alexander, who clerked for Supreme Court Justice  Harry Blackmun after attending Stanford Law. “In fact, crime rates have fluctuated over the years and are now at historical lows.”

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[personal profile] mistersandman
Carrying signs that read "Don't stop until the flag drops" and "It's not about heritage," 1,000 people marched to the grounds of the state capitol building on Monday to protest the Confederate battle flag on the Capitol grounds.

The march was organized on Martin Luther King Jr. Day by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to protest the continuing commemoration of the Confederate role in the Civil War.

Organizers said it was also to protest the threat of state education budget cuts, a proposal for a state identification card and talk of stricter immigration laws in South Carolina.

Linda Pearson, 61, of Columbia said she was proud to march on Martin Luther King Day.

"I come every year and I usually try to bring my grandchildren. It's still all about the flag, really," she said.

The Confederate flag hung from a flagpole atop the Capitol building until 2000
, when it was moved to a monument to Confederate dead elsewhere on the grounds. The flag was moved only after an NAACP economic boycott of the state.

Dr. Lonnie Randolph Jr., president of the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, said the organization wants the flag completely removed from the grounds.

It also condemned South Carolina's ongoing commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, which it views as celebrating slavery.

In December, the NAACP organized protest marches in Charleston around a "Secession Ball" that marked South Carolina's secession from the United States 150 years ago.

The ball was sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans and featured period dress and the singing of "Dixie."

In an interview, Randolph said he was sure the United States would not allow a commemoration of the Wounded Knee incident in South Dakota, when Indians were killed by U.S. cavalry in December, 1890; or a party celebrating the dropping a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima; or a party celebrating the Holocaust in which millions of Jews died.

"They would not allow it and the NAACP is not going to allow South Carolina to do it," he said, referring to the state's commemorations of the Civil War.

South Carolina, in December 1860, was the first state to secede from the United States after the election of Abraham Lincoln, leading to the formation of the Confederacy.

The crowd listening to speeches after the march included the state's new attorney general, Alan Wilson, the son of Rep. Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, who shocked a joint session of Congress in September, 2009, when he shouted "You lie!" at President Barack Obama as he spoke to Congress.

"I'm here to offer support as a private citizen," said Alan Wilson, also a Republican. "Our state has come a long way but we have a long way to go. We have got to look for common ground wherever we can."

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[personal profile] treesahquiche
President Sarkozy wanted his government to reflect France's ethnic diversity when he came to power. Yesterday that was abandoned.

The French government has become more white and more rightwing in a reshuffle that has included the sacking of two ministers handpicked by Nicolas Sarkozy to bring ethnic diversity to the cabinet.

Click for the full story. )


Also, guess who's Minister of Defense?

What the hell, France. What the hell. Between this and the expulsion of the Roma, what are the chances that we'll get to experience a real-life Norsefire movement within our lifetimes?

Clearly, there is no place for strong-willed, outspoken, non-white women in French politics.


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