The Con of Diversity

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Mr. Fish / Truthdig

In 1970, when black students occupied the dean’s office at Harvard Divinity School to protest against the absence of African-American scholars on the school’s faculty, the white administration was forced to respond and interview black candidates. It asked James Cone, the greatest theologian of his generation, to come to Cambridge, Mass., for a meeting. But the white power structure had no intention of offering Cone a job. To be black, in its eyes, was bad enough. To be black, brilliant and fiercely independent was unpalatable. And so the job was given to a pliable African-American candidate who had never written a book, a condition that would remain unchanged for the more than three decades he taught at Harvard.

Harvard got what it wanted. Mediocrity in the name of diversity. It was a classic example of how the white power structure plays people of color. It decides whom to promote and whom to silence. When then-Maj. Colin Powell helped cover up the 1968 massacre of some 500 civilians at My Lai in Vietnam he was assured a glittering career in the Army. When Barack Obama proved obedient to the Chicago political machine, Wall Street and the Democratic Party establishment he was promoted to the U.S. Senate and the presidency.

Diversity in the hands of the white power elites—political and corporate—is an advertising gimmick. A new face, a brand, gets pushed out front, accompanied by the lavish financial rewards that come with serving the white power structure, as long as the game is played. There is no shortage of women (Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Donna Brazile), Latinos (Tom Perez and Marco Rubio) or blacks (Vernon Jordan, Clarence Thomas and Ben Carson) who sell their souls for a taste of power.

Ta-Nehisi Coates in his book “We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy” writes that “Barack Obama is directly responsible for the rise of a crop of black writers and journalists who achieved prominence during his two terms.” But this was true only for those black writers like Coates and Michael Eric Dyson who were obsequious cheerleaders for Obama. If, like Cornel West, you were black and criticized Obama you were isolated and attacked by Obama surrogates as a race traitor.

Chris Hedges/Truthdig/rest of story

Posted by The NON-Conformist


Harvard’s Chelsea Manning and Michelle Jones debacles reveal the university’s poor judgment.

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Michael Morell, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, July 6, 2016 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Chelsea Manning is pictured in May 2017. Image: Slate Magazine

Harvard University, whose seal bears the motto “Veritas” (Latin for truth), is having a very bad week.

First, on Wednesday, the New York Times and the Marshall Project revealed the damning story of Michelle Jones, a convicted murderer recently released from prison after “a breathtaking feat of rehabilitation.” Jones, who is black and now 45, spent two decades behind bars in deep study of American history, earning a college degree and, last year, winning the Indiana Historical Society’s award for best research project. She applied to the Harvard history department’s Ph.D. program and was among the 18 students admitted from a pool of more than 300 applicants.

But then the graduate school’s brass—including its president, provost, and dean—took the unusual step of reversing the admission, “out of concern,” the Times reported, “that her background would cause a backlash among rejected applicants, conservative news outlets, or parents of students.”

Then on Friday came the news that Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government was revoking a visiting fellowship that it had, only days earlier, granted to Chelsea Manning, the transgender Army private who had served one-fifth of a 35-year sentence for providing secrets to WikiLeaks. (In his final days, President Obama commuted her sentence after seven years in a military prison.

More from Slate Magazine

Posted by Libergirl


Ta-Nehisi Coates Calls for Harvard to Pay Reparations; University President Says ‘No’

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In an attempt to atone for its role in human bondage, Harvard University on Friday, March 3, hosted a conference addressing the institution’s historic, and oftentimes forgotten, ties to slavery, with some participants even advocating for monetary reparations.

The conference, titled “Universities and Slavery: Bound by History,” was the latest in a series of efforts taken by the Ivy League university to confront its dark history of enslavement, The Harvard Crimson reported. The day-long symposium drew hundreds of guests from all over, featuring historians and representatives from several universities and a keynote address by writer Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic.

University President Drew G. Faust delivered the opening remarks.

“Harvard was directly complicit in slavery from the college’s earliest days in the 17th century,” said Faust, who announced plans for the conference in March 2016. “This history and its legacy have shaped our institution in ways we have yet to fully understand. Today’s conference is intended to help us explore parts of the past that have remained all but invisible.”

Coates built upon the president’s remarks in his keynote address, describing slavery and the impacts of racial discrimination that arose from it as “systems of plunder that haunt us to this day.” As an outspoken advocate for reparations, the well-known journalist pushed the idea on conference attendees Friday, asserting that racial progress requires institutions like Harvard to pay its debts to those that it enslaved.

“I think every single one of these universities needs to make reparations,” Coates said, as the audience erupted in applause. “I don’t know how you get around that, I just don’t. I don’t know how you conduct research that shows that your very existence is rooted in a great crime, and just say ‘Well,’ shrug — and maybe, at best, say ‘I’m sorry’ — and you walk away.

“I think you need to use the language of ‘reparation,‘” he continued. “I think it’s very, very important to actually say that word, to acknowledge that something was done in these institutions.”

In the past few years, the Cambridge, Mass., university has taken a number of steps to acknowledge its connection to slavery. In March of last year, the institution bent to mounting pressure to remove the family seal of notorious slave owner Isaac Royall. The controversial seal represented the law school for nearly a century and was adopted in 1937 to honor Royall’s contribution to the university, according to Atlanta Black Star.

Months later, the prestigious university recognized four enslaved persons — Titus, Venus, Jubah and Bilhah — who lived and worked on university grounds by dedicating the official residence of Harvard’s presidents in their honor.

Harvard isn’t the only university that has come clean about the role of slavery in its establishment. Earlier this year, a history professor at Columbia University published a report detailing how the transatlantic slave trade helped finance the school in its humble beginnings, while Georgetown University extended legacy admissions privileges to the descendants of 272 enslaved workers who were sold to keep the institution financially afloat in 1838.

History professor Sven Beckert, who has investigated Harvard’s ties to slavery in the past, said the process of unearthing this bitter history started in 2007 with a self-led seminar on the history of slavery at the university. Over the years, Beckert said his students discovered stories of enslaved Blacks who worked on campus under two Harvard presidents and uncovered endowment investments tied to the slave economy. One student, who presented the findings as part of her senior thesis on Friday, revealed that Harvard had used the Caribbean plantation of a former slave-holding donor as a botanical research outpost until 1961.

“When the students began to uncover a different history, they and others who listened to them were surprised,” Beckert said. “Yet, in retrospect, it seems that the only thing that should surprise us was our surprise and that it took so long for us to allow ourselves to be surprised by that history.”

Unlike Coates, Faust has stopped short of supporting reparations. In an interview with The Harvard Crimson last fall, Faust said offering repayment or preferential treatment like Georgetown University has wouldn’t be appropriate for Harvard, since it didn’t directly own slaves.

“I am not aware of any slaves that were owned by Harvard itself, and slavery was much less of a presence and an economic force in New England than it was in Washington, D.C., and the South,” she said. “Mostly, slave records were kept as economic records, business records, and the records we have of slaves at Harvard are much scarcer and less complete.”

Coates disagreed at Friday’s conference, asserting that atonement must involve some sort of monetary repayment.

The institution’s faculty committee is expected to continue studying Harvard’s ties to slavery and plans to release a set of recommendations to the University in the coming months, according to the newspaper.

By Tanasia Kenney
Posted by The NON-Conformist

Black History Month: Remembering Carter G. Woodson

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Image: U.S. Dept. of Interior via CBS New York

You might call it the beginning of the discipline we now know as black studies.

Carter G. Woodson was the son of slaves. He earned a doctorate from Harvard. And exactly a century ago founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, later changed to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

More from CBS New York


Posted by Libergirl

A Biography of Carter G. Woodson Father of Black History

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When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.
Carter G. Woodson


We must continually give thanks to the ancestors

Who was the father of black history? Carter Godwin Woodson created the field of African-American history at the turn of the twentieth century. Born on December 19, 1875, Woodson was the son of two former slaves who had nine children; Woodson was the seventh. He rose from these modest origins to become a respected historian and is known today as the father of black history.


Woodson’s parents owned a 10-acre tobacco farm near the James River in Virginia, and their children had to spend most of their days doing farm work to help the family survive. This wasn’t an unusual situation for farm families in late 19th-century America, but it did mean that young Woodson had little time to pursue his studies.

Two of his uncles ran a schoolroom that met five months out of the year, and Woodson attended when he could. He learned to read using the Bible and his father’s newspapers in the evening. As a teenager, he went to work in the coal mines in Nuttallberg, Virginia. During his moments off work, Woodson continued his education on his own, reading the writings of Roman philosopher Cicero and the Roman poet Virgil.


When he was 20 years old, Woodson enrolled at Frederick Douglass High School in West Virginia, where he was family was now living. He graduated in a year and went on to Berea College in Kentucky and Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. While he was still in college, he became an educator, teaching high school and serving as principal.

After his college graduation in 1903, Woodson spent time teaching in the Philippines and also traveled, visiting the Middle East and Europe. When he returned to the states, he enrolled at the University of Chicago and received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the spring of 1908. That fall, he became a doctoral student in history at Harvard University.

The Founder of African-American History

Woodson was not the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in history from Harvard; that distinction went to W.E.B. Du Bois. But when Woodson graduated in 1912, he embarked on the project of making the history of African Americans both visible and respected. Mainstream historians were white and tended towards myopia in their historical narratives; one of Woodson’s professors at Harvard, Edward Channing, asserted that “the Negro had no history.” Channing was not alone in this sentiment, and US history textbook and coursework emphasized political history, covering the experience white, middle-class and affluent men.

Woodson’s first book was on the history of African-American education–The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861, published in 1915. In his preface, he asserted both the importance and the glory of the African-American story: “the accounts of the successful strivings of Negroes for enlightenment under most adverse circumstances read like beautiful romances of a people in an heroic age.”

The same year his first book came out, Woodson took the important step of creating an organization to promote the study of African-American history and culture. It was called the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). He founded it with four other African-American men; they agreed to the project during a meeting at the “Y” and envisioned an association that would promote publishing in the field but also racial harmony by improving historical knowledge. The association had an accompanying journal that still exists today–The Journal of Negro History, which began in 1916.

In 1920, Woodson became dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Howard University, and it was there he created a formal African-American history survey course. That same year he founded Associated Negro Publishers to promote African-American publishing. From Howard, he went on to West Virginia State, but in 1922 he retired from teaching and devoted himself entirely to scholarship. Woodson moved to Washington, D.C., where he erected the permanent headquarters for the ANSLH. And, Woodson continued to publish–A Century of Negro Migration (1918), The History of the Negro Church (1921) and The Negro in Our History (1922) were among these publications.

Woodson’s Legacy

If Woodson had stopped there, he still would be remembered for helping to usher in the field of African-American history. But he wanted to spread knowledge of this history to African-American students, and in 1926, he hit upon an idea–a week devoted to the celebration of the achievements of African Americans. “Negro History Week,” the progenitor of today’s Black History Month, began the week of February 7, 1926, a week that witnessed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. African-American educators, with Woodson’s encouragement, rapidly adopted the week-long study of African-American history.

Woodson spent the rest of his life studying, writing about, and promoting African-American history. He fought to keep African-American history alive at a time when white historians were downright hostile to the idea. He kept the ANSLH and its journal going, even when funding was scarce.

He died at the age of 74 in 1950. He did not live to see Brown v. Board of Education, which made segregation in schools illegal, nor did he live to see the creation of Black History Month in 1976. But his efforts to highlight the achievements of African Americans gave to the civil rights generation a deep appreciation of the heroes who had preceded them and in whose footsteps they were following–African Americans like Crispus Attucks and Harriet Tubman whose achievements are part of the standard US history narrative today, thanks to Woodson.

By Lisa Vox

Posted by The NON-Conformist


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Question: What’s the difference between black people voting for a man of color(sounds like colored) or Evangelicals voting for a person, cause he or she says they’re Christian?

Romney needs to count his lucky stars. Think about it, he’s going to the southern states next. Secondly, he’s fortunate that Newt and Santorum will be duking it out for that Evangelical vote, meaning they’re splitting the vote which works in Romney’s favor.

Worst person in America: Sarah (ditto head) Palin–First I would like to post a quote by this coward. When asked about the Rush Limbaugh incident she said,  “I think the definition of hypocrisy is for Rush Limbaugh to have been called out, forced to apologize, and retract what it is he said in exercising his First Amendment rights, and never is that same applied to the leftist radicals who say such horrible things about the handicapped, about women, about the defenseless. So I think that’s the definition of hypocrisy. And that’s my two cents worth.”

Palin also wants President Obama to give back the money that Bill Maher gave to his Super Pac. That’s a bit over the top. Think of it this way, most people(high-profile) have said or done things out there but calling this hypocrite the worst person fits. She railed against Rahm Emanuel for using the word retarded(not directed at her). But when Rush used the word repeatedly she sat silent, even when questioned. Oh I guess he was simply using his First Amendment rights. Sarah, you are such an unscrupulous person, you get in bed with political expediency when there are controversies. By you not answering you showed you have no power and secondly, no self- worth.  Thanks for marginalizing woman of your party, thanks for quitting on you home state, thanks for standing up for women’s rights. Some Mamma Grizzly you are, more like a scared, clueless cub. Go see the Wizard and get some courage, I’m simply using my First Amendment right in saying this.

This may be the last comment I make about Santorum. As I’m sometimes known by my other moniker Nostradamus, I predicted people were going to pry more in to his life and past statements. And look at what they found him saying, “Single mothers are destroying the fabric of the country.”  All I have to say is he’s consistent with his idiocy. I don’t get it, there’s never a conversation about how they became single mothers, it’s always a general statement. Because of his constancy he’s lost a lot of the female vote. I wonder how he really feels when he’s alone with his inner thoughts knowing he lost Michigan and Ohio because of women; you know the ones who you put your personal conviction upon. You know female issues from a macho male perspective, wise up dude. Learn how to frame your argument better, you come off like an unlikable snob.

Sean Hannity had an exclusive, Wednesday night, if you could have called it that. The deceased Andrew Breitbart said he had scathing video on the then Harvard Law student(Obama). WE all( in my household) watched around the dinner table looking at the  9″ color TV. All I can say is, I wasted time and life watching this. It is reminiscent of The Mystery of Al Capone Vaults, I bet Geraldo was somewhere laughing his mustache off. This was much to do about nothing, a young Obama shook hands and hugged his old professor(Derrick Bell) after giving a speech. The speech was about how he wanted more fairness on the Harvard faculty. He believed he couldn’t teach kids to stand up for their beliefs without taking a stance himself. The video was once on CBS and PBS. What was I doing to myself by watching this crap!

This was Breibart’s last attempt at relevance, even from the other side. His mission was to destroy the Left; to put out news that was destructive. This piece though backfired badly for one reason, Derrick Bell’s critical race theory is nothing new. W.E. B. DuBois talked about it almost 30 years before, even M.L. King talked about it. Again, nothing new. This was Breitbart trying to race bait by bringing up an issue that would paint the President in a bad light. It didn’t help when Harvard Professor Ogletree joked that they were hiding the video.

America did not care about blacks, the only reason for Civil Rights happening was because of the Cold War. How could America take care of the world when it couldn’t take care of, then called, Negroes?

The NON-Conformist

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