Tag Archives: Plessy v. Ferguson

Celebrating the 14th Amendment: Long May It Stand?

9 Jul

On July 9, 1868 the 14th Amendment was passed to the United States Constitution.  Not only did the 14th Amendment overturn one of the worst U.S. Supreme Court rulings, the Dred Scott case which precluded African Americans from voting by denying them the status of U.S. citizenship, it also helped to pave the way for  the 19th Amendment and Brown v. Board of Education.  Let us not forget that Brown v. Board of Education overturned another of the bottom five worst U.S. Supreme Court rulings, Plessy v. Ferguson–the nefarious notion of separate but equal. Thank you 14th Amendment for Due Process and Equal Protection–sadly we still have yet to see you fully implemented.  On another dreary note, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Citizens United ranks down there at the bottom five as well and fully demonstrates how sullied the current court is.

As TSM celebrates the 14th Amendment, one can’t help but to revisit the tragedy that is Rand Paul, who was elected as a Kentucky  Senator during the Tea Bag Flood of 2010 while decrying the 14th Amendment. Thank goodness Republican Gov. Rick (the Bigot) Scott did not get his way as he was working with the Secretary of State in Florida to prevent people from voting. Sadly we still need to worry about bigots like Republican Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai who specifically stated that:

Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done.Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.

Click here if you can stomach the video of Turzai.

Moving on to the issue of marriage equality–this seems like a no brainer here!  If all citizens are to enjoy Equal Protection under the 14th Amendment, why is the LGBTQ community being denied the right to marriage? Let’s hope that when the pending cases reach the Supreme Court we get Brown rather than Plessy!


Poor Rand Paul: He Found Out He is not Above the Law

24 Jan

I am Above the Law!

When will Americans learns that elected Tea Party officials are allowed to be governed by a completely different set of rules than us everyday Americans?  I want to know what kind of Tea the Party is brewing and who is drinking it.  All Rand Paul had to do was get through security at the Airport in Nashville.

Apparently a millimeter wave scanner detected an “anomaly” in the area of his knee, according to Senator Paul, and TSA agents then said he’d have to undergo a full-body pat-down. Paul said he wouldn’t submit to such a search and offered to show agents his knee, instead. They said that wouldn’t suffice. There are rules in place (however excessive we might find them) to protect all passengers, even senators. as aTSA representative observed:

Passengers who refuse to complete the screening process cannot be granted access to the secure area in order to ensure the safety of others traveling.

But of course Sen. Paul feels there are separate but equal rules that his position entitles him to apply.  Yes, Plessy V. Ferguson is alive and well.  How sad that our poor old, sad old, dear old Rand was treated like any average American at the airport.  I’m sure his unpleasant and bitter brew of tea at the airport will only give him the stamina he needs to go forward and strip away the 14th amendment to block folk from voting. After that, Rand can finally conquer and put a stop to the unstoppable Gay Agenda.  Then he can get on to the business he was headed to Washington for when he ran afoul of the TSA, stopping women and ensuring they can’t be trusted with choices around their own bodies.  He is kind of like a Papa Stalin.

Forbes Magazine and How White Folk Just Don’t Understand Racism

14 Dec

I need to thank my friend Katherine McGuiness for inspiring me to write this article.  Katherine is a true social worker!

Just reading Gene Marks title of If I Were A Poor Black Kid in Forbes magazine on-line, I knew we were going to be in for a bumpy ride but I forced myself to read the full article.  Waste of time?  NO!  Very sad and pathetic commentary on how so many white people really do NOT understand what institutionalized racism is? YES!

I just love it when white heterosexual men have the chutzpah to prescribe what black folk need to do to make their lives better.  First, allow me to cut Marks a modicum of slack.  While I don’t believe he participates in racism on an individual level, he certainly seems unaware of how he benefits on an institutional level of racism.  According to Marks:

 I believe that everyone in this country has a chance to succeed.  Still.  In 2011.  Even a poor black kid in West Philadelphia.

It takes brains.  It takes hard work.  It takes a little luck.  And a little help from others.  It takes the ability and the know-how to use the resources that are available.  Like technology.  As a person who sells and has worked with technology all my life I also know this.

Oops! That would be fine and well if we all started on an even playing field, but we don’t.

Sadly, Marks goes on to say:

If I was a poor black kid I would first and most importantly work to make sure I got the best grades possible. I would make it my #1 priority to be able to read sufficiently.   I wouldn’t care if I was a student at the worst public middle school in the worst inner city.  Even the worst have their best.  And the very best students, even at the worst schools, have more opportunities.  Getting good grades is the key to having more options.  With good grades you can choose different, better paths.  If you do poorly in school, particularly in a lousy school, you’re severely limiting the limited opportunities you have.

Wow!  Did you really say that out loud?  I’m sorry, but it is really hard not to hear you as a pompous, privileged, punitive, pinhead.  I wonder if it occurred to you that if you are a poor black kid, the challenges you would face are not just attending “the worst public middle school.”  Can we talk about safety? Can we talk about is there enough food in the house? What does one’s diet look like? Are you able to get to school easily? Do you have access to health care? Regardless of how bright young black men are, they are still being profiled and pulled over by police.  Mr. Marks, do you ever have to worry about being pulled over the police for the type of car you drive? Do you notice that people watch you very closely when you enter a department store? Do you notice that there just are not a whole lot of black folk in positions of power in our government?

Honestly, I really don’t think Marks is trying to be racist, but I do worry how many people think like Marks and think it is okay for white people to tell black people what is best for them? ACTION: I would strongly suggest all TSM readers please read Dr. Beverly Tatum’s Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And other Conversations About Race, or if you would like to see how a white heterosexual man is able to acknowledge his own privilege and hold a respectful and intelligent conversation about race, read Tim Wise’s White Like Me.  

Unfortunately, Marks’ entire article turns a blind eye to history and the idea of privilege.  His words prove he has no concept of the generational impact of Plessy v. Ferguson, or the fact that the GI Bill after WWII, which allowed returning soldiers to buy a home, was only extended to white officers.  I could go on and on here, but I think you get the message by now.

For those of you wondering why I included this article in Feminism and LGBT, it is because I believe we have to address the intersections of oppression and acknowledge the disproportionality of oppression if you are gay and black, or a black woman. Again, I urge everyone to address racism and call it out when you hear it or experience it.

*TSM is now taking nominations again for Hero and Bigot of the Year Awards.

Celebrating Rosa Parks, December 1

1 Dec

Celebrating Rosa Parks

December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks helped to set the Civil Rights Movement in motion when she refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger.  Parks’ courageous action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott; this boycott lead to a national struggle to end segregation and discrimination of public services, since the American people basically ignored Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

For those that don’t know or remember what segregation looked like, here is a quick synopsis which provides a horrifying glimpse into how we, as a nation, treated African-Americans:

While operating a bus, drivers were required to provide separate but equal accommodations for white and black passengers by assigning seats. This was accomplished with a line roughly in the middle of the bus separating white passengers in the front of the bus and African-American passengers in the back. When an African-American passenger boarded the bus, they had to get on at the front to pay their fare and then get off and re-board the bus at the back door. When the seats in the front of the bus filled up and more white passengers got on, the bus driver would move back the sign separating black and white passengers and, if necessary, ask black passengers give up their seat.

Segregation clearly did not even qualify as separate but equal, as defined by Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896.

We need to remember Rosa Parks and the myriad other civil rights heroes, for the struggle to eradicate racism is far from over.  It was just last year the Tea Party in its infinite insanity produced the birther movement, demanding President Obama’s birth certificate.  My hope is that for all of us that are working to eradicate racism, we take action. We insert ourselves in conversations, we strive to make our black brothers and sisters more visible by ensuring we see black people in positions of power!

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