Insight News

Wednesday
Oct 22nd

Commentary

Avoid blood diamonds


Diamonds are a girl’s – or rapper or baller's - best friend; this we know. But, these precious stones are also at the core of some of the greatest atrocities known to man.  “Blood diamonds” or conflict diamonds, as they are called, are diamonds mined in war zones and then used to fund violent militias; they’re most common in Africa, where about two thirds of the world’s diamonds are produced.  As governments and organizations around the world have become more of ‘blood diamonds’ and the roles they play in war, actions have been taken to limit their appearance in the market place. We too can, and should, do our part to make sure any bling we might buy is conflict free.
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Letter to the editor: English only laws

I am saddened to hear of cities such as Lino Lakes enacting “English only” laws and I sincerely hope that other cities in Minnesota will not follow.

As citizens of the 21st Century and of the great state of Minnesota, it is in our best interest that non-English speaking residents, citizens and visitors in our communities are able to interact with the local government. Local governments should foster that interaction.

I call on my mayor R.T. Rybak to prevent similar legislation from ever happening in Minneapolis, Gov. Tim Pawlenty to prevent this from happening on a state level and our senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken to prevent similar laws from being enacted on a federal level.

I am a proud Minnesotan and I hope that we can all come together to make sure that Minnesota supports all of the populations who help make our state a great place.

Erika J. Doerr, Minneapolis

Let's Reclaim the Dream on August 28th

(NNPA) - Forty-seven years ago, our nation was in the midst of uncertainty, trepidation, fear, frustration, anger and unrest.  Forty-seven years ago, we were simultaneously hopeful, dedicated, ambitious, determined and resilient.

Forty-seven years ago, people of all races gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to urge their federal government to live up to the standards and ethos embodied in our Constitution.  Forty-seven years ago, we demanded equal access to education, voting rights, desegregation across the board, just employment opportunities and equanimity in society.

And forty-seven years ago, men and women from all walks of life, and from all ethnic persuasions rallied and marched for a larger federal government to intervene because states were failing to ensure our basic human civil rights.  It was on August 28th, 1963, that the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. unequivocally summarized the sentiments of the over 250,000 attendees and millions across the country at home when he delivered his ‘I Have a Dream Speech’.  Now forty-seven years later, it is time to Reclaim that Dream.
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Five years after the levees broke

(NNPA) - On August 29, we will commemorate five years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans drowning the city in feet of water.  Five years ago our nation exhibited some of the most profound indifference to human beings as thousands of New Orleaneans were stuck without food, water, or sanitation in the Super Dome.

In the aftermath of those five years, those divisions of race and class have determined which individuals have recovered from Katrina and those whohave not.  Five years after the levees broke, the City of New Orleans is still bruised from the tragedy of a natural disaster, a man-made disaster, and an indifferent government.
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Kia Soul goes too far

Kia Soul goes too farFirst you see the hoodies, a few gold chains, then you hear the sounds of hip hop grooves and beats. Then you see the faces of giant hamsters speaking in hip hop’s rhythmic vernacular about “This or That.” There is no question that the voices behind the animals are intended to represent African American brothers kicking it in the hood. While Kia’s website (http://www.kia.com/#/soul/explore/videos/?cid=sem&ppc=y) says that the animals are hamsters, if you don’t know the difference, they look like Rats. Dressed in styles and doing movements associated with America’s Black urban youth, Kia Soul represents a new low in television advertising.

That Kia selected the word “soul” to represent their product is not accidental. The term is all too frequently used as a proxy for talking about Blackness-- as in ‘soul brothers,’ ‘you got soul,’ etc. And the images of giant hamsters “kickin’ it” in front of buildings that look an all-American urban core neighborhood is not accidental. These animals are not the hamsters in your science class but anthropomorphized (animals or non-living things made to appear human) symbols of Blackness and more specifically urban black males. There’s nothing cute about the association.
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Listening to Shirley Sherrod

By now much of the nation has followed the story of former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) official Shirley Sherrod, who was forced to resign from her post earlier this month after dishonestly being accused of racism in a March speech, only to be vindicated as soon as someone took the time to get a copy of what she actually said and allow the truth to come to light. But for those people who know Shirley and her husband, civil rights leader Charles Sherrod, the fact that the smears on her character were outrageous and false was never in doubt. It also was not a surprise to learn that the real message of Shirley Sherrod’s speech was actually something quite different and critically important: not just her own ability to overcome racially motivated attitudes, but her insistence on our need to work together to address the real division in our country—the one between the haves and have-nots in our wealthy nation that has devastating effects on poor people of every color.
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If it sounds like racism and acts like racism, then it probably is racism

(NNPA) - This is America, but you wouldn't think so in light of recent events wherein two high-profile, long serving African American congress people have come under attack. They are being dragged through the mud in a rush to judgment regarding alleged ethics violations. US Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) and US Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) are the accused.
Rangel has been found guilty by a House ethics subcommittee of violating ethics rules and will face trial within the next couple of months. He has been under investigation since 2008 due to allegedly using his House position for financial benefit.  Waters is also under the microscope of the House ethics subcommittee for allegedly using her congressional authority in a meeting with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on behalf of  OneUnited bank, in which her husband owns $250,000 in stock.
It is important that our elected officials, those to whom we give our public trust, be ethically sound, but in this current spate of accusations, there is something fishy in the proverbial Denmark! As of 2010, there are presently 42 African American members in the 111th U.S. Congress - 41 in the House of Representatives (39 representatives and 2 non-voting delegates) and one in the Senate. The fact is that African Americans represent only 10 percent of Congress, and 19 percent (8) are under investigation! This raises the question as to whether or not Black lawmakers face more scrutiny over allegations of wrongdoing than their White counterparts. We conclude that if it sounds like racism and acts like racism, then it probably is racism! In America, we need to presume innocence until proven guilty, and we need not be led to judgment.
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