January 22, 2011

Federal Court Upholds Equal Opportunity Admissions Policy

The Leadership Conference reports..

In a significant victory for advancing equal opportunity in higher education, on January 18, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the constitutionality of University of Texas at Austin's (UT Austin) current admissions policy, which considers race as one of several factors.

The case, Fisher v. Texas, is the first federal appellate challenge to the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, which upheld that diversity is a compelling state interest. The 5th Circuit’s decision affirms that UT Austin's policy is consistent with Grutter as it gives colleges and universities latitude to use race, as one of many factors in admissions, to promote diversity within their student bodies.

In its decision, the court said that "Grutter's structure accepts that a university's twin objectives of rewarding academic merit and fostering diversity can be complementary rather than competing goals; that students rising to the top of underrepresented groups demonstrate promise as future leaders. These students' relative success in the face of harmful and widespread stereotypes evidences a degree of drive, determination, and merit not captured by test scores alone." Read more...

January 20, 2011

Mayor Foxx Issues Statement on NAACP Campaign to Boycott Charlotte

By Scotty Reid

The NAACP has stirred up a hornets nest in Charlotte, North Carolina in its efforts to punish the entire city for the actions of the school board in scheduling a snow make-up day on Dr. Martin Luther King’s national holiday. The inflammatory language used by Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP president Kojo Nantambu referring to Charlotte as a “racist bastion” has some what divided the Black community in Charlotte and the surrounding areas.


While it can be argued that progress against racism and discrimination is an ongoing battle in Charlotte like much of the nation, it is unfair to characterize the entire city as a “racist bastion”.

Most people in the black community agree that the school board should not have scheduled a snow make up day on the MLK holiday, the only national holiday honoring an African American. Perhaps if the NAACP local chapter had sounded the alarm during the days school was out shortly before MLK day, they could have prevented the school board from making such an unwise and insensitive decision. In a statement released on their website, the NAACP said that this issue was raised at a spring school board meeting in 2010 and the community was against a snow day on MLK day. The NAACP knew of this decision almost a year ago but did not mount a campaign to stop it until the last minute. Now that the deed is done, the NAACP is asking that several events not be held in Charlotte to punish the city.

Mayor Anthony Foxx disagrees with the NAACP and released the following statement:


Mayor Foxx’s Statement on Effort to Boycott the City

“I disagree with any effort to boycott the City of Charlotte. Our community has some very tough and unresolved issues regarding public education. Some of them involve the current budget crisis, and some involve longer-standing issues of academic achievement disparities. These challenges are not unique to Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Our capacity to overcome these challenges is what makes our community unique. However, that can happen only when we are able to move past labels and engage each other in meaningful dialogue. I am confident that if we come together and focus on the issues, progress can and will be made.

I further disagree that Charlotte is a racist community, nor do I think our school board or superintendent are racists, as has been alleged in recent months. I agree it was regrettable the King holiday was used as a snow makeup day. At the same time, given the challenges so many of our young people face, I could not agree that students should not attend classes. It also is important to note that the school board next year will not use the King holiday as a makeup day. This is a promising step in the right direction. All of our students deserve the best possible education. At a time when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools face the worst funding shortage in memory, it will take all of us, working as a community, to ensure we are able to deliver the best for our students.

By using labels such as racist to characterize our entire city, all of us are implicated, including me, and such a harsh, irrevocable verdict leaves us nowhere to go as a community. A better path is dialogue that can lead to solutions, such as tonight’s long-planned panel discussion on race relations at the Levine Museum of the New South.

We face serious issues as a community, challenges we are more than capable of meeting but not as a divided city. With tongues too sharp or ears too closed, we can miss opportunities to build bridges and make progress. As a community, now is not the time to turn on each other; it is a time to turn to each other and seek common ground.” – Mayor Anthony Foxx

Many agree with Mayor Foxx’s assessment that a boycott will hurt the entire city at a time when it is still hurting economically. It also stands to reason that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board got the message that a snow make-up day on Martin Luther King’s national holiday is unacceptable to many in the community and this will not occur again next year. The NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch could not be reached for comment on the Mayor’s statement.

January 19, 2011

Missing Black Teen Story Bumped From Nancy Grace for Story about Missing White Teen

By Scotty Reid

Phylicia Barnes

Baltimore, Maryland - The mother of missing Black Teen Phylicia Barnes and a spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department are critical of the national media in its slow reaction in covering the case of the missing black teen. Janice Sallis, Phylicia’s mother who lives in Monroe, North Carolina was interviewed this past Sunday by CNN’s Don Lemon stated, “"The first 48 hours were crucial and they were ignored”. Phylicia Barnes disappeared from her half-sisters apartment in Baltimore, Maryland while visiting back in December of 2010.

Janice Sallis has been very vocal and critical of Phylicia’s paternal older sister whom was supposed to be caring for the teen when reports surfaced that the police found that many people came in out of the apartment and reported use of drugs and alcohol. Janice Sallis was not clear on whom she blames in the media for not covering the case early on.

However, Baltimore police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi was very clear in blaming the national media for not providing adequate coverage early on in the girl’s disappearance.

In a recent CNN interview, Guglielmi said, “this girl's in danger. And she needs help. And it was very frustrating for my office to see an anemic response from our national media partners”. Guglielmi singled out CNN’s Nancy Grace and said that he and the commander of the homicide unit were set to appear on Nancy Grace’s national program to discuss missing teen Phylicia Barnes but were bumped from the program for an hour long report on missing white teen Hailey Dunn who is a cheerleader at Colorado Middle School in Colorado City, Texas.

Hailey Dunn

Hailey Dunn was reported missing on December 28, 2010 and has not been found and dogs searching for the teen reportedly found evidence at a landfill in Abilene, Texas, some 70 miles from Colorado City. Investigators did not elaborate on what type of evidence was recovered from the landfill.

Nancy Grace

Black Talk Radio News & Views contacted CNN for comment on why Phylicia Barnes story was bumped for a report on Hailey Dunn that took an entire hour. At the time of this report, CNN or Nancy Grace has issued no statement on the matter. Many in the black community feel that the national media does not give adequate attention to stories of missing black children and tend to favor stories about missing blonde haired white girls.

Update: Nancy Grace has covered Hailey Dunn's case more than seven times with the most recent coverage as late as Jan 18, 2011. Producer's did not reschedule Baltimore Police to discuss Phylicia Barnes's case nor has her named appeared in any of the transcripts.

Update: According to a spokesperson for Peas in their Pods, a organization that gets the word out about missing Black children using Riyla Alerts, Nancy Grace had the mother of Phylicia Barnes on her show last week. This information was not available in the transcripts at the time of this post.

January 18, 2011

NAACP Leader Calls For Democrats To Boycott City of Charlotte NC Due To Racism

By Scotty Reid

Charlotte, NC – According to local media reports, more than 100 people participated in a protest organized by the local NAACP that took place at Charlotte’s Government Center. The protest was a response to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board’s decision to hold a snow make up day on the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday.

The chapter issued this statement on their website:

The NAACP on behalf of the African American and minority community is appalled and thoroughly incensed at Peter Gormans decision to use the MLK holiday as a snow make up day. Once again Dr. Gorman has shown total disdain and disrespect for a very significant part of this community. He continues to demonstrate a blatant deliberate disconnect with the African American Community.

This issue of using Dr. King's birthday as a snow day was visited in the spring of 2010 at a board meeting and the community showed unanimous support to choose a day other than the King holiday. There are other work days and Saturdays (which is done in many other counties) that could very easily accommodate CMS's needs.

Martin Luther King is the only African American in the history of this country being granted a national holiday in his honor because of the horrible and cruel sacrifices African Americans have made in the building of this democracy and in-lieu of the extraordinary personal and humanitarian sacrifices made by Dr. King and others.

The leader of the NAACP Charlotte Mecklenburg County branch, Kojo Nantambu speaking to the local media during the protest went as far as to call the entire city of Charlotte racist. Charlotte has a black mayor, Anthony Fox who is a Democrat and a black police chief. Mayor Foxx said it was “regrettable” that the snow make-up day was scheduled on Dr. King’s national holiday but that “given the challenges so many young people are facing it's hard for me to make the argument that if class is in session they shouldn't go."

Rev. Kojo Nantambu said that the local NAACP is in talks with Jesse Jackson to come to the city to address the issue and hopes that the NAACP national chapter will support them in their efforts to persuade the Democratic National Party not to hold their 2012 convention in the city. Mayor Foxx who has been working to bring the convention to Charlotte has yet to respond to Nantambu’s boycott threat.

January 17, 2011

How Can We Foster Unity In the Black Community?

We hear a lot of talk in the Black community about unity or the lack thereof. Despite the efforts of many great men like Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and even Martin Luther King Jr, the level of unity among people of African descent is sorely lacking and many who preach it are not practicing it.

How do you define "Black Unity"? What level of cooperation among people who considered themselves Black can be considered "Black Unity". What organizations exist today whose man mission is focused on uniting Black people? If none exist does one need to be created? Does the Black Unity movement have any leaders today? Who are those leaders. Is the Black Unity movement continental or is it global? Are you one with your brothers & sisters or are you practicing separation? With many Black people practicing different religions, spiritual principles and subscribed to different political philosophies, is Black Unity even possible?

Brother Moorbey aka James Harris is the founder of the social networking community Black Unity which has over 500 members. Black Unity says it is "A home away from home so that we as Nu Afrikans can be who we are, and share information from a Nu Afrikans perspective. We believe in RBG". Brother Moorbey talks to Scotty Reid to discuss this explosive and sensitive topic.

This is an open conversation tonight at 9:00 PM EST.