The George Floyd killing stirs up all kinds of emotions. Why does this keep happening? Will it come to my door? What type of world have I brought my kids into? I am a married, black man living in a fairly affluent suburban community in New Jersey. My wife happens to be white. Our town is diverse while still being segregated. I am close friends with many police officers and hold them in high regard. However, living in this community and coaching baseball does not inoculate me from the realities of my existence.Read more
Yes, my name really is Karen. And it’s not a surprise: I am white and middle aged. I grew up in suburban, segregated New Jersey (a state that likes to pretend it’s not segregated, when it’s one of the most). I didn’t learn about race and racism in K-12. I didn’t learn that race is a social construct, much less that whiteness is an invention. I didn’t learn that I, as a white person, was benefitting from advantages that I did not earn but rather were built into our systems. I didn’t learn any of that because it was not taught.Read more
As it relates to America’s racial progress, a black elder recently said to me, "Ain't nothing changed but the weather." And then America saw the heartbreaking footage of the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man who was out for a jog in Brunswick, Georgia. Arbery was murdered in February of 2020. There was a police cover up, but upon the release of the footage, murder charges were subsequently filed against the three vigilantes – two months later. The charges were not filed because the “authorities” saw the footage, the charges were filed because the public saw the footage and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was forced to intervene.Read more
Messages from Media
We cannot underestimate the tremendous power of advertising and media to influence our perceptions and standards of beauty, particularly images in magazines, music videos, TV shows, and movies. Not only is there power in advertising and media, there is also great thought given by people who study how to get consumers to respond to an image. Research has shown over time and from the testimonies of people I’ve worked with, most of the images seen on television hold lighter skinned people in higher esteem than darker skinned people. Because of this messaging, many people hold lighter skinned people in high esteem and aspire to be lighter. This aspiration manifests itself in skin bleaching. Globally, one of the most popular products is skin-bleaching cream. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on skin bleaching products every year all across the world because of the idea that lighter skin is to be preferred over darker skin.Read more
PHOTO: Hazel Bryan, one of the nine black students to attend Little Rock, Arkansas' Central High School in 1957 after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that "separate but equal" segregated schools were unconstitutional.
Photo by Ira Wilmer Counts, Jr.
As public school segregation increases, what are the consequences?
According to a study published last year by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, nearly 50 percent of African-American students in New Jersey attend schools where less than 10 percent of the student body is white. And the typical white student attends a public school in which two-thirds of the population is Caucasian.
Racial segregation is not a problem that exists only in the past. Despite widely documented progress in U.S. history to limit racism, studies suggest that segregation is still an issue in today’s world. Especially right here in the schools of New Jersey.
Yes, it’s true.Read more
Within minutes of the longest government shutdown in United States history coming to end on Friday, January 25th, the major media headlines in concert began to read: “Trump lost, Pelosi wins.” Even a hashtag (#PelosiWins) began to trend on Twitter.
While we can give credit to the Democrats in Congress for holding out from providing a single penny or capitulating to anything else ‘in the name of bipartisanship’ to appease a Trump-tantrum, the major media narrative misses much of the actual story as well as an opportunity entirely to mobilize citizen activism.
It's been said that if President Barack Obama were a dark-skinned black man, he would not have been elected president. This is debatable to some while others believe it wholeheartedly. In comedy circles, President Obama is referred to as someone who had the complexion for the protection and the connection. The idea that there is prejudice or discrimination, often among same-race people based solely on skin tone is called colorism. Essentially, it means that the lighter your skin tone, the prettier you are seen to be, the more value you are attributed, and the better you have it in life. It stems from the belief that beauty and desirability increase with the proximity to whiteness.Read more
This election will bring many different types of individuals to the polls. Like many young people, I never considered politics to be something I needed to pay attention to before the 2016 election; my family was loving, stable, and we were fortunate to have a good economic foundation to rely on. I voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 Presidential Election and considered myself a right-leaning independent when I came of voting age. Then Donald Trump announced his bid for the White House, and all my perceptions of what I thought was morally righteous and dignified went right out the window.Read more
We asked women in NJ07 to share their thoughts about the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing. This is what they wrote:Read more
Having known and worked with US Rep. Leonard Lance since 1992, it was not easy deciding to run against him last year.
Nearly three decades ago both Lance and I were newly promoted to jobs in Trenton, he as a member of the NJ Legislature having worked for the quintessential bi-partisan moderate Gov. Tom Kean, me in my mid-20’s, as a public interest advocate before the same legislature.
For most of the next two decades Lance served with honor in the Legislature. He was a champion on the environment and fiscally responsible, even when that wasn’t popular in either party. He successfully took on Governors. Whitman and McGreevey for their poor borrowing habits and bad land use decisions. In 2000, he was one of only two NJ legislators (the other being Senator Loretta Weinberg) to score a 100% on Clean Water Action’s scorecard. He took on the precursors to the Tea Party wing of his party to champion the 2004 Highlands and 2007 Global Warming Response Acts. These actions often came at considerable risk to his career – he lost a promotion to chair the Appropriations Committee at one point.Read more