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Monday, January 19, 2009

Are We Closer To A Post Racial America?

H/T to the new blog, The Post Racial Blog for the link.

According to The washington POst: As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office, far fewer black and white Americans say they view racism as "a big problem" in American society than said so in mid-1996, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

With the nation poised to inaugurate its first African American president, the survey found that just over a quarter of all Americans said they see racism as a large societal problem, less than half of the 54 percent who said so about a dozen years ago. Americans also have high hopes that Obama -- who is of mixed-race parentage but refers to himself as African American -- will inspire an improvement in race relations.

But even as declining numbers of Americans see racism as a big problem for the country, there has been little change in the amount of racism people perceive in their local communities. The survey also found that there has been little change over the past six years in the proportion of African Americans who said they have experienced racial bias in housing, employment and other areas. More HERE and more HERE.

Are we there yet!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

US Senate Once Again Rejects A Black U.S. Senator

It's truly a helluva way to run a democracy. The All White Club of the U.S. Senate told the Black man today: Your papers are not in order! U.S. Senator (appointed) Burris entered the Capitol peacefully and was denied his Senate seat in dramatic fashion. This spectacle edging on bigotry, was a live showdown that sounds in many ways like the politics, before and after the U.S. Civil War. When in 1870, the state of Mississippi was rejoining the union. Its two senate seats had been empty for nine years. Hiram R. Revels was elected to fill the seat left vacant by Jefferson Davis, who had left the United States senate to serve as president of the Confederacy. When Revels entered the Senate chamber for the first time on February 23, 1870, he met with opposition from Democrat senators, who argued that Revels had not been a citizen for nine years. Although Revels had been born free to free parents in North Carolina on September 27, 1822, the Democrats argued their points from the Constitution and the Dred Scott Case.

Yes, race or color shouldn't matter in the Burris case the reality is... it does.The argument by the Senate regarding no certification by the Secretary of state is bogus and disrespectful. This will truly be federalism’s latest test case.

Even though Burris has legal backing a historically bigoted and segregated United States Senate once again denied a black man his rightful seat after being appointed to the United States Senate.

Burris turned away at Senate door
CNN is covering the story on how U.S. Senator (appointed) Roland Burris was denied entry to the Senate chambers. BET, Black websites and bloggers are covering the story of Burris, including, political bloggers and social bloggers, Politopics, plezWorld, Skeptical Brotha, Black Politics On The Web, Field Negro, Dallas South, Sugar N Spice, Jack and Jill Politics and Pam's House Blend and many others. Check out CNN coverage HERE.

MSNBC and Associated Press (AP) report: The secretary of the Senate on Tuesday turned Roland Burris away from taking the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Burris left the Capitol offices of the secretary, Nancy Erickson, after a meeting of about 20 minutes.

In a bizarre rainy-day scene on the Capitol grounds as lawmakers awaited the gaveling of the 111th Congress into session, Burris stood amid a huge throng of reporters and television cameras and declared that he had been informed that "my credentials are not in order and will not be accepted."

He said he was "not seeking to have any type of confrontation" over taking the seat that he was appointed to by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. But Burris also said he was looking at options for taking the seat.

But Democratic leaders were determined to keep him out of the exclusive club. The immediate reason is that his letter of appointment has not been signed by the Illinois secretary of state.

AAPP: It's in many ways like the case of the first Black U.S. Senator Revels who arrived in Washington at the end of January 1870, but could not present his credentials until Mississippi was readmitted to the United States on February 23. Senate Republicans sought to swear in Revels immediately afterwards, but Senate Democrats were determined to block the effort. Led by Senator Garrett Davis of Kentucky and Senator Willard Saulsbury of Delaware, the Democrats claimed Revels’s election was null and void, arguing that Mississippi was under military rule and lacked a civil government to confirm his election. More HERE

Hiram Rhodes Revels

Image courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration

In 1870, when Revels entered the Senate chamber for the first time on February 23, 1870, he met with opposition from Democrat senators, who argued that Revels had not been a citizen for nine years. Although Revels had been born free to free parents in North Carolina on September 27, 1822, the Democrats argued their points from the Constitution and the Dred Scott Case.

Read More HERE

Burris Should Be Seated!

The NY Times is reporting, U.S. Senator Roland Burris (appointed) will arrive today at the door of what many African Americans call, "The All White Club" of The U.S. Senate for a showdown that a growing number of Democratic members would prefer not to have.

As reported by By Karen Ann Cullotta and Monica Davey at the NY Times: In a news conference at Midway airport in Chicago before his scheduled 2:20 p.m. flight to Baltimore, a defiant Mr. Burris told reporters that he was not concerned about the fact that the Illinois secretary of state, Jesse White, has rejected the paperwork that would officially send Mr. Burris to the Senate. “Why don’t you all understand that what has been done here is legal?” he said. “I am the junior senator from Illinois, and I wish my colleagues in the press would recognize that.” He later added, “This is all politics and theater, but I am the junior senator according to every law book in the nation.” As NPR reports, supporters have rallied around Roland Burris.

AAPP: I first thought that Senate Democratic leaders wanted to avoid a spectacle that would pit a black man pegging to gain access to the Senate floor to be sworn in as Barack Obama’s replacement. As I noted in a previous post now that Blagojevich has snubbed everyone in his state the U.S. Senate leadership has developed an elaborate set of contingency plans to keep this black man Roland Burris from taking over Barack Obama's seat. But check this out, The NY times and CNN reported Monday that an aide to Nancy Erickson, the secretary of the United States Senate, said that Ms. Erickson had rejected Mr. Burris’s certificate of appointment because, though it was signed by Mr. Blagojevich, it was not cosigned by Mr. White, as the Senate’s rules require.

As reported by enotes, perhaps. The United States Senate has the right to expel a member of the Senate but whether they can refuse to seat a legally appointed new member is open to question. The argument rests on two parts of the Constitution.

Article One, Section 5 of the United States Constitution states that "Each house [Senate or House of Representatives] shall be the judge of elections, returns and qualifications of its own members . . ." In addition, "Each house may expel a member." During its entire history, the Senate has expelled 15 members. But these were members who were already part of the Senate.

The 17th amendment to the Constitution states :"When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies." In other words, the governor shall appoint a successor when a vacancy occurs.

Refusing to seat a new, duly appointed Senator may only be possible if the Senate has some indication that his appointment was corrupt. Since they have no such knowledge that Burris' appointment was corrupt, many constitutional experts say that to refuse to seat him would deny the citizens of Illinois proper representation in Congress. According to ABC news," . . election law attorneys said that senators may not have the constitutional power to refuse to admit Burris into the Senate without some indication that his appointment was corrupt." Thus, it is unclear what will happen if Burris attempts to take his seat. More HERE

If Burris shows up today to claim the seat given to him by disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the potential outcomes range from a denial of entry to a limbo where he can hire staff but not vote. The Chicago Sun Times is also following the story on how the United States Senate may block Burris and stall for time.

In Chicago one newspaper, The Chicago Tribune is HOT saying:Illinois Democrats played a starring role in this mess. The paper even going as far as saying, let Burris have the Senate seat and move on, already.

Now get this, The LA Times has wrote: Obama's election is changing the politics of race. They write, Reporting from Washington -- With Senate leaders threatening to block Roland Burris from being sworn in today as Barack Obama's replacement, many of his supporters see a familiar story of race and injustice.

An all-white club, they say, is trying to prevent a black man from gaining admission, as well as the power that comes with a Senate seat. Summoning a harsh metaphor from the nation's racial battles, Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) even called the Senate "the last bastion of plantation politics."

But the Burris episode has unexpectedly become the first example of how racial politics have changed with the election of Barack Obama to the White House.

Many black leaders, including Obama, have declined to back Burris, even if that leaves the Senate with no African American members. Some view his appointment by Illinois' embattled governor as an odd playing of the race card. Others are renouncing the style of politics that highlights racial grievances and inequality, saying it can no longer work now that the nation has elected its first black president.

"It is another statement on how black politics is now -- that the old regime, the old outlook, the old perspective has been displaced," said the Rev. Eugene Rivers, a black pastor from Boston and senior advisor to the Church of God in Christ, the biggest Pentecostal denomination in the country. "You can't use 50-year-old ideas in a new political era."
Even the Rev. Al Sharpton, known for his confrontational style of politics, is distancing himself from the Burris matter -- conferring privately Monday with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid but refusing to join critics in denouncing the Democratic leadership in racial terms. Read More HERE


Roland Burris right, and wife Berlean, second from right, along with U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush (D)-Ill, second from left, attend the New Covenant Baptist Church during a rally in Chicago, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Burris is leaving for Washington D.C. on Monday, after Il. Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed him to fill President elect Barack Obama's Senate seat. Source: AP/The Seattle Times

AAPP: Damn, it looks like black elected and self appointed political leadership have sold black folks to the highest bidder. This whole situation is now pitting black ministers against black elected officials and Obama. I guess the bottom line is, I agree with the following comments in the LA Times article, from supporters of Burris:

Read More HERE