Archive for the ‘blogroll’ Category

NAACP Julian Bond’s Rant About “Racist” and “Taliban” Tea Party Movement Criticized as “Sheer Racial Rhetoric” and “Errant Nonsense”

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

May 21, 2013

We contest and debunk as “sheer racial rhetoric” and “errant nonsense” the assertion of NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond that because he regards the Tea Party Movement as “racist” and “the Taliban wing of American politics” Tea Party affiliated groups seeking tax-exemption status warrant “extra scrutiny” by the Internal Revenue Service.

Michael Meyers,our executive director, himself a former Assistant National Director of the NAACP, has released the following statement condemning as “poisonous racial rhetoric” and “lunacy” Julian Bond’s claim that the government should exercise viewpoint discrimination when reviewing applications of non-profit and advocacy groups for tax-exempt status:

“NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond’s assertion that it’s OK for the IRS to have subjected Tea Party affiliated groups seeking tax-exempt status to extra and discriminatory scrutiny–because, according to Bond, Tea Party groups and loyalists are “admittedly racist” and “overtly political”–is sheer racial rhetoric and in every way an irrational rant. Julian Bond upped the ante by alleging that Tea Party groups represent ‘the Taliban wing of American politics.’

“Aside from his poisonous racial rhetoric–and his concomitant failure to supply any evidence for his assertion of “racism” on the part of the Tea Party movement–it is the most shocking that Bond, a civil rights activist and history professor, doesn’t know that the First Amendment does not allow viewpoint discrimination by government. Indeed, there are some who might similarly argue and complain to IRS that the tax-exempted NAACP is itself “racist” and “overtly political” in its voting registration campaigns and unflagging support of President Obama. But, it would be wrong for the IRS to scrutinize or challenge the NAACP’s tax-exemption on the mere assertion much less ostensible ground that the NAACP is either ‘racist’ or ‘overtly political.’ Yet, Julian Bond’s rant suggests that there could conceivably be one tax-exempt rule for mostly black (liberal) civil rights groups and another standard for mostly white (conservative) civil rights groups.

“Equally repugnant and absurd was Bond’s comparing the Tea Party movement with the noxious Taliban, the Taliban which has committed ethnic massacres, persecuted non-believers and Muslims, and practiced invidious and pernicious discrimination against women. Bond’s errant nonsense evinces a shocking and sorrowful display of irrationality if not outright lunacy in the guise of ‘civil rights’ advocacy. Accordingly, the NAACP should disassociate itself from its former chairman’s irrational rant. It is not enough for conservatives alone to condemn Bond’s sheer racial rhetoric; liberals, like me, who side with neutral principles of equal protection of the law for everyone and every group, regardless of their viewpoints, should also protest and condemn Julian Bond’s overt support for a wretched abuse of governmental power by the IRS.”

Michael Meyers, executive director, New York Civil Rights Coalition (www.nycivilrights.org)

MSNBC HAS “A ‘RACE’ PROBLEM,” NETWORK EXECS TOLD

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

When we wrote to the brass at NBC/MSNBC, including to the Chairman of Comcast, the corporate owner of NBC, we got a prompt reply from the executive producer of the Morning Joe show, on which two compensated MSNBC pundits had accused critics of Mayor Bloomberg of harboring anti-Semitic feelings. The pundits offered no evidence and no examples for their accusation. We sent a follow up letter (below) to our first that in effect said hosts, co-hosts and compensated pundits on MSNBC talk shows too frequently raised false alarms about racism and engaged in other such calumny directed at critics of its talkers’ ideological bent. We told the network’s executives that MSNBC “has a ‘race’ problem.”

Michael Meyers’ open letter addressed to Alex Korson, the executive producer of Morning Joe, and copied to network brass, follows:

 

March 29, 2013

 
Alex Korson
Executive Producer
MORNING JOE/MSNBC
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, New York 10112

Dear Mr. Korson:

Thank you very much for your prompt response to my open letter to the Comcast Chairman and MSNBC executives.

I wish to assure you that I am a regular viewer of Morning Joe, and as such I endure the host and panelists talking over each other, and I suffer through, seemingly daily, Eugene Robinson’s interminable “you knows” when expressing his views. And, yes, I watched and listened to the segment in its entirety about which I wrote to MSNBC’s management.

It was during the discussion of Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership and funding of the multi-million dollar advertising campaign to gain public support for further gun control legislation that Mike Barnicle piped in with his surmise about an element of “anti-Semitism” in the opposition to Mayor Bloomberg. He said, as you know, “Let’s get down to it. Mike Bloomberg [emphasis on Bloomberg], Mayor of New York City. I mean. There’s a level of anti-Semitism in this thing, directed toward Bloomberg.”

And Al Sharpton immediately agreed with Barnicle, adding, “There’s no doubt about it. But if he were not a big-city Jewish man, in some parts I think it would be different.”

I did not take those remarks out of order or out of context. Rather, out of order—and out of the blue—was Mike Barnicle’s allegation of anti-Semitism as a motivating factor among the critics of Mayor Bloomberg. Barnicle’s allegation was not only speculative it was baseless inasmuch as he made the charge without offering a shred of evidence to support his bizarre claim. The “support” for Barnicle’s claim came from MSNBC pundit Al Sharpton, although Sharpton, too, did not offer any evidence for their indignant accusation of anti-Semitic bigotry on the part of Mayor Bloomberg’s critics.
I must admit that in my first writing to Comcast/MSNBC about this matter I did not think of Al Sharpton as any authority on the subject of anti-Semitism. So, Sharpton’s offering his support for Barnicle’s absurd and vile assumption of a “level of anti-Semitism” out there about Mayor Bloomberg, I did not imagine that that was Sharpton offering up scholarly proof. My colleagues subsequently reminded me that the Al Sharpton of Freddy’s Fashion Mart on 125th Street fame—the owner of which he called a “white interloper”—and the Al Sharpton who decried Jews in Crown Heights as “diamond merchants”—knows something about anti-Semitism. Al Sharpton’s notoriety on the subject notwithstanding is not dispositive; it is not enough to either explain or support Mike Barnicle’s invention of “anti-Semitism” behind the opposition to Mayor Bloomberg or to Mayor Bloomberg’s gun-control or other initiatives.

You point out that Dan Senor was at the table on Morning Joe, and that Senor disagreed with Barnicle and Sharpton’s insertion and assertion of anti-Semitism into the discussion. Yes, he was; and, yes Dan Senor disagreed with them. But there was no refutation of the absurdity and the insanity of the claim of anti-Semitism. There was no demand for proof to back up their accusation of anti-Semitism. There was nothing by way of a confrontation to have either Mike Barnicle or Al Sharpton to put up or shut up, much less stand down and take back their reckless claim of anti-Semitism. Nothing like that came from any panelist; that, I expected from the MSNBC host and from the management of MSNBC. So, in my judgment, there was no immediate or subsequent rebuke from MSNBC, much less refutation of the overblown rhetoric of Barnicle and Sharpton.

The accusation that critics of Mayor Bloomberg are anti-Semitic warrants something more effective and substantial than mere disagreement from a single panelist on the show; it deserves a demand from MSNBC that the opinions of its compensated pundits be informed and guided by solid evidence. To my knowledge, MSNBC executives have not demanded such evidence of either Mike Barnicle or Al Sharpton. Rather, your reply suggests that we, who have called your attention to this matter, have taken their remarks out of context. The truth is their charge of anti-Semitism is out of order; it is divisive; it is phony; it is manifestly insupportable—in the context of the discussion. And it is especially outrageous because it was a smear against those who simply do not agree with Mayor Bloomberg.

Our beef is not strictly with Morning Joe; and while we appreciate your reply to my open letter it was not directed at or intended for you per se as executive producer of Morning Joe. Our complaint is broader and emblematic of our larger concerns about character assassination and smears against people who disagree with MSNBC compensated pundits and hosts, co-hosts, and substitute hosts. The smears frequently come around matters related to—and wholly unconnected with—“race” and ethnicity and minority status. MSNBC’s “opinion journalism” and on-air commentary too often invokes—needlessly and recklessly—“race.” The latest example is the commentary of MSNBC’s Toure—who very recently lambasted Dr. Benjamin Carson, the renowned neurosurgeon, he who just happens to be African American. Dr. Carson was depicted as some kind of a black lackey (my words), as a token whose own opinions are supposedly intended to meet the emotional needs of white conservatives. Toure referred to Dr. Carson, derisively, as the “black “friend” of white conservatives.

Toure’s actual words are worse than my paraphrase:

“…It’s time for a new ‘black friend.’ Enter Dr. Ben Carson! He’s smart! And helpful in assuaging their guilt…”

We deplore the racial calumny that is routinely, almost reflexively, directed at blacks, and whites, who disagree with the MSNBC hosts, co-hosts and compensated pundits. Every discussion of politics, news events, President Obama, voter registration, immigration, civic affairs—whatever—inevitably seems to turn to “race” as a backstop or the trigger for a racial or personal attack or insinuation of racism or other bad motive on the part of people who disagree with MSNBC hosts, co-hosts, and compensated pundits. The Ed Schultz comment about Laura Ingraham as a “right-wing slut” rightfully evoked outrage and rebuke from MSNBC management. There are so many examples of MSNBC personalities shouting and insinuating racism where none exists, too. I need not give you line and verse but, suffice it to say, it was surprising, and ignorant—at least to us—for MSNBC hosts to accuse public figures of racism when these figures used the word “Chicago” or “golf” in their discussions or criticism of President Obama. That’s exactly what more than one MSNBC host did. And we have watched and listened, and cringed, whenever pundits –as is their wont—piped in with their sorrowful wails about others’ prejudice—quipping, as did one regular MSNBC pundit did, in explaining why some people kept talking about President Obama’s Chicago roots—“Well, there’s a lot of black people in Chicago.”

MSNBC hosts and on-air personalities were fast and furious with their insinuations and accusations of others’ racism during the 2012 Presidential race. Maybe you read my Huffington Post column, “Racial Politics and the Non-White Vassals of White Politicians,” (2/10/12). There, I recounted how some MSNBC personalities race-baited, this way:

“When it comes to racial paranoia MSNBC is in a bizarre world of its own. Andrea Mitchell, among others, decried Newt Gingrich’s racial overtones as ‘dog whistles’ aimed at white voters. Chris Matthews [accused] The Newt of the racially-charged use of ‘Juan’ when Gingrich answered a question from journalist Juan Williams during the South Carolinian debate. And MSNBC star host Rachel Maddow inveighed that Gingrich, when he chastised Obama as ‘Entertainer-in Chief’—for Obama’s having crooned at the Apollo Theater—was depicting Obama as a minstrel.”

The depiction and imagery of President Obama as a “minstrel” during the last Presidential campaign was not only MSNBC’s contention, it was MSNBC’s invention. Likewise, the depiction of Dr. Benjamin Carson—who Toure calls “Dr. Ben [sic] Carson—as some kind of toady for conservative whites is the latest affront to a man’s dignity because his skin color does not coincide with MSNBC personalities’ prejudgments and definition of what is an authentic black man. At MSNBC, invoking race as a dictum is a demeaning, mean-spirited attempt to besmirch the bona fides of people who disagree with your hosts, co-hosts and compensated pundits. This base and scurrilous brand of race-baiting is especially contemptible because it is sheer bullying; it is an example of a craven antic by your hosts, co-hosts and compensated pundits to shame blacks who disagree with them, and to stereotype blacks as “blacks.” No African American, according to such racialist thinking, is ever to be regarded as an individual; African Americans, according to such thinking—they who disagree with the blacker-than-thou crowd—are pilloried as “friends” of white conservatives, of white racists, as “traitors” to the race, and as not being authentically “black.” And the hosts, co-hosts and compensated pundits at MSNBC get to define who is—and who isn’t “black.”

In his own defense, Dr. Carson named that game for what it is—and decried the calumny for what it represents; it is something on the level of third-grade racial idiocy. But, Dr. Carson was much too kind and diplomatic in dismissing as merely juvenile the rants of MSNBC’s Toure. The racial rhetoric, mockery and race games that Toure and other MSNBC hosts, co-hosts and compensated pundits play are too serious to go undiagnosed as the sickness that they represent. In our considered judgment, MSNBC has a race problem; the network is obsessed with skin color and identity politics

MSNBC has turned over its microphones to people who peddle racial poison in the guise of opinion—when, in fact, their opinion is neither informed nor guided by rationality. The kind of venom that MSNBC condones and sells in the form of racial rhetoric and errant charges of racism –directed at people, black and white (and any other skin color) who disagree with your personalities’ political bent—is reprehensibly ignorant. The network seems to shun if not loathe blacks who don’t see race as the center of the universe. African Americans who are merely liberal and those who are— to use Ed Schultz’ term—“right-wing,” are written off as kooks, Uncle Toms, Tomasinas, and as traitors to the black community and to the so-called black race. (Of course there are exceptions to the rule; I know that MSNBC has hired as a pundit the GOPer Michael Steele, for example). This blacker-than-thou mentality is destructive and unbecoming of a major television network. The role of a television news network, normally, paraphrasing my mentor, Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, the social psychologist and civil rights activist, is to alert an indifferent or gullible public and for protecting that public from the pretensions of infallibility. Dr. Clark believed, and I concur, that this can be done “within the framework of due regard to freedom of inquiry and respect for the right of individuals [without regard to their skin color] to differ, and certainly with unqualified adherence to fundamental human and democratic processes. But there must be vigilance; intellectual vigilance is essential to the expansion and preservation of human dignity.”

The haranguing of blacks as “Uncle Toms” or of whites as “racists” because they disagree with the incumbent President, because the incumbent President is an African American—or calling opponents of Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts “anti-Semitic”, on the basis that Mayor Bloomberg is Jewish—breeds fanaticism on matters of race, ethnicity and religion.

The penchant for calling attention to one’s race, or religion, or ethnicity as the reason he or she is being opposed is morally bankrupt. Such race-baiting, as well as false charges of anti-Semitism, is sick, regressive, and tyrannical. It is anti-intellectual in character. Its main focus and purpose is the stirring of emotionalism rather than thought. And, that is why I asked Comcast/MSNBC executives to demand of Mike Barnicle and Al Sharpton some evidence for their claims that there is “a level of anti-Semitism” directed at Mayor Bloomberg supposedly from people opposed to his gun control advertising campaign.

What support is there for such emotionalism on their part?

Race isn’t what it used to be in America. There has been much progress in curbing and combating racial discrimination—and more progress and vigilance are always needed. But we cannot deny that considerable racial progress—or contradict it–by suggestions that any criticism of or opposition to the first African American President is due to racism—when that criticism or opposition is earnest and not at all race-based or a manifestation of skin-color prejudice or malice. I am baffled as to what MSNBC’s aims are when it comes to race talk. It seems that there is on the part of so many of your on-air personalities a perennial search for the answer to the old and ludicrous question, “Who speaks for the African American”? (I remember when the question was “Who speaks for the Negro’?). If that is the search, then let the search end now. Let individuals speak for themselves, whatever their skin color. This “take me to your leader” nonsense is just that; it has to stop being propagated by well-intentioned but profoundly racialist thinking and anti-intellectual behavior countenanced and fostered by the people who are entrusted with our nation’s airwaves and who own and operate broadcast networks.

People who are accomplished, who know stuff, who are academics, physicians, elected officials and civic leaders, who are renowned in their own right as neurosurgeons, and who are brilliant and engaging thinkers and activists, do not need to be racialized or otherwise categorized or marginalized into racial or ethnic camps and stereotypes. Likewise, it seems only sensible that executives at MSNBC will not want to ignore and should not countenance false claims of either racism or anti-Semitism, feelings that seemingly exist only in the fertile imaginations of the compensated talkers on your network.

I am always available to speak with you; I would suggest a face-to-face.

With best wishes to you for the happiest of holidays, and always, I am

Sincerely yours,

 
Michael Meyers
Executive Director

Cc: Brian l. Roberts, Chairman, Comcast Corporation

Patricia Fili-Krushel, Chairman, NBC Universal News Group

Phil Griffin, President, MSNBC

OUR OPEN LETTER TO THE BRASS AT MSNBC TV REGARDING RACE-BAITING OF THE NETWORK’S COMPENSATED-PUNDITS

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

March 26, 2013…

In an open letter to MSNBC TV executives, including to the network’s owner’s Chairman, we have complained of race-baiting antics of its compensated-pundits. NYCRC Executive Director Michael Meyers addressed his letter, dated and e-mailed March 25, to Comcast Corporation Chairman Brian Roberts, NBC Universal Chairman Patricia Fili-Krushel, and MSNBC President Phil Griffin. In the letter we take sharp exception to the “reckless” accusation from MSNBC contributors Mike Barnicle and Al Sharpton [aired on a Morning Joe TV show] that there is a “level” of “anti-Semitism” to the criticism directed at New York’s Mayor Bloomberg over his funding of a gun control legislation advertising campaign. Meyers told the MSNBC/Comcast brass, “Enough is enough”, and urged the MSNBC bosses–whom he referred to in his letter as the “grownups”–to require the pundits to show evidence to back up their “reckless, tasteless, reprehensible, irresponsible, despicable, deplorable, and outrageous” smear that accused critics of Bloomberg’s policies and funding effort of harboring anti-Semitic feelings.

The letter reads, in part:

“Neither Mike Barnicle nor Al Sharpton offered any evidence for their accusation of anti-Semitic feelings toward Mayor Bloomberg from any quarter—only their own opinions that there are in their view a “level” of anti-Semitic feelings toward Mayor Bloomberg, the Mayor of a big liberal city.  As such, Messieurs Barnicle and Sharpton cheapened the nature of anti-Semitism just as they and other MSNBC pundits have denuded the power of the allegation of “racism” inasmuch as they have made the accusation of racism a kind of sport in their commentary especially toward critics of President Obama’s policies. Is there no end in sight for such irresponsible compensated-opinion and reckless conjecturing from MSNBC pundits? Will the grownups at MSNBC—and at Comcast—ever step up and say “Enough is enough” to the smearing of critics of President Obama as anti-black and, now, MSNBC pundits depicting critics of New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg as “anti-Semitic”?  

“The constant charges of racism and, today, MSNBC pundits invoking the specter of anti-Semitism to bolster their side of the argument on social issues and public policy debates—in ways to discredit and intimidate the opposition to their sheer rhetoric—is so reckless, tasteless, reprehensible, irresponsible, despicable, deplorable, and outrageous that it warrants not only refutation but disapproval from the top management at MSNBC and Comcast.”

Feds Aid Separate Treatment of Blacks on Urban Campuses

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

 

March 19, 2013

New York, New York. The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Education Department–even before sharing its decision with the complainant–rushed out its clearance of what its exiting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights deemed “supportive programs” for African American male students at urban universities. In letters released toThe Chronicle of Higher Education, the OCR late last year “cleared” support programs for African American males on urban campuses, including “Black Male Initiative”programming at the City University of New York (CUNY) which the new York Civil Rights Coalition accused, back in 2006, of race and sex-based discrimination. The OCR says it has closed its investigations of the CUNY Black Male Initiative programs on the grounds that OCR accepts CUNY’s assurances that the programs are “open” to others and are not exclusively for African American male students.

We are appealing the ruling as a misstatement of law and a return to the discredited ‘separate but equal’ doctrine in higher education.

The New York Civil Rights Coalition’s executive director, Michael Meyers, blasted the OCR decision as “disingenuous, Orwellian double talk”.

The New York Civil Rights Coalition’s Michael Meyers’ statement follows:

“I have never known the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education to issue a decision on a complaint without sharing its findings and conclusions with the complainant. But there is little in its decision that is based on established standards, much less the rue of law in conjunction with Supreme Court precedents. The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education has established a new race-based classification outside of the justification of affirmative action to give a green light to programs for African American male students that it calls “supportive programs.” In so doing, the Office for Civil Rights ignores the considerable evidence that the City University of New York (CUNY) set up for the exclusive ‘benefit’ of African American males special (i.e. separate) classes and programs; its special class for African American males at Medgar Evers College, for instance, was exclusively for black males only, and it was taught by a black male–the college’s African American male president.  Not even black women students were included.  Indeed, black female students were told the special class was for African American males. 

“The Black Male Initiative at the City University of New York on its face–and in every way it’s been organized, advertised, promoted, and how it’s been administered–has been exclusively for the supposed “benefit” of black males. CUNY, in setting up the separate programming, had argued that the “young black male” is different and has “special needs.” So, they can’t have it both ways–except with the paternalistic Office for Civil Rights. Now, with a green light from the federal government, CUNY can merely claim that such programs are “open” without any evidence that they have included black women or students, male or female, other than black men. The Black Male Initiative has the government announcing to every other person and to all young women in highereducation–regardless of their color and similar circumstances as black men–that they need not apply. Moreover, the Feds have accepted the mere assurance from CUNY officials that these programs are “open” without regard to race or sex. Imagine what the feds’ ruling would have been if CUNY had announced and organized a “White Men’s Initiative.” Would the Office for Civil Rights have accepted verbal assurances from the college officials that programs for white men were “open” to others than white males? The absurdity of the race and gender-based classification would have drawn the ire and disapproval of the Office for Civil Rights had this not been a program for the supposed “benefit” of African American males–the stereotype about whom is such that they are uniquely “disadvantaged” and in need of “special support” because of their skin color and gender. Thus, on the nomenclature alone, and the substance of its flagrant abuse of process of ignoring Supreme Court precedents that disfavor race-based classifications, the OCR is engaged in an exercise of Orwellian double talk and double standards of civil rights law enforcement.

OCR has willfully ignored Supreme Court precedents to approve discriminatory race-based and gender-based classifications, in the guise of approving “support”programs for African American males. This is a disconnect from genuine affirmative action efforts–where racial classifications, if they are to be upheld–must be narrowly tailored and serve a compelling governmental purpose–and even then, be integrative in purpose and effect. This instant OCR decision, however, ignores that jurisprudence and turns inside out Title VI law in order to achieve the result it sought–i.e. the federal government sanctioning and reviving the doctrine of separate but equal in higher education, on the pretext that the segregation– by race and sex–is to be regarded as a supposed “benefit” to African American males. This constitutes a significant and unforgivable breach of equal opportunity law and an inversion of the rhetoric about race as a badge of inferiority and stereotype. It is the biggest breach of trust and of principled civil rights enforcement to memory in the history of Title VI and Title IX enforcement by the federal government.

The upshot of OCR’s errant nonsense is that in its view racial separatism and official segregation–and racial classifications–can lead to positive rather than negative results if it is either sought by or is cast by the segregating governmental entity as “for the benefit” of the previous victims of racial exclusion and segregation. In other words, to paraphrase my mentor, Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, OCR thinks the character of racism and of discrimination and exclusion based on race–and on the basis of race and gender, “in support” of African American males–would depend on the attitude the black males and their university benefactors and enablers have toward the segregative programs and conditions. On the contrary, when Title VI and Title IX were adopted by the Congress it would have been the consensus of the nation that racism would have gained its greatest triumph had its supporters back then been able to persuade blacks that segregation was both acceptable and desirable, and that the justification for this separatism was color alone.This arrangement with segregation, and with sex and race-based stereotypes, is what OCR has approved–it has, in knee-jerk, paternalistic fashion, adopted a “separate but equal” view of civil rights law enforcement; in OCR’s warped view of equal opportunity and racial neutrality, as long as blacks themselves say they want the segregation–and there are no whites or others of a different skin color to formally challenge that segregation–the federal government sees nothing wrong with racial classifications and discriminatory programs arranged and funded by the government. This is an appalling betrayal of the public policy mandate of Brown v. Board of Educationand of our federal laws that seek to end segregation and discrimination based on skin color–and in this case, discrimination based on the group’s skin color and sex.”

STACEY DASH’S RACE-CRAZED CRITICS “AREN’T CAPABLE OF SHAME”

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

The executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, Michael Meyers. an African American himself, denounces the racially-charged tweets from “race-crazed” haters that are being directed at African American actress Stacey Dash after Ms. Dash tweeted her endorsement of Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama.

Michael Meyers’ statement follows:

“Those hateful zingers in the form of tweets, calling African American actress Stacey Dash vile names–such as ‘jigaboo,’ ‘indoor slave’, and that labeled her a traitor to her race–evinces an ugly mood in this nation on the part of racial fanatics and others who engage in unhinged racial calumny. They have directed such name-calling at blacks and whites who disagree with them on politics and candidates for elected office. Sadly, and weirdly, they think of themselves as the guardians and as the defenders of the so-called black race. But they are not representatives of any rational or ethnic community; rather, they, and their ilk, represent only ignorance, ugliness, and putrid bigotry.

“What is more, the race-crazed haters don’t even know that there is no such thing as one’s ‘race’ based on skin color. We all, regardless of our skin color, belong to the same race–the human race. And, as Stacey Dash has said, in defense of expressing her views, she is entitled as an individual to her own opinions without regard to her skin color and without being assigned or consigned to the community in which others insist she belongs and must identity.

“It is self-evident that those who have so despicably assailed Stacey Dash as not being ‘black enough’ are themselves not capable of shame. So, we who abhor and deplore racial calumny and the wickedness that such idiocy and hatred foment, are ashamed for them.”

Michael Meyers, Executive Director
New York Civil Rights Coalition
424 West 33rd Street
New York, New York 10001
www.nycivilrights.org
Tel. 212-563-5636

Letter To The Editor: White House Speech and Bullying.

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

The following Letter to the editor by Michael Meyers appeared in the Wall Street Journal, you can read the letter online on the Wall Street Journal’s Website.

To the Editor:

Preeminent First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams’s (Letters, Sept. 27) defense of President Obama’s free speech and right to condemn the “anti-Muslim” film, “Innocence of Muslims,” as not being a government effort at censorship ignores the import of the White House’s request of YouTube/Google to “review” whether the 14-minute trailer of the film violated YouTube’s ”terms of use.” Why else would the White House have done this if it didn’t want the film banished from YouTube? Subsequently, Google blocked the short film’s availability on YouTube in Libya and Egypt and other nations with heavy Muslim populations.

Deeply concerning to the guardians of American freedom was the specter of the filmmaker being questioned by the feds as to whether his posting the film on YouTube constituted a violation of the conditions of his probation (on check fraud charges), which had prohibited him from using computers and the Internet. Moreover, free-speech advocates were alarmed by the phone call that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff made to an American pastor urging the pastor (known for his own anti-Muslim views) to withdraw his support for the film.

Such pressures from government officials on private citizens and on communications companies is much more than our government officials expressing their own viewpoint or separating the government of the U.S. from the hateful message of a despicable, ignorant and disputatious film.

Michael Meyers

President

N.Y. Civil Rights Coalition

New York

MEYERS’ OPEN LETTER TO U.S. EDUCATION SECRETARY: FEDERAL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT IS NOT DOING ITS JOB AS CIVIL RIGHTS ENFORCER

Monday, August 20th, 2012

August 16, 2012

Dear Secretary Duncan:
(more…)

Barack Obama, Black Separatist?

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Obama’s Executive Order Puts Blacks In the Corner At the U.S. Department of Education

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on August 7, 2012.

By MICHAEL MEYERS.

Two months after the nation observed the 58th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling that found racial segregation in public education unconstitutional because such racial classifications by school authorities are suspect and inherently unequal, America’s first African American president refuses to lead us into a post-racial society. Recently, he doubled-down on keeping us in racial boxes by establishing — by Executive Order — a black corner at the U.S. Department of Education. His Executive Order, eye-witnessed and praised by Rev. Al Sharpton and the NAACP’s Benjamin Jealous, purports to put African Americans on the road to equality when it actually places blacks behind the eight-ball of segregation and skin color identity politics.

The President’s action launches the “White House Initiative on educational Excellence for African Americans;” to be housed in the department of Education, establishes an inter-agency “working group” of senior officials from the US Education Department, the White House Domestic Policy Council, the department of Justice, the department of Labor, the department of health and Human Services, the National Science Foundation, as well as Department of Defense to “strengthen the Nation by improving educational outcomes for African Americans of all ages; and help ensure that African Americans receive a complete and competitive education that prepares them for college, a satisfying career, and productive citizenship.” Segregation is always explained in purple language, surrounded by federal bureaucrats, and encased in glossy government folders. naturally, the government officials are obliged to be guided and advised by a commission of hand-picked experts on black education and culture.

Why does the Education Department need an office on African Americans when it already has a division focused on protecting minorities’ rights — OCR, the Office of Civil Rights. Indeed, that office (usually headed by a non-white Secretary for Civil Rights) in recent years already advocates for blacks and other racial minorities; it’s never seen a black or minority-centric program it’s disapproved of. For instance, my civil rights organization years ago, to no avail, insisted that OCR shut down Cornell University’s black dorm — and also shutter City University of New York’s discriminatory “Black Male Initiative” as violations of Title 6′s prohibition on the use of race to exclude or segregate. We also argued in the case of the Black Male Initiative that governmental education officials were stereotyping and treating black males differently on account of their race (a Title VI violation) and gender ( a violation of Title IX). OCR also refused to decide our Title IX (sex discrimination) complaint against the City of New York when in 1996 it opened the first single-sex public school since the 1972 Title IX regulations prohibited such schools. Instead of declaring the single-sex public all-girls school illegal OCR dodged the bullet-proof complaint we sent them by changing its regulations so as to allow gender considerations in admissions to public schools.

Now, President Obama — citing the need for race-specific strategies and his wish to help the historically black colleges and universities–advocates and imposes a separate door and office for African Americans within the federal Education Department. With prompting from and the approval of the usual race advocates, and black college supporters, Obama spun off their racial rhetoric and simultaneously declared that this latest White House Initiative — and therefore the Department of Education — will “complement and reinforce” the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Initiative that he had he established by his previous separatist-oriented Executive Order 13532 in February 2010. In neither Executive Order did the president of the United States of America address the Brown v. Board of Education mandate of integration or the underlying policy question: Do we still need, and should the government reinforce in 21st century America (when most blacks attend non-black colleges) racially-identifiable colleges?

The truthful answer is no; we no longer need “black colleges” or “white colleges” or “Hispanic colleges” much less “Asian” colleges. The nation has turned the corner on race by dropping the historical racial barriers that black students encountered that once excluded them from deliberately white public colleges and ivy league schools. Back then, a lifetime ago now, America’s states actually maintained a dual system of colleges — one for for blacks and the other for whites. No more. That kind of intentional discrimination and purposeful segregation of higher educational institutions is old-hat now in our multiracial America. Today, most black students steer clear of the historically black colleges. Indeed, if the law of supply and demand were allowed to hold sway — and such antiquated institutions were not propped up by substantial and continuous federal financial support, and also backed by paternalism and nostalgia for a bygone era, many, many more of the remaining black colleges would be shuttered. Still, defying realities, President Obama plowed ahead anyway because he’s drunk the Kool-Aid of race ideologues who refuse to work toward a non-racial society.

With the stroke of his presidential pen Obama has ignored and denies the substantial and irreversible racial progress we as a nation have made; with great alacrity, and without any shame, he has embraced the separatists’ mission, credo and agenda that dictate blacks should be regarded as and educated differently, and treated differentially, from all other American students.

When it comes to race, President Obama just doesn’t get that racism in America ain’t what it used to be, and America, by now, should stand for and become a melting pot. Integration and assimilation should be fostered by government not ethnic identity and racial enclaving. A black section of Education? What on earth for? It’s worse than a suspect classification; it smacks of sheer paternalism, window dressing (to add a few more chosen blacks to the federal payrolls and conference circuit) and tokenism — who will document and expound on so-called racial differences. Spare us from such do-gooders; including those do-gooders who urged the previous presidential executive orders focused around Hispanics and Asians. I know, I know, in October 2010 Obama signed Executive Order 13555 renewing the White House Initiative on Hispanics, and subsequently, last December, he named Jose Rico (a Hispanic of course) to the position of executive director. On October 4, 2009 President Obama issued an Executive Order establishing a White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, which also created a special, ahem, advisory commission on Asian affairs. Those were stupid, too. But, here, I am talking about blacks, and refusing to talk black. We don’t need a black corner in any federal agency. These separate black doors and racial corridors at the White House and elsewhere make no sense whatsoever in either a post-racial society or to a society trying to overcome racial and ethnic divisions. As racial and ethnic surrogates the so-called experts and advisers about blackness stand as contradictions to the goal of a single, integrated society. As such, this wrongheaded focus on groupthink and racial classification bludgeons the government’s responsibility to treat its citizens and immigrants as individuals, without regard to others’ and its own bogus racial stereotypes and classifications.

No good can or will come of this latest excursion into ethnic politics and racial identity on behalf, this latest time, of African Americans. That it is launched in the context of reducing the racial academic gap is ironic, farcical and perilous-inasmuch as the white section of Obama’s Education Department — with Obama’s blessing and prodding — has been removing the very academic achievement benchmarks set by the No Child Left Behind Act that were put into place to track disparate educational outcomes. Is there a “black” way of evaluating effective teaching and learning? No separate black section at Education will undo the harm already done by that department’s already having lowered and obliterated (through opt-outs, exceptions and waivers) federal, more rigorous outcomes standards in public schooling. A division at Education for blacks–and its adjunct President-appointed commission of experts on black schooling and the black experience are counterproductive, not forward-looking. Decades of similar commissions premised on the racial model instruct that these so-called experts on race and schooling will trade in generalizations and the like about what it means to be “black” — always ending up defined as “at risk”students with “different” learning styles, learning curves, and dialects. Ebonics anyone? This separatist approach to black-centric schooling and its rhetorical hogwash about “cultural” and “racial” differences are always bottled in paternalism and sold as a cure-all and moral repair tonic for the blacks to imbibe or inhale. In this connection, Obama repeats the mistaken racialist precedents of his predecessors, including George H. W. Bush, whose 1990 Executive Order created the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and Bill Clinton, whose Executive Order 13230 continued the Hispanic focus, and advisory commission, not to mention George W. Bush, whose Executive Order 13230 built on and staffed his predecessors’ ethnic folly.

America’s first black president ought to know better than to put a new bleeding heart label on this poison of separatism, a label, because it is applied to black students, and by the nation’s first African American president, will likely stick. Obama — who campaigned on the theme of one America — should raise his presidential bat and clobber ethnic and racial separatism as a national policy or direction. Being himself “half-white and “half-black”, his should be the voice of sanity about race. Rather than endorse black “this” and black “that” in government, he should be speaking up for abolishing so-called racial differences and boxes.

We need President Barack Hussein Obama’s leadership in streamlining government and in reorganizing society on a nonracial basis instead of doing the same thing that his predecessors have done (and what he is now doing). He can start by rescinding the executive orders that only intensify racial idiocy, and take down the racial baggage and signage in governmental offices. He must rescind the silly executive orders that are inconsistent with and make a mockery of Brown v. Board of Education and which only reinforce the outmoded racist symptoms and instincts of a bygone era.

Read the original article on the Huffington Post’s website:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-meyers/obamas-hbcu-executive-order_b_1726291.html

 

NAACP and Same Sex Marriage: Mission Creep.

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

By MICHAEL MEYERS.

This article originally appeared in the New York Daily News.

In the same week as the 58th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education decision that outlawed segregation in public schools — the NAACP’s greatest victory — the NAACP announced its groundbreaking endorsement of gay marriage.

Leapfrogging over concerns about its mission as a black rights group and about partisanship — publicly siding with Democrat Barack Obama’s final answer on whether gays should have the right to marry — the nation’s oldest and mostly black civil rights group invoked the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause, the same clause the high court used to ban racial discrimination.

The ensuing headlines were bold, suggesting the NAACP was championing a comparable cause.

I support marriage equality. And the equal protection clause, I know, has been elastic enough to aid others’ push for fairness. But unlike the NAACP, I don’t see same-sex marriage as a priority issue for an organization whose mission is seeking the elimination of skin color discrimination and combatting media images and societal stereotypes of blacks.

This has long been the NAACP’s focus, just like the ADL’s is on confronting and challenging anti-Semitism, and like GLAAD’s is on contesting bias against gays. School segregation, housing discrimination, illiteracy, crime, police misconduct, teenage pregnancy rates, voting rights, drug abuse, overincarceration of blacks and the disparate impact of capital punishment — these are the civil rights concerns of the NAACP. Its name bespeaks its core agenda.

The advocacy and achievement of blacks’ equality has never before been linked to gay marriage rights. Though obviously a person can be both gay and black, there’s no particular nexus between being gay and being black.

So is the NAACP arguing that discrimination against anyone is now officially a concern of the organization? Italians and Asians and Christians and Muslims frequently claim to have been discriminated against. Where is the NAACP’s statement in favor of Italians’ and Asians’ and Christians’ and Muslims’ right to equal treatment before the law?

I would’ve loved to have heard a real debate about whether the NAACP should take this turn into gay rights at the organization’s annual convention next month; the debate would’ve been sharp and enlightening. But the NAACP’s 64-member board short-circuited that possibility by voting on this major policy change without hearing from the rank and file — this despite claims that the annual convention is the citadel of democratic governance.

Those inside the NAACP leadership bubble are congratulating themselves. According to board Chairman Rosyln Brock, “The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people.” Not true; the NAACP’s constitution calls for the NAACP to “ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens” — adding by means aimed at “eliminating race prejudice” and “removing all barriers of racial discrimination.”

Maybe it’s time for the NAACP to formally change its name and call letters to indicate the advancement of everybody’s equal rights, regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation. I might and could support that — but, the NAACP’s current bylaws do not say that, do not mean that and do not give its board of 64 license to commit its resources elsewhere than the fight against racial discrimination.

Its core mission is to combat racial prejudice. There is plenty of work to be done on that front.

Meyers is executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition and a former assistant national director of the NAACP.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/naacp-mission-creep-article-1.1090440#ixzz1wxNwnQek

Michael Meyers on Fox’s Hannity: “We Long Ago Banned ‘Colored Sections’ of Buses and Public Accommodations; Ditto When It Comes to Segregating Children By Race In a Public School”

Monday, May 21st, 2012


(NOTE: This video is of Michael Meyers’ appearance on a Hannity Show on the Fox News Channel; he debated Project 21′s Deneen Borelli as to whether a public high school in Lancaster, PA may separate black boys into “special” homerooms, and assign to the homerooms black male teachers. The school did the same thing by deliberately separating black girls into “special” homerooms–to which black female teachers were assigned. The school rationalized this purposeful segregation as a “mentoring” and uplift effort for “at risk” black students. The black teachers of the homerooms had also argued for this segregation as a benefit to the black students.

Following this TV debate the New York Civil Rights Coalition formally challenged the segregation scheme as a violation of the Brown v. Board of Education mandate and as inconsistent with  Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which prohibits the purposeful segregation by race in federally-supported programs. The New York Civil Rights Coalition also cited Pennsylvania education laws and civil rights statutes that prohibited such segregation. The separate homerooms were discontinued shortly after our complaint).

Watch Michael Meyers on Hannity