Missouri Enlists Former Protester to Lead University System
By alan scher zagier, associated press
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Nov 13, 2015, 1:31 AM ET
Healing a campus riven by student protests over race relations and recent online terror threats isn’t just a mandate for interim University of Missouri system president Mike Middleton. It’s also deeply embedded in his history.
The former law professor, whose appointment was announced Thursday, spent 18 years as deputy chancellor on the same Columbia campus from which he graduated in 1971 and later received a law degree. The 68-year-old stepped down in August but continued to work part-time with now-ousted Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin on a plan to increase inclusion and diversity at the school.
As an undergraduate, Middleton was a founder of the Legion of Black Collegians, an activist student group that participated in the protests that led to this week’s back-to-back resignations of former system President Tim Wolfe and Loftin. Protest leaders from the group Concerned Student 1950 — named for the year Missouri admitted its first back student — included some of the unmet demands Middleton helped create as a civil rights and anti-war protester.
Middleton said he keeps a list of those original demands on his desk.
His bona fides contributed to a warm welcome and vigorous applause from university administrators and leaders of two black student groups who attended Middleton’s news conference.
A woman passes a tent encampment set up by student protesters following an announcement that… Read more
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — This week’s events at the University of Missouri seemed to unfold rapidly, with little warning. But some students, faculty and alumni say the protests and sudden resignation of the president and chancellor are the culmination of years of racial tension on the state’s flagship campus.
The history of racially charged incidents dates back generations.
When the university denied admission to black law school applicant Lloyd Gaines, the issue led to an influential 1938 Supreme Court decision that helped pave the way for the civil rights movement.
Three decades later, during the unrest of the late 1960s, the Legion of Black Collegians emerged at Mizzou to press for increased minority representation among students, staff and faculty — a goal student protesters say remains unmet.
And the 2011 suicide of black swimmer Sasha Menu Courey after she was allegedly raped by several football players led some to question the campus commitment to investigating sexual assaults.
“Who built this university?” asked student government President Payton Head. “Who was building buildings in 1839” when the school was founded?
“Slavery wasn’t abolished until 1865,” Head said. “But we don’t talk about that history here at the University of Missouri.”
Head’s social media accounts of having racial slurs shouted at him from a passing pickup truck helped spark a renewed protest movement at Missouri that culminated Monday with the resignation of university system President Tim Wolfe. Hours later, the top administrator of the Columbia campus, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, was forced out.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Complaints about the handling of racial and other concerns led to this week’s resignation of University of Missouri system President Tim Wolfe and the top administrator of the Columbia campus, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. A timeline of key events:
AUG. 14: The university announces the elimination of subsidies that help pay health insurance costs for graduate students employed by the school.
AUG. 26: Graduate students stage a walkout and rally, in part to oppose the health care cut.
SEPT. 12: Missouri Student Association President Payton Head posts on Facebook that young people in a pickup truck yelled racial slurs at him. It’s the first of many racial incidents on the Columbia campus this fall. Sit-ins, walkouts and other protests follow, fueled by concern that administrators are not addressing the tension.
SEPT. 16: The university and Planned Parenthood announce the end of their 26-year relationship after state lawmakers start investigating abortions performed at the university clinics.
SEPT. 24: A “Racism Lives Here” rally takes place on campus.
SEPT. 29: An estimated 1,000 protesters turn out for a rally in support of Planned Parenthood.
OCT. 5: A drunk man yells racial slurs at members of the Legion of Black Collegians. Loftin, on Twitter and in a video message, expresses anger at the slurs.
OCT. 6: Students and faculty stage a sit-in against racism and administrative inaction.
OCT. 8: The university announces that freshmen will be required to undergo diversity training beginning in January, and the program will eventually be expanded to include all students, faculty and staff.
The following is the official record of the conversation between Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini in Berlin. You may note that while the Leader of National Socialist Germany seems to be committed to the battle against world Jewry, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is only concerned with Arab and Palestinian’s interests as one would expect him to be. In the entire text there is not a single reference to ‘Jew burning’ as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu suggested yesterday.
The Grand Mufti began by thanking the Fuhrer for the great honor he had bestowed by receiving him. He wished to seize the opportunity to convey to the Fuhrer of the Greater German Reich, admired by the entireArab world, his thanks for the sympathy which he had always shown for the Arab and especially the Palestinian cause, and to which he had given clear espressos in his public speeches. The Arab countries were firmly convinced that Germany would win the war and that the Arab cause would then prosper: The Arabs were Germany’s natural friends because they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely the English, the Jews, and the Communists. They were therefore prepared to cooperate with Germany with all their hearts and stood ready to participate in the war, not only negatively by the commission of acts of sabotage and the instigation of revolutions, but also positively by the formation of an Arab Legion. The Arabs could he more useful to Germany as allies than might he apparent at first glance, both for geographical reasons and because of the suffering inflicted upon them by the English and the Jews. Furthermore, they had had close relations with all Moslem nations, of which they could make use in behalf of the common cause. The Arab Legion would he quite easy to raise. An appeal by the Mufti to the Arab countries and the prisoners of Arab, Algerian,Tunisian, and Moroccan nationality in Germany would produce a great number of volunteers eager to fight. Of Germany’s victory the Arab world was firmly convinced, not only because the Reich possessed a large army, brave soldiers, and military leaders of genius, but also because the Almighty could never award the victory to an unjust cause.
In this struggle, the Arabs were striving for the independence and unity of Palestine, Syria and Iraq. They had the fullest confidence in the Fuhrer and looked to his hand for the balm on their wounds which had been inflicted upon them by the enemies of Germany.
The Mufti then mentioned the letter he had received from Germany, which stated that Germany was holding no Arab territories and understood and recognized the aspirations to independence and freedom of the Arabs, just as she supported the elimination of the Jewish national home.
An IDF soldier was killed and 11 others injured when an Arab attacker, armed with a gun and a knife, opened fire at a bus station in the city of Beersheba in the south of the country. Local media also said that an Eritrean man was mistaken for an assailant and attacked by police.
The perpetrator made his way into the station and started shooting and stabbing people inside, in what is one of the most violent attacks since the escalation began, the police said. An Israeli soldier was killed, four police officers were lightly injured and seven civilians received wounds of varying degrees in the attack.
Despite bringing a gun with him, the man also snatched the weapon from the soldier he gunned down, Yoram Halevy, a police commander in southern Israel, told journalists. The Arab attacker, whose identity was not immediately revealed, was shot and killed by the police, she added.
It was initially reported that the attacker had an accomplice, who was wounded and detained by the police. But it later turned out that the Israeli security forces shot a foreign national after mistaking him for the assailant.
Police responding to the attack entered the bus station from another area and saw a “foreign national,” opening fire and wounding him, Halevy confirmed.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the injured man was a citizen of Eritrea, who has been residing in Israel.
An angry Israeli crowd, chanting “death to Arabs” gathered outside the bus station after the attack, Reuters reported.
The Sunday attack has become the most serious incident in the string of violence in Israel caused by tensions surrounding a Jerusalem holy site, the al-Aqsa mosque, which is sacred to both Muslims and Jews.
Boris Franklin in a classroom at Rutgers. When he was in prison, he was a student under the New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons Consortium (NJ-STEP), and he is now attending Rutgers under the university’s Mountainview Program. (Michael Nigro)
The defeat of the Harvard University debate team by a team from the Eastern New York Correctional Facility in the Catskills elucidates a truth known intimately by those of us who teach in prisons: that the failure of the American educational system to offer opportunities to the poor and the government’s abandonment of families and children living in blighted communities condemn millions of boys and girls, often of color, to a life of suffering, misery and early death. The income inequality, the trillions of dollars we divert to the war industry, the flight of manufacturing jobs overseas and the refusal to invest in our infrastructure wrecks life after innocent life.
I spent four years as a graduate student at Harvard University. Privilege, and especially white privilege, I discovered, is the primary prerequisite for attending an Ivy League university. I have also spent several years teaching in prisons. In class after class in prison, there is a core of students who could excel at Harvard. This is not hyperbolic, as the defeat of the Harvard debate team illustrates. But poverty condemned my students before they ever entered school. And as poverty expands, inflicting on communities and families a host of maladies including crime, addiction, rage, despair and hopelessness, the few remaining institutions that might intervene to lift the poor up are gutted or closed. Even when students in inner-city schools are not the targets of racial insults, racism worms into their lives because the institutions that should help them are nonexistent or deeply dysfunctional.
I stood outside a prison gate in Newark, N.J., at 7 a.m. last April 24. I waited for the release of one of my students, Boris Franklin, who had spent 11 years incarcerated. I had ridden to the gate with his mother, who spent her time reading Bible verses out loud in the car, and his sister. We watched him walk down the road toward us. He was wearing the baggy gray sweatpants, oversize white T-shirt and white Reeboks that prisoners purchase before their release. Franklin had laid out $50 for his new clothes. A prisoner in New Jersey earns $28 a month working in prison.
Have the Republicans become the white man’s party? Are the depth and bitterness of Republicans’ opposition to Barack Obama and his administration the product of racism?
Those are questions you hear in the clash of political argument, and you will hear plenty of answers in the affirmative if you click onto MSNBC or salon.com with any regularity.
“Race … has now became the primal grievance in our politics.”
You can find a more nuanced and thoughtful analysis in Jonathan Chait’s recent New York magazine article “The Color of His Presidency.”
Chait, a liberal, starts off by noting that the post-racial America that Obama seemed to promise in his 2004 national convention speech and his 2008 campaign has not come into being.
On the contrary. “Race, always the deepest and most volatile fault line in American history,” he writes, “has now became the primal grievance in our politics, the source of a narrative of persecution each side uses to make sense of the world.”
Many liberals see racism in every criticism of the Obama presidency, even though, as Chait points out, Bill Clinton met with similar and in some cases more strident opposition.
Conservatives, he argues, “dwell in a paranoia of their own, in which racism is used as a cudgel to delegitimize their core beliefs.” Understandably so, given his description of liberals’ “paranoia of a white racism.”
Chait defends liberals by arguing that the debates on big government inevitably produced by the Obama agenda and “there is no separating this discussion from one’s sympathies or prejudices toward, and identification with, black America.”
But he also admits that “advocating tax cuts is not in any meaningful sense racist.” And he seems to ignore the argument that policies that directed large sums of money disproportionately at blacks–like the welfare programs from the 1970s to the 1990s, which the Obama administration is trying to partially resurrect–harm more than benefit their intended beneficiaries.
This is, after all, what House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan was getting at when he lamented “a culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working.” The fact that Obama has made similar arguments didn’t prevent Ryan from being excoriated as racist by some liberals.
The slow, increasingly Democratic cast of the American electorate would seem to be a cardinal fact of American politics. The electorate is firmly polarized, with few voters actually liable to change their minds. The proportion of nonwhite voters has risen by about two percentage points every four years, a rate that seems likely to persist indefinitely as the population grows steadily more diverse. The youngest voting cohort has decidedly more liberal views, and more Democratic voting habits, than its elders, and partisan loyalty tends to stick throughout a voter’s lifetime. And yet the phenomenon continues to be met with an unduly wide, deep array of skepticism.
When Ruy Teixeira and John Judis wrote The Emerging Democratic Majority a dozen years ago, few of us placed much credence in their then-wild-sounding prediction. As recently as two and a half years ago, it was still being ridiculed.
As political events have increasingly borne out the prediction, it has been met with a series of objections, most of which have either been confounded or made no sense to begin with. Consider a few:
Objection: The growth of the Latino vote might stop (Sean Trende).
Result: This goes in the “never made any sense” category. Like libertarians, millennial voters do tend to have left-wing views on social policy and culture. Very much unlike libertarians, they also tend to have left-wing views on economics. They self-identify as “liberal,” believe the government has a duty to provide health insurance to all Americans, and support “bigger government” in the abstract at a far higher rate than any other age cohort. It’s true that millennial voters self-identify as “independent” more than Democrat, but they vote heavily Democratic. (Political scientists understand that most self-identified “independents” reliably vote for the same party).
The most popular new grounds for skepticism hold that the browning of America will provoke a backlash among whites — as the proportion of Latinos and Asians rises, threatened whites will grow increasingly conservative. Versions of this hypothesis have reverberated not only among conservatives like Trende and Barone, but also among liberals like Jamelle Bouie. And this theory does have at least some suggestive evidence that it may be true.
A recent psychological study found that, when researchers read a news story reporting the rising share of minorities in the United States to a group of white subjects, the subjects grew more Republican. The study has attracted widespread attention, confirming the liberal fear, and the conservative hope, that the growth of Asian and Latino voters will produce an offsetting shift to the right among whites. “The changing American polity may come to look more like Texas than like the multicultural Democratic stronghold of California,” concludes political scientist Larry Bartels. “In an increasingly diverse America, identity politics will continue to cut both ways.”
It is certainly plausible that this study portends a future racially polarized America. But it seems strange to treat mass trends in evidence among successive elections involving over 125 million Americans while hanging confident predictions of the future of American politics on a laboratory microsimulation. People are highly susceptible to priming — which is to say, even slight changes to the context in which they make a decision can produce large differences in their actions. Making white people focus on increasing diversity while sitting in a controlled room may cause them to immediately report more conservative beliefs. That does not necessarily tell you what the open vista of American politics, a vast ecosystem teeming with messages and context of all kinds, will look like.
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada rancher who became a conservative folk hero for standing up to the government in a fight over grazing rights lost some of his staunch defenders after wondering aloud whether blacks might have had it better under slavery.
Republican politicians from around the country who have rallied to Cliven Bundy’s defense in recent weeks denounced the comments and distanced themselves from the rancher, including potential 2016 presidential contender U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada.
Democrats were quick to pounce on the comments and label Bundy a racist.
Bundy has gone from a little-known rancher and melon farmer in rural Nevada to a national political star since he resisted the federal government’s attempts to round up his cattle from federal land because he hadn’t paid grazing fees for two decades. His supporters, especially those on the right, have praised him for standing up to what they believe is a heavy-handed federal government, and several armed militia members traveled to his ranch to back Bundy.
His comments were first published in The New York Times on Wednesday, but he did little to tamp down the controversy as he sought to address the public outrage on Thursday.
Bundy was quoted in a Times story referring to black people as “the Negro” and recalling a time decades ago when he drove past homes in North Las Vegas and saw black people who “didn’t have nothing to do.” He said he wondered if they were “better off as slaves” than “under government subsidy.”
Rancher Cliven Bundy, right, leaves the podium with bodyguards after a news conference near his ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, on Thursday, April 24. Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management have been locked in a dispute for a couple of decades over grazing rights on public lands.
Editor’s note: LZ Granderson is a CNN contributor, a senior writer for ESPN and lecturer at Northwestern University. Commentary by the former Hechinger Institute fellow has been recognized by the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Follow him on Twitter @locs_n_laughs. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN) — Bashing Cliven Bundy for his remarks regarding race is like Lebron James dunking on a 5-foot rim: Pointless. But we’re going to do it anyway because it’s fun. He said a lot of stupid things, and there are few things more entertaining than well-executed memes and a hashtag in front of stupidity.
The problem is Bundy is not the face of racism.
Not today’s version.
But we’ll place that yoke on his shoulders anyway because it’s easy. Some conservatives will quickly pedal away from the Bundys and the Ted Nugents of the world, insisting that they are not like those rodeo clowns. They don’t have a racist bone in their body because they would never make such outlandish statements. But then they turn around and marvel at how “well-spoken” or “articulate” a black person is and think nothing of it.
Politicians of all stripes will publicly denounce the offensive things that Bundy said but continue to construct policies that caters to his sensibilities. Today, racism isn’t a crazy old white man with a dead calf on his shoulders proclaiming he’s “unracist.” No, it’s elected officials like Paul Ryan saying inner-city men are “not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work” and then feigning shock that people see a racist element to his statements.
Justin Giles of Wasilla, Alaska stands guard on a bridge over the Virgin River during a rally in support of Cliven Bundy near Bunkerville, Nev. Friday, April 18, 2014.
Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher/AP Photo
A group of armed militia and protesters, some sporting nametags reading “domestic terrorist,” remain camped out on a cattle ranch in Nevada, where they have been purportedly defending the property since a tense showdown ended with the federal government last week.
A 20-year struggle between rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management over decades of alleged illegal cattle grazing on public land ended last Sunday, with the government backing down from a controversial week-long cattle round-up.
Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher/AP Photo
Flanked by armed supporters, rancher Cliven Bundy speaks at a protest camp near Bunkerville, Nev. Friday, April 18, 2014.
The BLM defused the standoff, citing safety concerns for its employees and the protesters, some of whom were on horseback and others who were set up in sniper positions on the Interstate 15 overpass pointing military-style rifles at federal agents. Among the citizen army were dozens of women and children under the overpass who could have been caught in the line of any possible gunfire.
But many people who say they support Bundy said they felt the battle was far from over, as evidenced by some responses ABC News received on social media, after the BLM first announced on April 12 that it was withdrawing from the area and releasing the 380 cattle already collected as part of the round-up on an area of land half the size of Delaware state.
The government maintains that Bundy owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid trespass fees and penalties after letting his herd of some 900 cattle graze on federal land near the town of Bunkerville, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, for the last 20 years.
The BLM said it would now move to resolve the matter “administratively and judicially,” although the government has unsuccessfully gone head to head with Bundy in Court since 1993, after it established the area as a protected habitat for the endangered desert tortoise and slashed Bundy’s cattle allotment.
Across the United States, many local governments are responding to skyrocketing levels of inequality and the now decades-long crisis of homelessness among the very poor … by passing laws making it a crime to sleep in a parked car.
This happened most recently in Palo Alto, in California’s Silicon Valley, where new billionaires are seemingly minted every month – and where 92% of homeless people lack shelter of any kind. Dozens of cities have passed similar anti-homeless laws. The largest of them is Los Angeles, the longtime unofficial “homeless capital of America”, where lawyers are currently defending a similar vehicle-sleeping law before a skeptical federal appellate court. Laws against sleeping on sidewalks or in cars are called “quality of life” laws. But they certainly don’t protect the quality of life of the poor.
To be sure, people living in cars cannot be the best neighbors. Some people are able to acquire old and ugly – but still functioning – recreational vehicles with bathrooms; others do the best they can. These same cities have resisted efforts to provide more public toilet facilities, often on the grounds that this will make their city a “magnet” for homeless people from other cities. As a result, anti-homeless ordinances often spread to adjacent cities, leaving entire regions without public facilities of any kind.
Their hope, of course, is that homeless people will go elsewhere, despite the fact that the great majority of homeless people are trying to survive in the same communities in which they were last housed – and where they still maintain connections. Americans sleeping in their own cars literally have nowhere to go.
Indeed, nearly all homelessness in the US begins with a loss of income and an eviction for nonpayment of rent – a rent set entirely by market forces. The waiting lists are years long for the tiny fraction of housing with government subsidies. And rents have risen dramatically in the past two years, in part because long-time tenants must now compete with the millions of former homeowners who lost their homes in the Great Recession.
The paths from eviction to homelessness follow familiar patterns. For the completely destitute without family or friends able to help, that path leads more or less directly to the streets. For those slightly better off, unemployment and the exhaustion of meager savings – along with the good graces of family and friends – eventually leaves people with only two alternatives: a shelter cot or their old automobile.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — MIKHLIF AL-SHAMMARI has been jailed repeatedly, declared an infidel, ruined financially and shot four times — by his own son — all for this: He believes his fellow Sunni Muslims should treat Shiites as equals.
In a Middle East torn by deepening sectarian hatred, that is a very unusual conviction. He has made it a kind of crusade for eight years now, visiting and praying with prominent Shiites and defending them in print, at enormous personal cost. The government of this deeply conservative kingdom continues to file new accusations against him, under charges like “annoying other people” and “consorting with dissidents.”
But Mr. Shammari, a gaunt 58-year-old with an aquiline nose and a jaunty smile, is not easily discouraged. “I’m not against my government or my religion, but things must be corrected,” he said in a furtive interview in a hotel lobby (he has been banned from talking with the news media). “We must all encourage human rights and stop the violence between Sunni and Shia.”
Mr. Shammari is not Saudi Arabia’s best-known human rights activist, and others have put in more time and suffered much longer prison terms. But he has a rare distinction: No other member of the kingdom’s Sunni Muslim majority has made it a mission to demand equal rights for the Shiite Muslim minority.
Even the most educated and cosmopolitan Saudis often look down on Shiites, who make up about 10 percent of the Saudi population, as closet Iranians or undesirables. Some of the religious conservatives who wield great influence here go much further, saying Shiites are worse than Jews because, unlike genuine infidels, they have been exposed to the truth of Islam and nevertheless choose to pervert it. Shiites have long complained of discrimination of various kinds, as well as the vitriolic abuse hurled at them by government-employed clerics.
Mr. Shammari believes this is not just ancient religious prejudice, but a deliberate strategy by the Saudi monarchy to keep its subjects divided and therefore less likely to demand a voice in their government.
Whatever the reasons, it is clear that the sectarian divide helps to tamp down dissent in the kingdom. In 2011, for instance, even liberal and democratic-leaning Saudis were frightened off by protests in the kingdom’s eastern province and in neighboring Bahrain because they were carried out mostly by Shiites, the majority population there. Street protests are illegal in Saudi Arabia.
MR. SHAMMARI says his protest derives partly from his origins: He is a leader of the Shammar tribe, which includes both Shiites and Sunnis and straddles the border between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The Shammar suffered discrimination in the early days of the Saudi kingdom, because they were viewed as having divided loyalties.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AFP Photo / Menahem Kahana)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the boycott movement against Israel as anti-Semitism in a modern guise. Blasting the initiative as an “outrage,” Netanyahu likened EU companies’ tactics to the Nazi policy of embargoing Jewish businesses.
In a heated attack on the Palestinian-led boycott movement of Israel, Netanyahu told a conference of US Jewish organizations in Jerusalem on Monday that it was time to “delegitimize the delegitimizers.”
“In the past anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state, and by the way, only the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said. “I think that it is important that the boycotters be exposed for what they are, they are classical anti-Semites in modern garb,” Netanyahu said.
He added that the ultimate goal of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) was the destruction of the Jewish state. The BDS is a movement sponsored by pro-Palestinian intellectuals and bloggers and is calling for a boycott on all Israeli goods as an act of protest against Israel’s policy towards Palestine.
It encourages its supporters to “target products and companies (Israeli and international) that profit from the violation of Palestinian rights, as well as Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions.”
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