How To Read Political Racial Code

http://ideas.time.com/2012/09/06/how-to-read-political-racial-code/

By Touré | @Toure | September 6, 2012

Part of my job when I speak about politics is to speak up for black people and say things black people need said. This mission has rarely felt so necessary as it has when racial code words recently entered the Presidential election. These code words are ancient racial stereotypes in slick, modern gear. They are linguistic mustard gas, sliding in covertly, aiming to kill black political viability by allowing white politicians to say ‘Don’t vote for the black guy’ in socially-acceptable language. Sometimes the code comes directly out of a candidate’s mouth. Sometimes it comes from supporters, or can be found in advertisements.

(MOREInside the Racist Mind)

Do not be fooled by the canard that both parties do it. That was former RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s response when I asked him about it on my MSNBC show “The Cycle.” Using certain words to invoke racialized fear and scare white working class voters is a long-established part of the Republican playbook. The GOP is a 90% white party and has been for decades. According to Ron Brownstein of the National Journal, Mitt Romney willneed over 60% of white people to vote for him or he will lose. “That,” Brownstein says, “would be the best performance ever for a Republican Presidential challenger with that group of voters.” Given that math, in a base turnout election where Romney has a big lead among white, non-college educated men, it’s understandable why he’d try to motivate those voters with code words that remind them of their racial difference with Obama and stigmatize that difference. In this effort a word like “welfare” is extremely valuable. Sure there are more white than black Americans on welfare, but when a candidate says ‘welfare’ many whites think of their tax dollars being given to blacks.

So when Romney began running ads about Obama “dropping the work requirement from welfare” — ads which are still running even though the claim has been thoroughly debunked — he was merely updating Ronald Reagan’s old “welfare queen” meme. Both are designed to create racial resentment around entitlements. This tactic is bolstered by the classic stereotype of blacks as lazy. A recent Pew Research Center poll, for example,found that 57% of Republicans believe people are poor because they don’t work hard. When a recent Washington Post poll asked “Why do most black voters so consistently support Democrats?” the second reason given by Republicans was “black voters are dependent on government or seeking a government handout” while for Democrats it was that “their party addresses issues of poverty.” (The top answer for members of both parties was “Don’t know”.)

(MORERomney Plays the Race Card)

Another classic code word — that hasn’t cropped up in this election yet — is “crime.” Like welfare, even though more whites commit crimes than blacks, the word is more associated with blacks who have historically been stereotyped as wild, violent, animalistic and immoral. As Michelle Alexander writes in The New Jim Crow, “What it means to be criminal in our collective consciousness has become conflated with what it means to be black, so the term white criminal is confounding, while the term black criminal is nearly redundant.” The classic example is President George H. W. Bush’s famous ad using inmate Willie Horton as a way to portray Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis as soft on crime and thus unable to protect us from wild black criminals.

There’s also the cornucopia of terms and concepts created to de-Americanize Barack Obama, from calling him “Muslim” or “Socialist” to Romney surrogates like John Sununu saying things like, “I wish this President would learn how to be an American.”  There is also a return to birtherism, with Romney recently joking, “Nobody’s ever asked to see my birth certificate.” The subtext of all this is: Obama, like other blacks, is not one of “us.” He is other.

Do Democrats use racial code? No. The Democratic party is a racially diverse coalition. There would be no value to playing this game. In fact, the party has risked alienating white working class voters by fighting for people of color, a tightrope perhaps best symbolized by President Johnson signing the 1964 Voting Rights Act and then famously, and presciently, saying to an aide, “We have lost the South for a generation.”

(MOREWill Black Voters Punish Obama For His Support of Gay Rights?)

If Johnson could see the modern electoral college map he would recognize his continuing impact in a solid red South, but many say that a white-dominated political party leaning on racial appeals to survive will not work much longer. The Hispanic population in America is rising rapidly and as Brownstein points out, “Whites have declined as a portion of the electorate in every presidential election since 1992, according to exit polls.” Those are two frightening trends for the future of the GOP and even prominent Republicans are publicly admitting it. “The demographics race we’re losing badly,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina recently told the Washington Post. “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

But for now, as the GOP paddles furiously trying to stay viable as an all-white party, we must shine a harsh light on their attempts to use old racial stereotypes to win votes.

Touré is the author of four books, including Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? and the co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle. The views expressed are solely his own.

Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/09/06/how-to-read-political-racial-code/#ixzz26AgR0Glq

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David Banner Speaks Out on the Murder of Trayvon Martin

 

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If I Were a Middle Class White Guy Writing About Being a Poor Black Kid (posted verbatim)

Below is a response written by Toure’ to Forbes contributor, Gene Marks’ controversial article entitled, “If I Were A Poor Black Kid.”   Toure’ turns the article’s thesis on its head and succeeds in…well…saying exactly what a lot of people were thinking.  Enjoy the read!

“If I Were a Middle Class White Guy Writing About Being a Poor Black Kid”

by Toure’

http://ideas.time.com/2011/12/15/if-i-was-a-middle-class-white-guy-writing-about-being-a-poor-black-kid/

If I were a middle class white guy writing on Forbes.com about being a poor Black kid I’d be clueless. I’d be so clueless that I wouldn’t realize that I’m clueless, so I would not know that I should really, really step away from my expensive computer and not press send on my condescending, paternalistic and simplistic little essay that breezily fixes the problems of poor Black kids. I wouldn’t think, well, if these steps are so easy — use the Internet to get more learning and try real hard — then why don’t more kids do that? I mean, wouldn’t some of them have thought of that already? No, they wouldn’t because none of them are middle class white guys.

I wouldn’t think about how my cheery advice doesn’t really interact with the challenges of being a poor Black kid — from the lack of role models to poor schools to depressed employment opportunities to the lure of the drug game to the day-to-day difficulties of being poor that makes it hard to get out of being poor because of a system that’s constructed to keep you poor. I wouldn’t think about those things because I wouldn’t really know anything about them because I don’t have to. I could potentially solve some of my ignorance by interviewing some poor Black kids before I write about them, but I wouldn’t go do that because, you know, what if I get robbed. I saw that happen in a movie.

(MORE: Touré: Can Whites Say the N-Word?)

In my pithy, encouraging, bootstrappy message to the poor, Black kids of America I wouldn’t include a discussion of overcoming the challenges of racism — from the mind-numbing messages society sends to broken families to the paucity of opportunity to the overpolicing of poor Black communities, which leads to the prevalence of criminal records which makes it nearly impossible to get jobs. I wouldn’t realize that Black people who are applying for jobs with a clean criminal record are treated the same as white people with a criminal record, so the struggle to find a job is complicated by Black skin. I wouldn’t know that the recession has hit Blacks harder than it hit whites, so no matter what a Black kid does he cannot find a job if few exist.

I wouldn’t think about these things if I were a middle class white man because I never really think about racism because I don’t have to. Racism is something that happens to other people and I don’t really think about it that often because it’s complicated and it makes me uncomfortable to think about. I don’t even think about how race impacts my life, but I have a race card. You didn’t know I have a race card? Of course, I do. I don’t even have to pull out my race card for it to work. It works automatically. It’s accepted everywhere you want to be. Membership has its privileges.

If I were a middle class man writing about a poor Black kid I would assume that anyone who knows the world in the way that I do would make the decisions that I would make so I need only share with them the knowledge that I have. I wouldn’t think about how their environment might impact their ability or willingness to use that information. I mean, everyone has access to the Internet, right? Just turn it on and become a Google Scholar, and then Skype away to a better education. I wouldn’t think that some of them may lack Wi-Fi. I mean, everyone has Wi-Fi, right?

(MORE: Judith Warner: Why are the Rich So Interested in Public-School Reform?)

Look, I’m a middle class white guy on deadline at a big-time magazine, with no idea of the hornet’s nest I’m about to step into — I’m just trying to be nice and give some advice to some poor poor Black kids. I’m doing the right thing. I’m not even aware that the very gesture and the breezyness of my discussion is insulting because I’m wrapped up in a cocoon of white privilege that blinds me to the realities of being a poor Black kid, so I’m not even aware of how difficult it is to be a poor Black kid because my life has never been anywhere near as difficult. Thank God for that.

Touré is the author of four books, including Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? The views expressed are his own.
Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2011/12/15/if-i-was-a-middle-class-white-guy-writing-about-being-a-poor-black-kid/#ixzz1gfIQzvb7

 

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If I Were A Poor Black Kid (posted verbatim)

Below is the highly controversial article written by Forbes contributor, Gene Marks. Gene ventures to detail the steps he would take if he were a “poor black kid” in America.  The article is posted below verbatim. 

“If I Were A Poor Black Kid”  by Gene Marks

http://www.forbes.com/sites/quickerbettertech/2011/12/12/if-i-was-a-poor-black-kid/

President Obama gave an excellent speech last week in Kansas about inequality in America.

“This is the defining issue of our time.”  He said.  “This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Because what’s at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement.”

He’s right.  The spread between rich and poor has gotten wider over the decades.  And the opportunities for the 99% have become harder to realize.

The President’s speech got me thinking.  My kids are no smarter than similar kids their age from the inner city.  My kids have it much easier than their counterparts from West Philadelphia.  The world is not fair to those kids mainly because they had the misfortune of being born two miles away into a more difficult part of the world and with a skin color that makes realizing the opportunities that the President spoke about that much harder.  This is a fact.  In 2011.

 

I am not a poor black kid.  I am a middle aged white guy who comes from a middle class white background.  So life was easier for me.  But that doesn’t mean that the prospects are impossible for those kids from the inner city.  It doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities for them.   Or that the 1% control the world and the rest of us have to fight over the scraps left behind.  I don’t believe that.  I believe that everyone in this country has a chance to succeed.  Still.  In 2011.  Even a poor black kid in West Philadelphia.

It takes brains.  It takes hard work.  It takes a little luck.  And a little help from others.  It takes the ability and the know-how to use the resources that are available.  Like technology.  As a person who sells and has worked with technology all my life I also know this.

If I was a poor black kid I would first and most importantly work to make sure I got the best grades possible. I would make it my #1 priority to be able to read sufficiently.   I wouldn’t care if I was a student at the worst public middle school in the worst inner city.  Even the worst have their best.  And the very best students, even at the worst schools, have more opportunities.  Getting good grades is the key to having more options.  With good grades you can choose different, better paths.  If you do poorly in school, particularly in a lousy school, you’re severely limiting the limited opportunities you have.

And I would use the technology available to me as a student.  I know a few school teachers and they tell me that many inner city parents usually have or can afford cheap computers and internet service nowadays.  That because (and sadly) it’s oftentimes a necessary thing to keep their kids safe at home than on the streets.  And libraries and schools have computers available too.  Computers can be purchased cheaply at outlets like TigerDirect and Dell’s Outlet.  Professional organizations like accountants and architects often offer used computers from their members, sometimes at no cost at all.

If I was a poor black kid I’d use the free technology available to help me study.  I’d become expert at Google Scholar.   I’d visit study sites like SparkNotes and CliffsNotes to help me understand books.  I’d watch relevant teachings on Academic Earth, TED and the Khan Academy.  (I say relevant because some of these lectures may not be related to my work or too advanced for my age. But there are plenty of videos on these sites that are suitable to my studies and would help me stand out.)  I would also, when possible, get my books for free at Project Gutenberg and learn how to do research at the CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia to help me with my studies.

I would use homework tools like Backpack, and Diigo to help me store and share my work with other classmates.  I would use Skype to study with other students who also want to do well in my school.  I would take advantage of study websites like Evernote, Study Rails, Flashcard Machine, Quizlet, and free online calculators.

Is this easy?  No it’s not.  It’s hard.  It takes a special kind of kid to succeed.  And to succeed even with these tools is much harder for a black kid from West Philadelphia than a white kid from the suburbs.  But it’s not impossible.  The tools are there.  The technology is there.  And the opportunities there.

In Philadelphia, there are nationally recognized magnet schools like Central, Girls High and Masterman.  These schools are free.  But they are hard to get in to.  You need good grades and good test scores.  And there are also other good magnet and charter schools in the city.  You also need good grades to get into those.  In a school system that is so broken these are bright spots.  Getting into one of these schools opens up a world of opportunities.  More than 90% of the kids that go to Central go on to college.  I would use the internet to research each one of these schools so I could find out how I could be admitted.  I would find out the names of the admissions people and go to meet with them. If I was a poor black kid I would make it my goal to get into one of these schools.

Or even a private school.  Most private schools I know are filled to the brim with the 1%.  That’s because these schools are exclusive and expensive, costing anywhere between $20 and $50k per year.    But there’s a secret about them.  Most have scholarship programs.  Most have boards of trustees that want to give opportunities to kids that can’t afford the tuition.  Many would provide funding for not only tuition but also for transportation or even boarding.  Trust me, they want to show diversity.  They want to show smiling, smart kids of many different colors and races on their fundraising brochures. If I was a poor black kid I’d be using technology to research these schools on the internet, too, and making them know that I exist and that I get good grades and want to go to their school.

And once admitted to one of these schools the first person I’d introduce myself to would be the school’s guidance counselor.  This is the person who will one day help me go to a college.  This is the person who knows everything there is to know about financial aid, grants, minority programs and the like.  This is the person who may also know of job programs and co-op learning opportunities that I could participate in.   This is the person who could help me get summer employment at a law firm or a business owned by the 1% where I could meet people and show off my stuff.

If I was a poor black kid I would get technical.  I would learn software.  I would learn how to write code.  I would seek out courses in my high school that teaches these skills or figure out where to learn more online.  I would study on my own.  I would make sure my writing and communication skills stay polished.

Because a poor black kid who gets good grades, has a part time job and becomes proficient with a technical skill will go to college.  There is financial aid available.  There are programs available.  And no matter what he or she majors in that person will have opportunities.  They will find jobs in a country of business owners like me who are starved for smart, skilled people. They will succeed.

President Obama was right in his speech last week.  The division between rich and poor is a national problem.  But the biggest challenge we face isn’t inequality.   It’s ignorance.  So many kids from West Philadelphia don’t even know these opportunities exist for them.  Many come from single-parent families whose mom or dad (or in many cases their grand mom) is working two jobs to survive and are just (understandably) too plain tired to do anything else in the few short hours they’re home.  Many have teachers who are overburdened and too stressed to find the time to help every kid that needs it.  Many of these kids don’t have the brains to figure this out themselves – like my kids.  Except that my kids are just lucky enough to have parents and a well-funded school system around to push them in the right direction.

Technology can help these kids.  But only if the kids want to be helped.  Yes, there is much inequality.  But the opportunity is still there in this country for those that are smart enough to go for it.

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Governor Haley Barbour Not Running for President

Verbatim statement from Governor Haley Barbour:

“I will not be a candidate for president next year.  This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided.

“Hundreds of people have encouraged me to run and offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign.  Many volunteers have organized events in support of my pursuing the race.  Some have dedicated virtually full time to setting up preliminary organizations in critical, early states and to helping plan what has been several months of intensive activity.

“I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts.  If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it.

“A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else.  His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate.  I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.

“This decision means I will continue my job as Governor Mississippi, my role in the Republican Governors Association and my efforts to elect a new Republican president in 2012, as the stakes for the nation require that effort to be successful.”

Click here for more information on Gov. Barbour

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President Obama’s Hot Mic: “You think we’re stupid?”

In a closed-door meeting at a fundraiser on Thursday night, President Barack Obama challenged Republican attempts to roll-back accomplishments made by his administration–namely healthcare.

The president vowed to veto any legislation that will do away with funding for the new health care law.  This seems to have really fired up the Democratic base.

More details of President Obama’s conversation are below.

Washington Unplugged

Obama to Republicans: ‘You think we’re stupid?’

By: Steve Holland

Posted Verbatim

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama said he challenged Republicans to try to repeal his landmark healthcare reform in private budget talks last week, taunting his opponents with a question: “You think we’re stupid?”

In one of three political fund-raisers for his re-election campaign on Thursday night, Obama spoke candidly to supporters about the closed-door White House conversations that led to a deal that barely avoided a shutdown of the U.S. government.

He said he warned Republicans he would veto any legislation passed by Congress that sought to defund his 2010 healthcare overhaul. Republicans, who took control of the U.S. House of Representatives later that year, had vowed to kill the law.

A two-thirds majority of Congress is required to override a presidential veto.

“If you think you can overturn my veto, try it,’” Obama said in describing an exchange with Republicans. He said he was told by a staffer for House Speaker John Boehner that Republicans wanted a concession on the healthcare issue in the budget talks.

Obama said he firmly rejected the attempts to repeal parts of the healthcare law, his signature domestic accomplishment, in the budget bill.

“And I said to them, let me tell you something: ‘I spent a year and a half getting healthcare passed. I had to take that issue across the country and I paid significant political costs to get it done,” he said.

“The notion that I’m going to let you guys undo that in a six-month spending bill?’ I said, ‘You want to repeal healthcare? Go at it. We’ll have that debate. You’re not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we’re stupid?’”

His remarks in Chicago came after the White House press pool had been escorted from the room. Unbeknownst to Obama, the comments were accidentally piped back to the White House and recorded by CBS News and ABC News.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama was “not at all” embarrassed that the remarks were made public.

“OVERTURN MY VETO”

Obama predicted the same strategy from Republicans would reappear in negotiations over raising the U.S. debt limit.

“This is going to be the strategy going forward – trying to do things they can do legislatively under the guise of cutting spending,” he said.

Obama, who publicly praised Republicans after a budget deal was reached last Friday, also spoke harshly of their efforts to use the budget legislation to defund the Planned Parenthood family planning group because it also provided abortions.

Obama said he told Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell that they should not try to “sneak this through.”

“‘You guys want to have this debate? We’re happy to have that debate. We will have the debate on the floor of the Senate or the floor of the House. Put it in a separate bill. We’ll call it up. And if you think you can overturn my veto, try it,’” he said.

Asked for reaction, Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said: “The speaker believes his private conversations with the president should remain private. Obviously, if the president chooses to share a self-serving version with campaign donors, that is his prerogative.”

When asked for reaction, McConnell’s office said McConnell was not present at that meeting.

Obama also had tough words for Republican Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee. Ryan has offered a deficit-cutting plan that would sharply reduce government spending and has drawn Obama’s ire.

“This is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my healthcare bill – but wasn’t paid for. So it’s not on the level. And we’ve got to keep on you know, keep on shining a light on that,” he said.

 

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Mississippi’s 2011 Statewide Candidates

2011 is Mississippi’s Year of the Election. There are numerous campaigns going on throughout Mississippi including statewide races, legislative races, district-wide races such as Transportation and Public Service Commissioner, and county-level races.

This is just the beginning, but BPMS wanted to whet your appetite with just the 2011 statewide candidates.  There is only one African-American candidate running for statewide office–Mayor of Hattiesburg, Johnny DuPree who is running for Governor.

As election season continues, we will add more content on races all over the state so stay tuned to BPMS Election Watch: 2011!

Note: Not all candidates have campaign websites, but the list below will be updated as websites are posted.

Governor

Democrat Party

Republican Party

Independent

  • William Oatis (I)

Lieutenant Governor

Republican Party

Reform Party

  • Tracella Hill (Ref)

Attorney General

Democrat Party

Republican Party

  • Steve Simpson (R)

Secretary of State

Republican Party

Reform Party

  • John Pannell (Ref)

State Treasurer

Democrat Party

  • Connie Moran (D),

Republican Party

  • Lynn Fitch (R)
  • Lucien Smith (R)
  • Lee Yancy (R)

Auditor

Republican Party

Reform Party

  • Ashley Norwood (Ref)


Commissioner of Insurance

Democrat Party

  • Louis Fondren (D)

Republican Party

  • Mike Chaney (R)

Reform Party

  • Barbara Washer (Ref)

Commissioner of Agriculture/Commerce

Democrat Party

Republican Party

  • Cindy Hyde-Smith (R)

Reform Party

  • Cathy Toole (Ref)
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BPMS Book of the Week: April 15, 2011

Black Politics in Mississippi (BPMS) is extremely proud to announce “BPMS Book of the Week” Fridays. Each Friday, BPMS will highlight a book relevant to African-American history in Mississippi, Black politics in Mississippi, or elections in the state. Please feel free to suggest a book by emailing us at editor@BlackPoliticsMS.com.

The first BPMS Book of the Week is….

Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi

Author: John Dittmer, Ph.D.


 

Local People has earned numerous awards including:

  • Winner of the Bancroft Prize
  • Lillian Smith Book Award
  • Mississippi Historical Society McLemore Prize
  • Herbert G. Gutman Prize and the Gustavus Myers Center for Study of Human Rights Outstanding Book Prize
  • Publication of this book was supported by a grant from DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana

Local People is an absolute must-read by anyone interested in the evolution of the dynamics of political power in Mississippi.

You can view Local People here, but this is definitely a book you will want in your collection!

From the Publisher:

For decades the most racially repressive state in the nation fought bitterly and violently to maintain white supremacy. John Dittmer traces the monumental battle waged by civil rights organizations and by local people, particularly courageous members of the black communities who were willing to put their lives on the line to establish basic human rights for all citizens of the state.

Local People tells the whole grim story in depth for the first time, from the unsuccessful attempts of black World War II veterans to register to vote to the seating of a civil rights-oriented Mississippi delegation at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Particularly dramatic – and heartrending – is Dittmer’s account of the tumultuous decade of the sixties: the freedom rides of 1961, which resulted in the imprisonment at Parchman of dozens of participants; the violent reactions to protests in McComb and Jackson and to vote registration drives in Greenwood and other cities; the riot in Oxford when James Meredith enrolled at Ole Miss; the cowardly murder of longtime leader Medger Evers; and the brutal Klan lynchings of civil rights workers James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman during the Freedom Summer of 1964.

Read more here…

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Is Governor Haley Barbour Qualified to Serve as President?

During the 2008 Presidential Election, many people questioned then-Senator Obama’s experience and ability to lead the nation through the tough economic and global circumstances left to him by President Bush.

It is my opinion that President Obama has shown exceptional leadership during a challenging period for our country, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

One thing I am having a bit of trouble with is…well…how can someone who has led the state of Mississippi into a ditch—or at least has not fixed our problems—be qualified to serve as President of the United States of America?

Governor Barbour has taken several jabs at President Barack Obama ranging from the economy to health care, to the Obama Administration’s position on energy policies, and the list continues.

It is ironic that Governor Barbour is so eager to point-out President Obama’s “flaws” when Governor Barbour is the leader of a state that habitually lags last in the nation in many of the socioeconomic indicators that we would expect him to improve as President.

Category

MS Ranking Amongst States

Adults in Poverty Last
Children in Poverty Last
Drop-Out Rate 46th
Obesity Last
Teen Births Last
Per Capita Income Last

No one has to question rather Governor Barbour has the necessary experience and judgment to lead the nation. His current and past performance proves that he does not have the skill set required to advance our country (just look at what he did to our state).

If Republican Primary voters are smart, they will choose a candidate who actually has a track record of improving the disposition of their constituents.  Governor Barbour is not that candidate.

Posted in Haley Watch, Presidential Elections | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Welcome!

Black Politics in Mississippi is a political blog dedicated to delivering multiple viewpoints, but primarily an African-American perspective concerning news; elections; local, state, and federal politics; social commentary; and other tidbits that may arise from time-to-time in Mississippi for folks who happen to come by every now-and-then.

There is not a unified African-American perspective. This, I feel is extremely important to disclaim before we get too far down the road. What we hope to do here is to increase the level of consciousness concerning decisions made by policymakers as to how their actions—or inaction—affect over 37 percent of the state.

Race matters.

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