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    The Obamas’ Race to the Bottom

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    Michelle Obama’s recent speech on the anniversary of the Brown decision gave every indication that she understands structural racism and injustice in education. However, her husband’s Race to the Top program has “opened the floodgates to privatization, dumbed-down curricula, and a permanent regime of high stakes testing which undermines teacher creativity and guts teachers’ unions.”

    The Sterling Shuffle: Unpacking White Jewish Racism

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    For the moment, a Jewish sports franchise owner is the most prominent racist in the United States. Donald Sterling’s conduct serves are a reminder that “the illusion of lockstep black-Jewish solidarity on liberal political coalition-building has long masked the reality of white Jewish privilege and investment in white supremacy.”

    The Souls of Black Boys

    By Sikivu Hutchinson

    Black males are now down to about 1% of current UCLA freshmen. It's neoliberal California, where black boys are destined for marginal labor if they're lucky or pipelined to prison if they're not. Still, community activists in Los Angeles are fighting back, trying to nurture and prepare the next generation of black organizers, scholars and intellectuals.

    In Cold Blood: The Murder of Renisha McBride

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    The 19-year-old Black woman had just gotten a job at the Ford Motor Company when she was shot in the face with a shotgun by a white homeowner after seeking help after a car crash. Her killing “is part of a long legacy of black female murder victims who have been devalued in a misogynist apartheid system of state-sanctioned violence that thrives on the urban/suburban racial divide.”

    Public Enemy or Talented Tenth? The War Against Black Children

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    Blacks are the scapegoats for America’s failure to keep pace in the world. “For a nation brainwashed into believing the U.S. is an exceptionalist beacon, the underachievement of black students has become both shorthand for and explanation of its low standing in academic rankings.” The truth is, America programs Black kids to fail at every level of the education system.

    Walking on the "Wild Side"? 20 Feet From Stardom & the Black Female Gaze

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    Who will tell the story of the Black female back-up singers that shaped generations of Black and cross-over music? A new documentary titled 20 Feet From Stardom makes the attempt. “20 Feet” captures the deep travesty of obscurity, marginalization and, often, poverty, that these pioneering artists faced.”

    Mad Science or School-to-Prison? Criminalizing Black Girls

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    Studies show that Black children do not commit more offenses in the classroom than whites and Latinos. Nevertheless, “in many American classrooms black children are treated like ticking time bomb savages.” Black girls are suspended from school more than any other ethnicity – except Black males.

    Prison House of Textbook History: Remembering the Chicano Blowouts

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    1968, the year of the biggest high school walkout in U.S. history, was not so different than the present. “Then, as now, there was no room for analyses of sexism, racial apartheid, heterosexism, and patriarchy and how our lived experiences diverged from the corrupt pedagogy of the American dream.”

    Wages of White Affirmative Action: Predatory Lending & The Ghetto

     

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    Whites are “returning” to South Central Los Angeles, the place they left for the suburbs in federally subsidized waves generations ago. The lure: cheap housing in neighborhoods savaged by color-coded lending policies. And so it is that whites whose exit from South Central was smoothed by racial advantage, return in the same way. White dislocation is called a tragedy, while the uprooting of Blacks is dubbed “gentrification.”

    The GOP’s Tired, Poor Huddled Masses

     

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    Having based much of American exceptionalist mythology on the cult of white immigrant “values” – and the matching slander that African Americans are values-poor – the Right will increasingly “ratchet up classic divide and conquer narratives tied to bootstrapping and a racialized mythos of hard work.” That suits many Latinos just fine. “Despite being of mixed black, Asian, Indian and European ancestry the majority of Latinos in the U.S. identify racially as white.” Plus, “Latino parishioners are fueling a resurgence of Pentecostalism in the U.S. and filling in the gaps of an aging white demographic in decline.”

    White Picket Fences, White Innocence

     

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    The whole country was taught the intrinsic goodness of Dick and Jane, the freckled young picture book stars of the American dream. A more ancient social primer informed us of the inherent criminality of kids with names like Trayvon. George Zimmerman, the watchdog of a gated community, “was upholding the time-honored tradition of white homeowners’ associations that protected white communities from dark interlopers.” His “lesser white status” as a person of partial Latino ancestry, “is part of what legitimized Zimmerman’s self-defense claim.”

    God’s Body, God’s Plan: The Komen Foundation Furor and Abortion as Black/Latino “Genocide”

     

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    Money and religion make strange bedfellows. The most right-wing forces in U.S. politics have cultivated Black and Latino allies to label abortion rights advocates as nothing less than enemies of God. Yet, “It is precisely because of right wing opposition to universal health care coverage that Black, Latina, Asian, and Native American women are more likely to rely on the wraparound health care services that Planned Parenthood provides.”

    Black Scholarship, Non-Theism and Radical Politics: Where are the Writers?

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    To hear white institutions tell it, Black non-theists have nothing important to say about the human condition. But, in fact, “Black secular humanist critical inquiry stretches back to Frederick Douglass's era to the Harlem Renaissance and into the 1960s Black Power movement.” Such thinkers have been central to “a tradition of Black liberation struggle against white supremacy.”

    The Christian Fascists’ Personhood Campaign

     

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    Once again it’s time to play Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam.” On November 8, the state’s voters will decide an initiative aimed out dismantling Roe vs. Wade. “The most flat earth reactionary segment of the pro-death anti-choice movement wants to circumvent constitutional protections for abortion by conferring personhood on fertilized eggs.” In principle, women who violate the “inalienable rights” of their own eggs might be liable for murder.

    LAUSD’s Apartheid Hall of Shame, Part 2: A View from the Classroom

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    The Black student “push-out” phenomenon is directly related to Black mass incarceration. Studies show that “African Americans go to the dean’s office for less serious offenses than do Latinos and whites.” Disruptive behavior is in the subjective perception of the beholding teachers, some of whom “go off about ‘these black kids’ and what are you going to do with these black kids ‘cause I can’t teach in my classroom with these black kids going out of control.” Predominantly Black schools and faculty are often no better. “South L.A. schools with significant or majority black faculty and administrators are just as culpable.”

    Los Angeles Schools’ Apartheid Hall of Shame (Part One)

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    It sounds like racial profiling in education, on a massive, institutional scale. “Black students are targeted, penalized and pushed-out in dizzyingly obscene numbers that predict and mirror their disproportionate numbers in L.A. County juvenile detention centers and adult prisons.” Those are the conclusions of a recent report on schools in the Los Angele Unified District, where Black kids are grossly overrepresented among students ejected from classrooms. What’s more, such collective punishment occurs “regardless of the racial background of the faculty and administration or racial demographics and socioeconomic background of a given school.”

    Bad “Bitches,” True Women

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    The Casey Anthony trial caused such consternation in white America because it “underscores how deeply the ideal of white womanhood is steeped in reverence for white motherhood” – as opposed to “the dark uncivilized Other of Africa, Asia and Latin America.” Yet the “violent moral policing” of non-white women is a central chapter in the American story. Women of color face “racist drug enforcement and sentencing policies, coupled with mainstream assumptions of bad black motherhood.”

    Defending ‘Our Mother’s Gardens’

     

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    On a host of fronts, the counter-revolution is on the offensive against “the revolutionary right of women to control their own destinies.” Under U.S. House legislation, anti-abortion booby-traps are embedded in the tax code, as entrapments. “Women who are audited could be forced to reveal why and how they had an abortion, further ensuring Big Brother’s reign over their bodies and destinies” – a horrific combo of “sexual terrorism and state power.”

    Moral Combat: An Interview with Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson

     

    by Nathalie Woods

    Frequent BAR contribuor Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson’s new book confronts the web of patrimony and religiosity that often binds Black America to its historical tormentors. “Despite longstanding traditions of secular humanism, skepticism, and Freethought espoused by such thinkers as Frederick Douglass, Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen and Richard Wright, Atheism remains a taboo belief system in black communities.”

    Planned Parenthood and the Rape of American Women

     

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    The right-wing lynch mob is out to destroy Planned Parenthood in the same way it smashed ACORN. In addition to the usual white suspects, “these pro-death marauders” are reinforced by “black preachers, and Christian soldiers like MLK’s anti-abortion activist niece Alveda King.” Their “propaganda has cropped up recently in black and Latino Southern California neighborhoods.”

    Throwaway Children

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    A gun goes off in a Los Angeles public school, and children are wounded. Mass gun violence by students is an overwhelmingly white affair in the U.S., but “any time violence erupts in a black or Latino context it’s a racial indictment, an indictment of a community, not a nation.”

    American Terror

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    It is not enough to preach mere “tolerance” of those who do not conform to gender norms. “Gay identities have moral value both as part of the range of sexual identity and in their difference from the compulsory heterosexual norm.” And, as is usual in a racist society, the damage to non-whites whose sexual identities challenge the norm is routinely ignored.

    I Wanna Be A Macho Man: The Prosperity Gospel According to Eddie Long

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    Allegations that Bishop Eddie Long lured young Black men to become his sexual playthings should come as no surprise, since his brand of “faith pimping spiritual ministry translates into emotional manipulation, psychological control, and sexual exploitation.” Long, a “self-proclaimed ‘spiritual daddy’ to a nationwide army of ‘wayward’ sons,” is the inevitable offspring of religious patriarchy and robber baron politics.

    High Stakes Teaching and the “Value-Added” Sham

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    The Los Angeles Times recently weighed in against the city’s scapegoated teachers, giving public school elementary educators low marks on so-called ‘value-added’ assessments – a term that is as corporate as they come. The new regime serves neither teachers nor students. Rather, “the intersection of high stakes testing and zero tolerance discipline policies have created a perfect storm for black and brown students already deemed expendable by teachers and administrators.”

    DNA and “the Banality of Evil”

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    First, the criminal justice system failed the Black victims of an LA serial killer. Now, the system embraces a family DNA aggregator approach that is certain to further stigmatize African Americans through shared genetic markers. “The wholesale over-incarceration of African American communities means that many African Americans are related to someone who has been convicted of a felony.”

     

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