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July 1, 2014  issue
© An African American POV
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WHEN WHITE ATTORNEYS EVALUATE BLACK JUDGES It never fails to amaze me! Judges in Massachusetts are  rated on “a broad range of issues” by anonymous  questionnaires filled out by mostly White attorneys who  practice before them. Surprise! A “high-level” judicial  commission  with the help of two Harvard professors  determined, after a carefully designed study, that racial  bias on the part of the questionnaire respondents  caused Black judges to be rated lower than White judges  and that White judges scored significantly higher on all  survey items compared to minority judges. Another  earlier unrelated study had arrived at the same  conclusion about the race factor. It is not even rocket  science. But to see data that make White judges better  than Black judges in all categories should bring pause to  even the most cynical skeptic’s belief that racism is no  longer among us. Let’s assume, for a minute, the racist  evaluations are not conscious. They are no less  outrageous and carry direct consequences. “Judges who  score poorly are often assigned various remedies that  can be professionally embarrassing – like extra  mentoring by a more senior judge, or having to take  continuing education classes. In addition, when they  seek to move to higher courts or to become  administrative judges, their weak reviews work against  them, forming a de facto glass ceiling.” (The Boston  Globe, June 11, 2014)  It never fails to amaze me but it  never surprises me. The good news, however, is that as  a result of the study’s stunning revelations, some things  are about to change.  REAL RESIDENCY RULES Boston’s new mayor, Marty Walsh, ran up against a  stone wall when he reversed his position on Boston’s  residency law requiring new hires living outside of  Boston to move into the city within six months of their  appointment. He wanted the Council to waive the rule for  his top 80 appointees.  The Council, in its infinite  wisdom, refused.  JUSTICE FOR ADJUNCT PROFESSORS Adjunct professors, those without tenure who teach part-  time, are finally organizing for better pay, benefits and  working conditions at Tufts and Lesley universities and,  most recently, at Northeastern.  It’s about time they  fought back against a system that makes them third  class citizens in academia where they carry most of the  teaching load for very little reward.    KOCH KEEPS THEM CONFUSED Koch Industries, Inc. and the Charles Koch Foundation  just gave the United Negro College Fund $25 million –  $18.5 million for 3000 merit-based scholarships to  African-American students and $6.5 million for “general  support for historically black colleges and universities  and the fund.” A little nervous about the optics of a gift  from Koch, a man who Democrats love to demonize,  United Negro College Fund president and chief  executive officer Michael Lomax defended the gift  saying: “…since the organization’s inception in 1944, it  has reached out to people of all backgrounds for support  without an ideological lens….” He told a Boston Globe  reporter that in today’s politically charged climate he’s  prepared to take criticism from those of different political  leanings than the Koch’s. “Criticism is a small price for  helping young people get the chance to realize their  dream of a college education, and if I’ve got to bear the  brunt of someone else’s criticism to ensure that we have  the resources to help those students, then I can handle  it, and I can take the heat,” he was quoted as saying.  (The Boston Globe, June 17, 2014)  A little pragmatism  goes a long way, Koch or not.  SPEAKING OF WHICH… “The Ideologue believes that what is right works, but the  pragmatist believes instead that what worked is right.”   (The Boston Globe, May 26, 2014)  RACIAL DISPARITIES IN UNEMPLOYMENT AT THE COLLEGE LEVEL “…racial disparities in unemployment cut across class  lines…Among the report’s (from the Center for Economic  and Policy Research) most devastating findings is the  fact that even black Americans with a college degree are  significantly less likely than their white counterparts to  find employment (last year 12.4% between the ages of  22 and 27 were unemployed compared to 5.6% of all in  that age group)….Contrary to our beliefs much of the  
discrimination that is alive and well is being  unintentionally perpetrated by people who  genuinely have no idea they are doing so….Instead  they bestow favoritism on others they consider like  them….The same uneven field of legacy  admissions at institutions of higher learning also  results in an uneven playing field in the real  world….Many of the gatekeepers to the halls of  power remain white, which means that many times,  those unknowingly looking to hire people whom  they consider similar to themselves wind up being  white, too….Many good people probably believe  that every day they go to the office, they are being  fair, when the truth is that they aren’t.”  (The  Republican, June 2, 2014)  GUN CONTROL HYPOCRISY I could be hunted down and shot for saying it but  the proliferation of guns in America in places where  they should not be is as much supply driven as  demand driven. The gang member who kills an  opponent rarely does so with a legally obtained  weapon and won’t be deterred by laws that  legitimate, licensed gun holders are subjected to.  And the recent laws proposed by our legislature  are typical of most that focus on responsible gun  owners and have little impact on those who are  irresponsible gun owners who use illegally  obtained guns to kill people. How many young  people in Springfield, Hartford, New York,  Washington, Chicago, and Los Angeles were shot  and wounded or killed by licensed gun owners  using legally obtained guns? Not many! The real  question that nobody wants to address is the origin  of all these illegal guns that any youngster can  obtain for the asking. Where are they coming from  and who is making a profit from their proliferation?  The answer is untouchable because the  manufacturers that make them and provide them to  the distributers who sell them are political sacred  cows that are in it for the profit of it all and could  never survive without the illegal gun trade they  support.   ENCOURAGING “The chorus of condemnation of racism is  encouraging, certainly. Yet the view that it signals  we’ve arrived in post-racial America misses the  bigger picture: Something is still terribly wrong in  the relationships between whites and blacks. The  two races live their lives in almost separate worlds.  Most American neighborhoods are still largely  homogeneous. Some of that may be due to  intentional bigotry, but much is also unconscious, a  matter of people seeking out their own. Whatever  the cause, however, those housing patterns end up  affecting everything, from education to friendships  to romantic relationships to work.” (Tom Keane,  The Boston Globe, May 20, 2014)  NEW NAACP PRESIDENT Fifty-three year old Cornell William Brooks has  been selected as president of the national NAACP.  He is executive director of the New Jersey Institute  for Social Justice based in New Jersey. He has a  home in Prince William County, Virginia and is an  associate minister of Turner Memorial African  Methodist Episcopal Church in Hyattsville,  Maryland. And he is a graduate of both Head Start  and Yale Law School and is married and has two  teenage sons. Brooks, a native of South Carolina  and the NAACP’s 18th national president, was  selected from more than 450 applicants.  LYNDON JOHNSON’S GREAT SOCIETY “The tangle which now ensnares all races and  ethnicities includes welfare dependency and “flight  from work.” Twenty-nine percent of Americans –  about 47 percent of blacks and 48 percent of  Hispanics – live in households receiving means-  tested benefits. And “the proportion of men 20 and  older who are employed has dramatically and  almost steadily dropped since the start of the War  on Poverty, falling from 80.6 percent in January  1964 to 67.6 percent 50 years later.” For every  adult man ages 20 to 64 who is between jobs and  looking for work, more than three are neither  working nor seeking work, a trend that began with  the Great Society.” (George Will, Boston Herald,  May 18, 2014)  ■ 
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