Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Attempted Silencing of Dissent: What Some Conservatives Don't Get Concerning Black America

I've been reading a lot of chatter on different conservative media sites about a boycott of Ebony magazine. The official statement made by Ebony called into question the viability of a boycott by a segment of society that doesn't buy their product anyway. As I was reading the comments section, which I tend to do, I noticed a recurring theme amongst supporters of a potential boycott: What would people do if white people made a magazine that was all about them? The logic behind this type of argument is elementary at best, and denies the proud history of publications like Ebony, JET, and Essence. These magazines came into existences because people of color had no avenue to express their opinions about the world they lived in. 

Fast forward to the present and people expect black publications, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, (HBCU's) and other historically significant entities to shutter their doors because we live in a 'post-racial' society. Howard, Morehouse, and Hampton exist because they were needed. These institutions have a history as worthy of praise as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, yet they should close their doors and get over it. I know graduates from these HBCU's these are brilliant and capable men and women. Why should these avenues of education and expression be closed to people yearning for them? If I could make one point to those of you still reading it would be that we are the same people you think you are. We want our kids to be loved and respected, we want dignity, and we most of all want our humanity recognized.

When President Obama was inaugurated we celebrated the achievement, but what we realized that maybe some didn't was that he is just one of MANY capable black men and women who could have been president. We will never get over our collective racial issues by pretending they don't exist. I support Ebony because people of color deserve to have their voices heard. When my folks were young Jet and Ebony were the only mainstream publications that bothered to acknowledge their intellectual capabilities, cater to their taste, and feature people who looked like them. To close these institutions to make others feel better would be a crime as horrific as the crimes that led to their creation. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Why Student Loans Are The New Adjustable Rate Mortgage

If I've learned anything about our country it’s that we are fond of biblical teachings and the founding fathers. I want to share a bit of both. Leviticus 25:35-37 “If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.  Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit.”

I bring this up because congress just passed a comprehensive student loan bill that attaches interest rates to the improvement of the economy. This sounds good considering rates were going to be over 6% for undergraduates this upcoming school year, but the reality is that these rates could be 8.5% in less than a decade. We are basically doing to college tuition what we did to the mortgage industry. We watched Adjustable Rate Mortgages destroy the wealth of many middle class Americans, and now we have forced a similar system on to our youth.

James Madison once said, "The primary function of government is to protect the minority of the opulent from the majority of the poor." I’m wondering if I'm being too literal in my interpretation of these words. The idea of the Federal Republic is to concentrate power into the hands of a select few.

As I spend more time with biblical and historical texts the differences between them becomes more pronounced. Our kids are being saddled with the equivalent of a mortgage by the time they graduate. I can't understand why investment banks can borrow our tax dollars at a lower rate than our kids can.

We worship a free market system that sends our jobs overseas to Communists countries, hides the profits in more friendly countries, and speculates on future debt. Instead of addressing the issues that have a bearing on our lives, we argue and fight over the details. This is the tragedy of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the TEA party; both want very similar things, but won’t work with each other to get them.