First Black President Cuts Funds For Black Higher Education

whateverA Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

 Click the flash player to listen to or the mic to download this commentary in mp3 format.

President Obama's economic stimulus was very kind to the general category of education. But Black higher education got the butt end of his budget, with a net of $73 million in cuts, while traditionally Hispanic schools got an increase in funding. "It would be difficult to find anyplace in the federal budget where $73 million has a more concentrated impact on the fortunes of a particular ethnic group." Even southern Republican lawmakers are wondering aloud about Obama's priorities.

The Case for Race-Based Remedies to Achieve Racial Justice


ron_danielsby Dr. Ron Daniels
Race-based remedies for historical Black grievances seem increasingly out of favor with the executive and judicial branches of government. President Obama has once again signaled his distaste for programs specifically targeting institutional racism, while the U.S. Supreme Court appears prepared to gut the Voting Rights Act. However, they are beating a near-dead horse, since “race-based remedies to overcome past and present affects of enslavement, segregation, discrimination and structural racism have virtually been eradicated.” Various forms of affirmative redress for Blacks have seen only brief and spotty use, while for most of the nation’s history “affirmative action for Whites” has been “the order of the day.


Framing Race in Mississippi


mississippiby Michelle Chen
As Nina Simone sang it, “Mississippi Goddamn!” The Magnolia State, which ranks last in the nation on human development criteria, achieved that distinction by relentlessly debasing the life prospects of its Black citizens. Black Mississippians earn about $10,00 a year less than whites, and die four years sooner, according to a new study. High rates of infant mortality are linked directly to poor health care for Black women – one of many “lifelong barriers” the state erects to block Black social advancement. “The state currently spends twice as much to house each prisoner as it does to keep each child in school.”


Freedom Fighters or Criminals? AFRICOM Doesn’t Care.

by Mark P. Fancher
AFRICOM extends its tentacles on the east and west coasts and deep into the interior of the continent. Its mission: “to keep Africa safe for western corporations that need access to the continent’s oil and mineral resources.” All indigenous opposition to imperial policies and interests is deemed “criminal” or “terrorist” – whether along the internationally exploited shores of Somalia or in the oil-rich delta of the Niger River. As African Liberation Day approaches, we must understand that “AFRICOM…is really all about building the capacity of western corporations to hold fast to Africa.”

“Out of the Closet”: Black Atheists

churchby Sikivu Hutchinson

It’s not easy being a Black atheist, “partly due to the fact that the history of African American civil and human rights resistance is heavily steeped in Judeo-Christian religious dogma.” If you’re a woman, it’s worse. “While black male non-believers are given more leeway to be heretics, black women who openly profess atheist views are deemed especially traitorous, having abandoned their family role as purveyors of cultural and religious tradition.Church dogma exerts a warping influence on the culture. “In these (black) communities,” notes one Black writer, “you find more tolerance towards gangbangers, drug addicts, and prostitutes, who pray to God for forgiveness than for honest productive citizens who deny the existence of God.”

Nine Things The Diaspora Can Do About Somalia

somaliaby Cedric Muhammad

In their vicious campaign to legitimize Western military intervention in East Africa, US and European government and corporate media present us with stories of Somali “piracy.” Cedric Muhammed sketches the outline of a broad plan to counter the media and political offensive that can be undertaken by Africans in the U.S. to defend their own interests and those of the people of East Africa, particularly Somalia.

Blacks and Latinos in the U.S.: Still an Evolving Relationship


us and usby Robert Suro
Although a fair number of Americans are aware that the United States will become a “majority minority” nation sometime around the year 2050, few contemplate how the “distinct experiences” of the two largest non-white groups – Blacks and Hispanics – will affect their interactions in this changed environment. “We are in the process,” writes the author, “of revising our notions of both what constitutes the norm and what constitutes ‘the other.’” The old Black-white paradigm is being eclipsed. “Twenty-five years from now the Hispanic population will be twice as large as the African-American population.”


Obama's First Massacre

 by Emir Sader

An American president might well consider the murder of innocent civilians an acceptable price to further his country's imperial goals. If that is his choice to make, then we too have choices. We can be fans or imperial subjects enthusiastically endorsing or resigning ourselves to the world as it's given to us, or we can be citizens, evaluating the actions taken in our names and with our money in the light of what we know is just. How then, shall we weigh...

Billions in Fish Stolen From African Waters Annually, Says Environmental Justice Foundation

Billions of dollars worth of fish stocks are illegally taken from African waters by European corporate commercial fishing operations Who are the real pirates in African waters?   If you cannot see the video above, click here.

Obama Preserves Entrenched Power, Sidesteps Racial Disparities

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Barack Obama actually said it: a truncated form of the hackneyed rich man's expression, "a rising tide lifts all boats." The cliché was a fixture of trickle-down Reaganics and the Bush I and II permutations, as well as the Clinton deregulationathon. Now Obama employs it to justify his refusal to offer any programs to "address historical and emerging racial disparities." The twisted logic goes something like this: "The deeper Blacks sink into the abyss, the more they are eligible for general assistance - therefore, the Obama plan already contains everything African Americans need as a group, and will be of more use to them than to more advantaged groups." Thus, the nation's first Black President turns the misery index on its head.


Is There A Save Darfur Industrial Complex?

hollywood on darfurBy BAR Managing Editor

Bruce A. Dixon

What does it mean for Africa when right wing end-of-the-world-is-near evangelical Christians join forces with the Robert F. Kennedy Center For Human Rights?  What does it mean for African Americans when Bush, Obama, and nearly all last year's presidential candidates from both parties encourage the continuation of an African civil war rather than a political settlement between the parties?  What does it mean when 21st century PR firms employ FaceBook, slick viral marketing and millions of dollars to create a simple, satisfying, feel-good excuse for military intervention on the African continent?

Freedom Rider: Is Bush Still President?


more of the same
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Afraid that “some of the defendants might actually be acquitted,” President Obama “is considering resuming the use of military tribunals to prosecute Guantanamo detainees.” And some of the defendants might be tried on American soil, something even George Bush feared to do. What has emboldened Obama? “He was never called to account by self-described progressives during his presidential campaign. The same individuals who chose to silence themselves throughout 2008 have continued to act like doormats for president Obama,”


Black Farmers Confront Obama


A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Of all people, it was Black farmers that dared to make the first Black president accountable for his campaign promise to them. Obama seemed to be reneging on his own legislation and statements favoring billions in payments to Black farmers methodically discriminated against by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Now, his administration wants to cap the payments at $100 million. “Right is right and it doesn’t matter who is in the White House,” said Black farmers leader John Boyd.

Last Days of “Cracked-Up-Black-Buck-Runs-Amok” Law


A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Back in 1986, the U.S. Congress crafted legislation to put as many Black crack cocaine users in prison as possible, while sparing white users of powdered cocaine. Hundreds of thousands of arrests and more than a million years in prison later, the U.S. Justice Department went on record favoring equalization of penalties on both kinds of cocaine. “Any civilized court would treat such blatantly race-based mass punishment as a crime against humanity – possibly an element in a broader charge of genocide.”

Redneck-Like Black Man Wants to be Georgia Governor

thurbet 4 govA Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen  Ford
Click the flash player to listen to or the mic to download a copy of this Black Agenda Radio commentary.

The 12-year Black attorney general of the State of Georgia has defended Black voter suppression laws, co-sponsored two-strikes mandatory life imprisonment, and loves the death penalty. Thurbert Baker is counting on the Black vote, which makes up half the Democratic electorate in the state, to give him a leg up in the gubernatorial primary. "Does it serve Black people's interests, or the cause of justice, for African Americans to take leadership roles in government oppression of Black people?"

Give Everyone Healthcare By Shutting Down Insurance Companies

by David Swanson
The only way to get something that remotely resembles single payer health care is to demand…single payer health care. Progressives that supported single payer now set their sites lower because President Obama isn’t going there. But “opening a political negotiation by asking for what the other side is offering is no negotiation at all.” Obama offers many explanations for backing away from the health care approach he once claimed to favor. But the real explanation “is the financial influence in Congress and the White House of the insurance industry.” 

Genius Burning Brightly: The Unraveling of Gil Scott-Heron

by TaRessa Stovall
 Gil Scott Heron lives - but barely, says the author. "We were close enough to see the unnatural glaze of his eyes, the tremors quaking his hands and legs as he leaned into the keyboard, almost as if for support, croaking several of his hits into the mic." The drug abuse that has punctuated the life of this political/musical icon, seems to be winning the race. At a recent performance, "he looked and sounded more like the frail, eccentric uncle at the family reunion than a genius warrior wordsmith and musical marvel."

Chrysler's Plan? Send Pay, Retirement Benefits and Standards Down the Drain

The same fearless, insightful news media that misrepresents Wall Street's raid on the U.S. Treasury as somehow necessary to save the economy has a story to tell about how the harm to hundreds of thousands of current and retired auto workers will be minimized by incorruptible public officials and knowledgable bankruptcy judges.  Only it's not true.  The wages of auto workers will be permanently cut, their hours lengthened, their benefits cut.  And those who worked 25 or 30 years on the line, counting on lifetime medical care and a dignified retirement have already been sold out.


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