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Archive for the ‘David Evans’ Category

Assailant in Malcolm X's Death Released

Thomas HagenAs you might have heard, Thomas Hagan, one of the gunmen in the assassination of Malcolm X was released from prison recently after serving forty-five years. This link is to an article that includes an autopsy report (with an eerie photograph of Malcolm’s corpse) and grand jury testimony from his widow, the late Betty Shabazz:

The photograph clearly shows three (possibly four) wounds within inches of Malcolm’s heart and raises some questions: How could Hagan, discharging a .45 caliber handgun, and someone else firing a sawed-off shotgun filled with buckshots at a man behind a podium, have been so accurate? Were they trained marksmen? Could there have been other shooters?

We are also reminded by the photograph of how young and able-bodied Malcolm was at thirty-nine when his life was so suddenly taken away.

Malcolm X Autopsy photo

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Median Age of U.S. is 36.7

The median age of the American people is approximately 36.7 years and that of African Americans is a little more than 30 years while that of Latino/Hispanic Americans is about 29.5 years.  Whether these demographics are perceived as high or low, depends on the countries with which we are comparing ourselves (see link).

Canada, Japan and several countries in Europe have median ages greater than 40 years.  Few countries in Africa, Asia, Central, South America and the Middle East come anywhere near a median age of 40 years.

I am in no position to make global prognostications, but I will suggest that we consider the not-too-distant future when today’s school children (and their children) will lower the U. S. median age even further with the median ages of African Americans and Latino/Hispanic Americans moving toward 27 or 28 years.

ALL OF US, but especially those responsible for our public schools, should try to contemplate the future when students in our public schools will be part of an even younger majority.  They represent our future work force and community leadership.  We ignore them and their schools at our own peril.

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Family Assets in U. S. ( Whites: $100K; Blacks:$5K )

This link is to an article in the May 17, 2010 issue of The Guardian in which are reported some startling results from a Brandeis University study on the disparities between white family assets and African American family assets.  The following quotation captures the essence of the findings:
“White families typically have assets worth $100,000 (£69,000), up from $22,000 in the mid-1980s. African-American families’ assets stand at just $5,000, up from around $2,000.”
Given the troubling conditions of too many schools attended by African American students and the intense and glittery consumerism beamed to them by television and other media, I’m compelled to ask:  What does all of this portend for the future?  How can students from families with such limited economic resources and prepared in schools that are too often substandard and chaotic, replenish the workforce?  How will they acquire their expensive, media-defined “toys” when they will have neither the money to buy them nor the skills to earn them?
Given current demographic trends in the United States, we should all contemplate how these economic and educational disparities will affect the long-term maintenance of Social Security, pension funds, tax bases, etc.

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Brown vs. Bored

When Attorney General Martha Coakley won the Massachusetts Democratic primary election for the seat held by the late Senator Ted Kennedy on December 8, 2009 by nineteen percentage points over Mike Capuano, her nearest rival, she and her supporters assumed the general election would be a cakewalk.  This is understandable because the combined tallies of Scott Brown and Jack Robinson, the only two Republicans running for the seat, didn’t equal the votes amassed by Mike Capuano.
After Scott Brown won the Republican primary, Martha Coakley and her strategists assumed that, in heavily Democratic Massachusetts where Ted Kennedy had held his seat for almost half a century, the general election was in the bag.  In fact, she became so low-key some thought she was bored with the campaign and cynically described the race as Brown vs. Bored.
An example of how little effort went into the Coakley campaign is found in the following statistics:  In the general election Scott Brown’s campaign went out and found 7.18 times more supporters than the 162,706 who voted for Republican candidates in primary while Martha Coakley’s campaign could only acquire 1.59 times as many as the 664,795 who voted for the four Democrats in the primary.
Given those statistics, is this a national trend or was it a case of Brown vs. Bored in Massachusetts–until it was too late?

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"Light skinned" and "no dialect"

When we thought we had buried such offensive terms as mulatto, quadroon and octoroon and the skin-hue bigotry that spawned them, here comes the senior senator from Nevada.  In holding “light skin” and the absence of a “Negro dialect” as necessary qualifications for Senator Barack Obama to run successfully for president in 2008, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada offered up a rank insult to his colleague from Illinois.  Senator Reid has rightly apologized to President Obama, but doesn’t seem to have contemplated how hurtful his words might be to those millions of African Americans who are not “light-skinned.”  One wonders if he had seen the First Lady and her mother at the time of his remarks.

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The Achievement Gap Before Kindergarten

If this report from the U. S. Department of Education about the existence of a significant achievement gap between black and white children before kindergarten is even 50% accurate, it should disturb us all.  I learned of the report from the November 19, 2009 online publication Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (see enclosure) and the gaps are in such fundamental skills as letter recognition, reading, vocabulary, elementary phonics, recognition of shapes, counting, and other basic math.

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From Oslo, Norway

Through the kindness of friends in Scandinavia and intervention from on high, I received a personal invitation to the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in the Oslo, Norway City Hall on December 10th and to the Nobel Peace Prize Concert on December 11th in the Oslo Spektrum.  In fact, I write you from Oslo where the Norwegian Nobel Committee will confer this most prestigious award upon President Barack Obama tomorrow.

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President Barack Obama, 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Part II

If, in nine short months, President Obama can be blamed for most of our country’s ills, he must possess magical powers.  How otherwise could he be responsible for the unclear conduct and direction of two ill-conceived wars; be culpable for the downturn and slow recovery of the economy; be perceived as a serious threat to socialize health care; and somehow broadcast subliminal propaganda to school children under the guise of fatherly advice?

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Optimists See the Donut, Pessimists See the Hole

If most whites were racists Barack Obama would never have been elected President of the United States.  That isn’t to say that the 2008 presidential election cleansed our country of racism. IT DIDN’T.  In our class-divided society it might even have fueled delusion among some of the most enlightened and tolerant Americans who supported candidate Obama.

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Guard the Change

Again, this year I was asked by the Black Students Association to offer remarks at its
annual President’s Welcome Reception at which President Drew Faust offered a special greeting this past Monday.  The following are my reflections on what I said:

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Camera As Judge and Jury

In responding to the summary dismissal of LeGarrette Blount from the University of Oregon football team for punching a Boise State player, an acquaintance marvelled at the disproportionate influence the camera had over the judgment of officials on the field.  In identifying “the camera” as the prevailing arbiter of right and wrong in that incident, it inspired me to look closer at the technology that spawned its seeming omnipresence in our lives.

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