Monday, August 30, 2010
The Use of Race to De-legitimate Conservatives: Are Predominantly White Events and Institutions Per se Illegitimate?
Are predominantly-white events and institutions per se illegitimate or does the criticism apply only to conservatives? It strikes me that when liberals use race in this way, they are simply using race cynically and politically.
I am willing to explore the claim that predominantly white events and institutions are not representative of America and therefore have less claim to legitimacy. But if this is a serious inquiry, it should not be directed selectively against conservatives. Otherwise, the inquiry is betrayed by its cynical manner in which it is selectively deployed and it is the cause of racial equality that suffers.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
With this fall's midterm elections, the number of women serving in Congress could drop for the first time in a generation — a twist on a political season many had dubbed "the year of the woman."
If large numbers of Democratic incumbents lose in November, as expected, many women could be replaced by men. Female candidates tend to do better in Democratic years, and 2010 is shaping up as a successful year for Republicans.
Women now hold 90 seats in Congress: 69 are Democrats and 21 are Republicans. After the November election, Congress could end up with as many as 10 fewer female members, prognosticators now say, the first backslide in the uninterrupted march of women to Washington since 1978.
...In fact, just four women are among the GOP's 46 "Young Guns," as the party calls its frontline challengers who are considered future leaders.According to the Wikipedia , only 17 percent of our current Senate is female; remarkably, only 17 percent of our current House is female as well.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
This is why I think President Obama was right and courageous to speak out on this issue. The principle at stake is basic and central to our democracy: heckler's do not have a right to veto the exercise of a person's constitutional right in the public square. We are not a society where we allow the mob to determine whether individuals' can exercise their constitutional rights in the public square. That was the issue at stake in the Little Rock Nine case and it is the issue at stake here. If the President of the United States is unable to stand-up for that principle because he is afraid of the political repercussions, then he is not a person of courage. But this President demonstrated courage in this case and I applaud him.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
I think Dr. Laura thought she could cure us of our hypersensitivity by saying N---- as many times as she could get away with it. In this context it is not the repeated use of N---- that was troubling, there were other problems. There was the "my bodyguard is black and he is my dear friend" trope to justify an underlying argument that one can employ racial stereotypes without being racist. This is reminiscent of the "my best friend is black so I can say whatever I want about black people and you can't say I'm racist" reasoning. And Dr. Laura's coup de grace is her argument that over 90% of black people voted for President Obama, which I think was offered to show that black stereotypes and generalizations are legitimate because they're true facts. Of course she forgot that over 90% of black people supported President Clinton. I wouldn't say that Dr. Laura's a racist, but she clearly has issues with race.
I think Cord is clearly right that black folks need to stop going ballistic everytime someone says N-----. But, in this context, if a few black people went ballistic against Dr. Laura's repeated use of the word, I can understand why.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
To better understand what "this" is. Let me give a little bit of background on the legal cases that have dealt with birthright citizenship. Other bloggers have focused on the history of the 14th Amendment (see for example the usually insightful Sherrilyn Ifill here). So, for the benefit of our non-legal readers, I will focus on the cases themselves, starting in this post with the central case.
The most significant case is United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898). The facts of the case are fairly simple. Mr. Wong Kim Ark was born in the United States to parents who were Chinese nationals but legal United States residents. In 1894, he left the U.S. for a brief visit to China and was not allowed back in on the ground that he was not a United States citizen. This was not the first time he had left the U.S. for a visit to China, but it was the first time he was denied re-entry.
Congress had passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which denied anyone of Chinese descent entry to the United States. Wong Kim Ark argued that the statute was unconstitutional in violation of the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment provides in relevant part that: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the state wherein they reside." The United States argued that because Mr. Wong's parents not citizens of the United and therefore "subject to the jurisdiction" of China, Mr. Wong was not a "natural born" citizen as that term is used in the 14th Amendment. Mr. Wong argued that by being born in the United States he was a natural born citizen and the phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" only meant to exclude children of foreign diplomats born in the United States. Because he was not a child of foreign diplomats, the exclusion did not apply to him.
Thus, the issue to be decided in the case was "whether a child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who at the time of his birth are subjects of the emperor of China, but have a permanent domicile and residence in the United States . . . and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States by virtue of the first clause of the fourteenth amendment of the constitution."
The Court agreed with Mr. Wong and rejected the United States' argument. Surveying English common law, European law, and domestic statutes, the Court concluded that the prevailing understanding at the time that the 14th Amendment was adopted was that "all children, born within the dominion of the United States, of foreign parents holding no diplomatic office, became citizens at the time of their birth."
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Foreign-Born Doctors Give Equal Care in U.S.
By DENISE GRADY
Published: August 3, 2010
Patients treated by foreign-born doctors who trained in other countries fare just as well as people treated by doctors educated in the United States, a new study has found.
But the results are not as good when the doctor is an American who went to medical school overseas and then returns to practice, the researchers determined. In that situation, patients with heart disease have longer hospital stays and slightly higher death rates.Actual abstract of the study:
[P]atients of doctors who graduated from international medical schools and were not U.S. citizens at the time they entered medical school had significantly lower mortality rates than patients cared for by doctors who graduated from U.S. medical schools or who were U.S. citizens and received their degrees abroad.The Times reports that foreign-born doctors provided equal care with U.S.-trained doctors, while the study actually reports that they were superior--at least in achieving lower mortality rates.
The Times own reporting contradicts both its headline and its lead:
The patients of foreign-born international graduates had the lowest death rate, 5 percent, and the patients of American doctors trained overseas had the highest death rate, 5.8 percent. Patients of the American born-and-trained doctors fell in the middle, with 5.5 percent.Perhaps I'm missing something--such as comparisons on the length of hospital stays--but I would have thought living and dying would have been far more important to most patients.
There is lots of stupid floating around the opposition to the proposed mosque and community center a few blocks away from Ground Zero. This excellent speech by Mayor Bloomberg highlights just a few of the most salient points. Here's an excerpt:
The simple fact is, this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship, and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right. And if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.
Go read the whole thing, which includes a very moving account of the history of religious freedom in New York. It speaks to what is best in us, as Americans. I chose this particular excerpt, because it highlights just a few of the strange contradictions in the opposition to the mosque, particularly insofar as that opposition is primarily (but clearly not exclusively, as the ADL's position demonstrates) concentrated on the political right.
(1) Private property rights -- conservatives usually think you are entitled to do what you want with your private property and are not normally sympathetic to the use of tools like historic preservation laws to block development. Yet, in this case, they have been looking for any tool to block these private owners from building a center on their private land. How long before they call for the city to use eminent domain power to block the construction of the Mosque?
(2) Our constitution protects religious exercise. Gathering and worship are core elements of that right. Conservatives have been pretty adamant in recent years about protecting the autonomy of religious groups. Although the First Amendment doesn't guarantee you the right to get land use approval to build a place of worship, it clearly protects you from having adverse land use decisions made just because the majority does not like your religion. (See, e.g., Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah) Conservatives by and large supported the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"), a federal statute that arguably provides religious organizations with a huge leg up in the land use process, particularly when it comes to the construction of places of worship. And yet, in this case, these commitments have been thrown to the wayside by a number of leading conservative figures.
(3) Localism -- Conservatives have often argued that land use questions are primarily matters of local concern. They have been at the forefront of opposing federal (and even state) interventions into the land use arena, particularly when federal or state governments have done so in an effort to protect the environment or mandate inclusionary land use policies. At its worst, this defense of localism has been a proxy for discussions about race and class. But, at its best, it has been built around a defense of localism as an affirmative conservative value rooted in questions of associational freedom and subsidiarity. In this case, however, the local community (NYC and, more specifically, the residents of lower Manhattan) has embraced the proposed development while the voices opposing the construction of the mosque and community center have disproportionately been from outside NYC and even outside the region.
At the end of the day, I'm not sure what to make of this entire issue. I suppose if opposition to the mosque were limited to the fringe of the far religious right, I'd chalk it up as a fairly unsurprising manifestation of that group's unfortunate authoritarian and theocratic tendencies. But many of the voices raised in opposition to the mosque (Giuliani, Gingrich, Limbaugh, etc.) are not people I particularly associate with religious conservatism. I'm sure this will sound like concern trolling coming from me, but I think this mosque episode goes to the heart of what's troubling about the contemporary political landscape on the right. The rise of a kind of visceral, racialized identity politics on the right, even among seemingly mainstream conservative figures (or at least people treated as such by the media, such as Gingrich and Guiliani), is more than a little frightening. And there seems to be no core conservative principle that is not subject to being jettisoned to rile up the base or gain some short-term political advantage. I have no idea where all this is headed, but it doesn't seem like it's going to have a happy ending. I feel like all I can do is watch and worry.
It seems to me that much of the "conversation" about race -- most of which is taking place between white liberal elites and white conservative elites -- really isn't about at race all. Instead, the issue has simply become another front in the banal, day-to-day struggle for traffic and eyeballs and ratings points, something used on slow news days to give babble an air of gravitas, and name-calling the air of moral authority.The insights are that (a) the conversation about race is mostly a conversation between white elites and (b) they are not serious about racial equality. My own view is that Nate is totally right.
I'll have more to say about this, but I wanted to bring it to your attention and see what you all think.