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Three Professors Set the Record Straight on Affirmative Action for College Admissions

By Profs Alan Aja, William Darity, Darrick Hamilton In the coming weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court may land the final blow to what’s left of race-based affirmative action in higher education. If the type of questioning raised during case hearings in October are an indicator, the Court may rule that the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions policies violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and that the plaintiff, 22-year old Abigail Fisher, was a victim of what affirmative action opponents long have framed as “reverse discrimination.” In practice, this means that public universities, but also private institutions that receive federal monies, may be required to eliminate any “race-based” admissions criteria. Even the smallest race-based factors considered permissible under the  Grutter vs. Bollinger  (2003) decision — which the court ruled were “narrowly-tailored” enough alongside other admissions criteria given a “compelling interest” for universities to represent the diverse demographic composition of the United States — may be void. Since its roots in the Philadelphia Plan, which demanded “goals and timetables” for minority hiring by government contractors, affirmative action policies have been met repeatedly with judicial scrutiny from district to federal levels. While often thought of as specific redistributive policy serving as reparations for slavery and Jim Crow, affirmative action actually is a varied set of positive anti-discrimination measures designed to desegregate elite institutions and preferred positions, including university admissions. A common myth perpetrated by opponents of affirmative action is the narrative that “unqualified minorities” take admissions slots from whites. This argument not only underscores white-entitlement to positions at elite institutions, but also assumes that whites generally are qualified for admission, and by default, blacks and Latinos generally are not. This ignores the historical advantage and protected access whites continue to hold via admissions preferences for legacies and children of donors, among other channels — hidden affirmative action for the privileged group. It also ignores the well-documented evidence from experimental psychology, developed by Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson involving the phenomena of stereotype threat, boost and lift. READ MORE

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Doctor Describes a “Reign of Terror and Racism” at University of Kentucky Medical School

By Lachin Hatemi M.D Lexington Kentucky is an interesting city; my adopted hometown; an ever growing college town, full of potential. Surrounded by beautiful and legendary horse farms, it is also home to the 2012 NCAA Basketball champions: the Wildcats of the University of Kentucky. A team of mostly black college athletes carried the championship cup back to Lexington, an achievement recognized by the entire country and President Obama. Given that the University’s sports teams were not integrated until the late 60’s, it is worthy of note that of the University’s 8 NCAA basketball championship teams, the 2012 team was the first to have an all African American starting lineup. In the sports arena, UK has seemingly come a long way when in comes to including African Americans and minorities, and remains a popular destination for black high school athletes. Unfortunately, the same degree of inclusion does not exist on the academic side of the University. The numbers of undergraduate and graduate students, professional students, and tenured professors do not come close to matching the diversity of the overall US or state population. Despite being home to many notable Black Americans and being the location of a great deal of Black American history, Lexington, Kentucky has never been seen as having a reputation of being a hospitable place for minorities. Much of this reputation is rooted in the city’s ties to slavery. The area known as Cheapside in downtown Lexington was once home to the most well known slave auction facility in the south. It was here that African slaves were beaten, sold, and lead off in chains, forever to be separated from parents, siblings, children, brothers and sisters for the sake of the greed and profit of the white aristocracy. It is a horrible legacy, and in many ways its spirit still exists in the area, though in far less apparent ways. Henry Clay is looked upon with pride in the region as being a great statesman. A high school is named after him, and his home in Lexington is a tourist attraction. Clay’s role in the US congress as being a supposedly great “peacemaker“ in advocating compromise between the north and south’s debate over slavery is widely trumpeted as being a great achievement. He is considered a hero for helping to stave off the civil war for 15 years – but a hero from whose perspective? For the black slave, Clay’s supposed noble efforts to delay the inevitable war that had to be fought for theri freedom meant 15 more years of bondage, hard labor, brutality, rape of women and children, and murder. The spirit of racism was definitely publicly and historically evident on Lexington’s UK campus for many years. State law forbade African Americans from attending UK until 1947, when Lyman T. Johnson won a lawsuit against UK and was admitted to the school. It would be 20 years later before UK recruited a black athlete. More on that later. Further evidence of racism at UK his hidden in the names of its buildings. The Chandler Medical Center, the anchor of the medical campus, is named after Governor Happy Chandler. As commissioner of baseball, Chandler approved the inclusion of Jackie Robinson as the first black to play in the major leagues. But Chandler’s pioneering effort of racial inclusion as commissioner was largely offset at UK by his behavior in later years as a board of trustee member, when he consistently used the word “n****r” openly during board meetings and was never admonished or punished for his behavior. On the contrary, he is seen by many as an admired part of Kentucky history, and his use of the “N” word was considered by board members and others as harmless and quaint, and even acceptable, as it was deemed to be the acceptable way of speaking during Chandler’s day. The legacy of racism relating to UK athletics goes back many years as well. A residential apartment complex on campus is named after UK football player Greg Page. Coming from the small mining town of Middleborough, KY, Greg was a true star; he broke the racial barriers by being the first black football recruit in UK’s history. Unfortunately, Greg Page never got the chance to play in a game. Kentucky was not ready to permit the integration of its sports program, not even by a native born son, simply because of the color of his skin. Instead of celebrating the arrival of a talented player, Page was in fact targeted for racial discrimination and violence by his teammates. Such was the level of their racial hatred that Page would pay with his life for daring to be a trailblazer. In a football practice session, before playing a single game for UK, his white teammates targeted him mercilessly. They hit him, tackled him, and piled on him with no remorse. In a story that was routinely told and retold by adult and youth alike in Lexington in the years following the incident, Page was deliberatly and vicously subjected to one hit after another, his teammates unleashing all of their hatred on him until his body suffered lethal injuries and simply gave out. Greg Page’s neck injuries during that practice session left him paralyzed and comatose. This all took place in 1967. Page and Nat Northington were the only two blacks on the University of Kentucky football team, the only blacks in all of the Southeastern Conference. Whereas Northington broke the color barrier wearing the Wildcats uniform, Greg Page died 38 days after that practice session beating. Nat Northington, not wishing to suffer the same fate as his teammate, packed his belongings and left UK forever. Though the entire incident amounted to a veritable lynching, no charges were ever filed and the incident was never investigated. It was instead “white washed” as have been so incidents of racism and hate over the years at UK. . That day, Greg Page was not alone in that football field. Everybody who witnessed the event knew what his teammates were doing to Greg. Coaches, spectators, other players, they all chose to do nothing to stop it. Everybody who was in that football field that day was guilty, they are all killers of Greg. They were all driven by a spirit of arrogance and racism, and they trusted on and were rewarded by a system that covered it up and refused to investigate. Today, much has changed at the University Kentucky’s campus, but many things remain the same. It has been 45 years since Greg Page’s death, and despite a mission statement that claims that as Kentucky’s “flagship institution” the University “plays a critical leadership role by promoting diversity and inclusion,” racism and segregation is still alive and widespread on campus. Racism, however, has changed its form, becoming more subtle, more hideous, and more systematic. But then again, for a look at some far more visible signs of prejudice and racism, a quick visit to the campus will suffice in making racism and the lack of ethnic diversity clearly visible to the naked eye. At the student center, African Americans are employed widespread in food services. There, and in other campus buildings such as the Patterson Office Tower and the Whitehall Classroom Building, the custodial staff is also predominantly black. But check out any of the offices on the 18 floors of Patterson and you will be hard pressed to see a single black person at an information desk, at a secretary’s desk. or in any of the faculties’ offices. At the appropriately named Whitehall Classroom Building, a look into the classrooms reveals that black instructors are virtually non-existent. Are we to believe that blacks only make good food servers and custodians, and athletes, but not good secretaries or receptionists or teachers? Why are there so few blacks in the more prestigious, better paying UK jobs? When it comes to the leadership of our predominantly black, money making championship basketball team, UK is definitely committed to paying that team’s leader millions of dollars. But for the average black student at UK, one of their mentor’s and leaders was deemed worth far less than our beloved Coach Cal. In the month following the basketball team’s NCAA win, UK’s black students and alumni witnessed the termination of Chester Grundy, a man who had dedicated 30 years to working on behalf of UK’s minority students as an advocate and mentor. As the founder of UK’s Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center, and having brought the popular Spotlight Jazz Series and Roots and Heritage Festival to UK and Lexington, Grundy was a strong figure to the African American community on campus and in the region. UK chose to cite budget cuts in justifying the end of Grundy’s position. Grundy’s termination shows African American students and local residents that UK really doesn’t care about them — unless they are bringing in millions in revenue by excelling on the basketball court or the football field. Actions like these by UK which clearly ignore and work against diversity and inclusion are visible to anyone who looks closely, but they still go largely unquestioned and ignored. The status quo, the white aristocracy, stays in control. Think then how much more racist and discriminatory action is taking place where it is even less visible. This brings us to another major area of concern that remains hidden from the public — it is the poor enrollment and retention of black students at University of Kentucky Medical School. A significant number of black medical students have either been dismissed or held back a year or two in their education over that last decade. The exodus of black students is so great, it cannot be explained simply by individual student’s failures. The reign of terror and racism at University of Kentucky Medical School corresponds to the tenure of Dr. Darrell Chester Jennings, who was the dean of Medical Education at University of Kentucky for most of the last decade. During the same period, Dr. Jay Perman was the dean of medical school. Under their leadership, countless black medical students had to end their dreams to become physicians. Dr. Jennings was never reluctant to use his power and authority to misrepresent student records and punish a student by denying access to his grades. Currently, Dr. Jennings is the chairman of Pathology department and Dr. Jay Perman is the president of the University of Maryland. Their actions were never investigated, at least not until now. It would not surprise me if UK names a building after Dr. Jennings or Dr. Jay Perman — and unless their actions are thoroughly investigated and exposed, they probably will. But their efforts to keep minorities from succeeding at the College of Medicine, and the underlying racism that persists in the med school and throughout UK must be exposed. The NAACP is now requesting the demographics and retention rates of black medical students between 2004-2010, as well as overall records to compare to those with students who are allowed to stay in the program. Until the enrollment data becomes fully available to the general public, we will continue to fail to recognize the depth of systematic discrimination at UK. UK‘s refusal to release the records to the NAACP following the organization’s initial request shows that UK has much to hide. But the time has come for the “white washing“ by the aristocracy at UK and in this region to end. The demographics of this past presidential election shows that America is changing, becoming increasingly a nation of increased ethnic and cultural diversity. The oppressive regimes of discrimination, and the spirits of racism and arrogance behind them, must be exposed and brought down. UK must decide where its future lies. Does the university want to remain a part of the old “white” America, the old south, where sometimes overt racism and discrimination still go largely unquestioned, where blacks and minorities are tolerated or promoted as long as they conform to the desires and cultural rules of the white aristocracy? Or do they want to join the new millennium, where inclusion of race, ethnicity and culture is embraced? In other words, do they want to truly live up to their own mission statement, and as Kentucky’s “flagship institution” play “a critical leadership role by promoting diversity and inclusion”? Time will tell…

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Ryan Mack – COMMON “CENTS”: Financial Tips for Couples

by Ryan Mack With all the media chatter about “Kim-YE” I thought it appropriate to discuss our own personal relationships. Yes…we all know that Kim and Kanye West are both multimillionaires, but do you know the financial picture of the person you are dating? Money should never be a divider in relationships yet the majority of all divorces are due to disagreements over financial matters. Why is this? It is my contention it is not the financial irresponsibility itself, because many of us including myself have made financial mistakes. However, it is the SURPRISE of that additional bank account loaded with money that was kept secret, that unknown poor credit score, or that irresponsible shopping addiction that causes financial turmoil and arguments in a relationship. How do we solve this? First, let me demonstrate a critical point by telling you this story: There was a little boy who saw an elderly man sitting on a bench with a dog. The little boy walked up to the man and said, “Hey old man…does your dog bite?” The old man said, “No…my dog don’t bite.” “Are you sure?” said the little boy. “Yep…I’m sure,” said the old man. So the little boy went up to the dog and tried to pet the dog. Immediately the dog growled, jumped up, and bit the little boy on the hand. “OUUUCH!!!!! Hey old man…I thought you said your dog don’t bite!” said the little boy. The old man said, “This ain’t my dog.” The moral to this story that we must apply to our financial lives ……..…we must ask the right questions! So again, how do we solve these financial surprises? We must communicate and ask the right questions of our loved ones. Here are a few possible questions you might ask your mate to get that crucial conversation started. Be mindful of the answers as the wrong answers could be a crucial determinant of whether or not you should take that marriage plunge 1. Do you know your FICO score? a. If the answer is “NO” the next question is, “Why not?” i. After you hear the reason, the next action to propose is to find out so you can both prepare your credit statements as you move towards working together to achieve common goals. Even if your credit score is 800, you should propose this joint exercise because you don’t want him/her to feel as if they are doing it alone. 2. If we were to get married would you want a joint account, separate accounts, or maintain both? a. There is really no right or wrong answer to this question but both of you should know what you are getting into before you get married. 3. What is the next major financial purchase you plan to make in the next five years and how do you plan on saving for it? a. If they state a new fancy car and they are currently unemployed living with their parents this could be a red flag! b. Again, there is really no right or wrong answer. However, the answer will give you additional insights into your mate’s financial goals and how realistically they approach life. 4. How do you feel about casinos and gambling? When you shop, do you know how much of your budget you can spend before you shop? a. If they gamble every weekend I would suggest taking the exit stage left! b. Excessive, impulsive shopping can also be a red flag. 5. How many children are you planning to have and when would be an ideal time for you to start a family? a. This is a very critical financial decision…ask any parent. The financial responsibility of children will change any household and if one is wise they would heed the words of Michael Jackson who said, “If you can’t feed your baby…yeah yeah…then don’t have a baby!” To reiterate, don’t be alarmed if you see signs of fiscal irresponsibility. Only be alarmed if one is not willing to work on those bad financial habits for the sake of the relationship. I have always said there is nothing wrong with being ignorant; there is only something wrong with choosing to remain ignorant. The choice to remain ignorant is the definition of stupidity and the only way to find out if you are going to marry a stupid person is to ask the right questions…this is common cents!

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Spoiling Your Child Can Cause Behavioral Problems

Photography by nhophotos.com Have you ever used the words “spoiled brat” to describe a kid? When someone uses those words to describe a child, it is usually used in a negative context to describe a behavior that is a direct reflection of a person being acclimated to getting whatever they want, when they want it. If you ask a group of 10 adults if they like “spoiled brats,” at least eight of them will say no. So, why do you decide to raise your children to be the very thing you despise? Did you know that your child can learn some valuable character-building skills by experiencing limitations and frustration? Dr. Mark Bertin, a developmental behavioral pediatrician in Pleasantville, N.Y., affiliated with New York Medical College, sees a wide range of children with behavioral problems, which are a product of neurological makeup, temperament, and family style. Dr. Bertin references this study  that suggests that children benefit from strategies that build self-esteem and emotional resilience. “ We’re talking about kids who aren’t brought up with limits ,” Dr. Bertin to New York Times . “ We all want our kids to be happy moment to moment, but there are some skills you learn from growing up with limits and the opportunity to experience frustration .” By setting limits, we’re teaching them what our values are and the way we think they can lead a happier, productive life ,” Dr. Pamela High, a professor of pediatrics at Brown University and medical director of the Fussy Baby Clinic at the Brown Center for the Study of Children, told New York Times . The next time your kid asks you if they can eat a sugary snack at 8PM, play a video game at 9PM, and sleep in the bed with you at 10PM, don’t feel guilty for telling them no.    

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Dr. Julianne Malveaux: ” F” Bombs for Harry Reid and for New York

by Dr. Julianne Malveaux Congressman John Boehner was reelected speaker of the House of Representatives with a narrow vote.  Needing 218 votes, he narrowly clinched it with 220.  His narrow vote reflects the fact that no Democrat would vote for him and many Republicans are disillusioned of him.  Perhaps it also reflects the fact that he has so poorly comported himself that he does not deserve reelection. Most folks who curse do it behind closed doors.  In deference to their position, they attempt to parse their public statements to reflect the dignity of the office they hold.  Not Mr. Boehner, who dropped the “f” bomb at Senator Harry Reid not once, but twice, in the middle of fiscal cliff negotiations.  To his credit Senator Reid did not respond, but behaved as if he perhaps did not hear the out-of-control Boehner.  The Speaker of the House of Representatives comported himself as intemperate, ignorant and out of control. The fact that Boehner appeared out of control is no surprise to those who have observed him over these past two years.  He leads with bombast and bluster then backs down into defensiveness and profanity.  Last December he refused to compromise with President Obama on fiscal matters surrounded by a defiant set of Republicans who agreed with him.  When he backed down, he was surrounded by not a soul, virtually abandoned by his party. Déjà vu.  He did it again.  After pontificating, and offering a nonsensical Plan B for a House vote, his party rebuked him and he had tuck tail and sit down at the negotiating table.  No wonder he managed so much ire that he cursed out the Senate Majority leader. You can cuss in public and you can cuss in private.  The fact that Boehner chose to kick New York to the curb as a big an “F” bomb as the one he offered Senator Reid.  After being promised that relief for Hurricane Sandy was forthcoming, Boehner broke his promise and pushed the vote back to the 113th Congress.  After Democrats and Republicans, governors and Congressional representatives excoriated him on the House floor, did he agree to vote on $9 billion on January 5, with another $53 billion up for vote on January 15.  Meanwhile, many New Yorkers are still living in the backs of their cars, lacking electricity and other basic needs, eating in soup kitchens, bathing in shelters, no better off than they were when the hurricane hit.  Have we not learned lessons from Hurricane Katrina?  Can we not get the necessary relief to people just a bit sooner?  Must New Yorkers be treated as pawns in this partisan nonsense?  Should Boehner have the right to metaphorically fling the “f” bomb at them? New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) have expressed their righteous rage at Congressional chicanery.  This has not moved a Congress that bootstrapped fiscal cliff legislation with goodies for Puerto Rican rum producers, some Hollywood moguls, and other assorted pork.  The day of the earmark has supposedly expired, but those with special interests spent more time promoting them than they did not repairing the damage from Hurricane Sandy. Congressman Peter King (R-NY) calmed down after a private meeting with Boehner.  He had it absolutely right before he calmed down though.  Then he raised questions about the way Congressional representative run to New York for fundraisers and support, but have not rushed to support New York and New Jersey in this crisis.  While monies may yet be forthcoming, it should have hit New York, Connecticut and New Jersey at least a month ago.  And while $9 billion is seemingly assured, with a new Congress, the affected areas may be lacking much longer.             I’d bet that if one of Mr. Boehner’s Ohio’s eight district constituents complained about sleeping in a car, he might care more.  I am sure he wouldn’t bristle and use profanity (or behave profanely) with those who presumably vote for him.  But Boehner has abdicated all claims to decency in the past year or so.  He has led a nonproductive and incompetent Congress, and tainted fiscal cliff negotiations with earmarks and set-asides.  Why not an earmark for hurricane victims?  Why not pure decency for his peer, Senator Harry Reid?  Why not pretend to have good sense, even if you don’t?  Can Mr. Boehner stoop any lower?  Let’s see what other stunts he pulls as House Majority Leader of the 113th Congress.

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Reel Righteous Thought by Tiara K. Williams: Do We Know Our Black History?

by Tiara K. Williams, Founder – Reel Righteous Entertainment One of my new year’s resolutions was to learn more about our black experience. I’ve challenged myself to take one day, of each week to research facts from our black history. I’m determined to examine the plights, accomplishments and lingering inquisitions of our ancestry. I often find myself wondering if my 10th-great grandmother had dreams and hopes for me while she lived as a slave? How did her life affect my life directly? There is profound instruction intertwined in our history books and as I constantly search for substance in life, I’m indifferent about seeking advice from a singer who used to sell drugs, or idolizing some “reality-star” who promotes promiscuity on television for ratings. Our black narratives tell a much deeper story. I’m inspired by the passion, audaciousness and dedication. Our history speaks of relentless, uncompromising people that fought, believed and rebelled, overcoming tremendous difficulty despite their circumstances. Those are the mentors worth idolizing. My research included documentaries of African American inventors, philosophers, writers and entrepreneurs. I learned of civil rights movements, the creation of gas masks, bleach, soap, and traffic signals. I was surprised to learn that it was a black man who patented the original remnants of the digital computer. Our contributions to this world have been unprecedented. Amazing. Remarkable. Phenomenal. Unparallel. Unfortunately, this information is not readily taught in our communities or anywhere else, unless you attend a program that specializes in African American literature. But, before we can tie our shoes we’re schooled of the voyages of Christopher Columbus, and quizzed on the accomplishments of George Washington. These are the “important” historical facts in our society. I’ve started to evaluate how the ignorance of black history must be affecting the youth in our communities. I suspect that young black boys and girls conclude that they are not part of a greater legacy nor are they meant to do anything monumental. This rings true especially if they do not have positive role models in their immediate family. But, what if young black men in Chicago linked themselves to their prolific descendants? Would they kill each other in the streets? I wonder if black women saw themselves as nieces of Harriet Tubman would they still post half-naked pictures of themselves on social sites for likes and comments? I’m not criticizing anyone for his or her personal choices. I just wonder if we knew better, would we do better? If we REALLY knew our history would our thoughts, ideas, or goals be more innovatory? I say, yes! But, I’ll keep you posted. I’m currently recreating the wheel. Tiara Williams

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Next Level Living: Secret Success Tips From Santa

If you’re anything like me, the passing of the holiday season sometimes is a blur. When you think about it, we spend a great deal of the year preparing for one day that seems to come and go very quickly. Now comes the task of ripping down decorations without damaging the walls and sweeping the

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Be Your Best Self

It’s a New Year, y’all.  Woo Hoo!  Before you say, “No big deal.  It’s just another day,” let me tell you something.  It is a New Year so we have to change how we tell our story. “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language  And next year’s words await another voice.”  ― T.S.

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Empowered Living: Who’s Got Your Back?

As we’ve crossed into another year I begin to realize more and more that our current season can be no different than the way we choose to behave. I have seen people change cities, spouses, hair styles and even churches only to find themselves in the same nonsense as before. Why? Because they did not

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Stephen McCrary: What You Need to Re-think To Be Successful in 2013

By Rev. Stephen M. McCrary As we dive into the year of 2013, many of us are anticipating great, potent, and prosperous things ahead. Many of us write out New Year resolutions, goals, ambitions and dreams. We want that model body, more money, better relationships, or just becoming more effective at what we do. I have a key that could possibly unlock some doors, in our lives, that have been shut. No matter what day, time, or year it is, if we use this key, life will begin to afford us every dream to realization. If we ever want to change our YEAR we must begin to change what is coming into our EAR. Look at the word Y-EAR, what do you see? Could there be a correlation between what we HEAR and the way we live and the decisions we make? Ultimately, the decisions we make will affect our YEAR, and the decisions we make will come from what we H-EAR. We cannot listen to negativity day in and day out without developing a defeatist mindset. It is this mindset that will never allow us to rise above the circumstances we find ourselves in. We should take our pen of independence, dip it in the ink of positivity and sign our EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION for 2013. I have never seen a society that lives in the abyss of ” REALITY EVERYTHING “, but never ” REALIZE ANYTHING ” we must do, to live better. We worship people for the accomplishments they have procured but rarely look inward to mine the treasure within us. If we want the sweet symphony of success to play on the violin of our 2013, we must begin to H-EAR positive, uplifting words of purpose, destiny, potential and POWER! When this happens, no matter what year it is, LIFE WILL BE SWEETER, the grass will seem greener, and the heavens will open up for you. Rev. Stephen M. McCrary is a minister from The Abundance of Grace Ministries

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