Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Holder Holds Court at DNC: Praises Black Lives Matter, Urges African-Americans to Support Clinton

28 Jul
IMG_0386

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Addresses a public meeting held by the Congressional Black Caucus at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Photo by Chris Murray.

At the Wednesday meeting of the Democratic Party’s Black Caucus, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder talked police reform, Hillary Clinton, and how the only thing that matters as much as Black Lives are Black Votes.

 

 

By Chris Murray

PHILADELPHIA-When Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder came to speak to the members of the Democratic Party’s Black Caucus as part of Wednesday’s Democratic National Convention activities, he pulled no punches.

There’s a lot at stake for the Black Community in this election, and making sure your electoral voice is heard is going to be important.

In a rousing 19-minute speech in front of 300 people at the Philadelphia Convention Center, Holder urged African-Americans to cast their votes for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton and to support the Black Lives Matter movement in its efforts to stop police brutality.

“There are huge things at stake here and a protest vote for somebody other than Hillary Clinton is a vote for [Republican Presidential nominee] Donald Trump,” Holder said in a speech that brought the crowd to its feet several times. “[Black Lives Matter] is in the best tradition of the Civil Rights movement. They’re trying to move this country to a place where it ought to be and so you all defend Black Lives Matter and you defend the use of that term.”

Holder reflected on his time working with the Justice Department and also talked about what he feels is unfinished business in areas such as gun safety, restoring the Voting Rights Act, and repairing the relationship between African-Americans and the police.

A feisty Holder didn’t hold back his criticism of Trump, Congressional Republicans and the National Rifle Association.  He said in the midst of the Newtown massacre, there was an opportunity to pass gun safety regulation, but the legislators, afraid of the anger of the National Rifle Association, voted against it.

“In spite of the fact that people 90 percent of the people wanted gun safety regulations put in place, but the gun lobby convinced people in Congress not to vote that way. It’s time for us to say, we’ve had enough,” Holder said.  “We’ve simply had enough and we demand that reasonable gun legislation is put in place.”

Holder said too many Americans, especially the African-American community have felt the harsh impact of gun violence and it is time to with legislation to regulate the access to guns.

“The fact that too many people have access to guns they should not have had access to,” He said. “You think about the carnage that has happened in the nation in general and the African-American community in particular, that for me is a defining issue.”

Holder was also critical of the Supreme Court decision in Shelby vs. Alabama, calling it the worst decision in the history of the court. The decision in Shelby gutted an important provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and said that Congress exceeded its power in enforcing the Constitution’s 14th and 15th Amendments.

“Five members of the Supreme Court, including Clarence Thomas, took it upon themselves to say the Voting Rights act as constituted was unconstitutional and that has to change,” Holder said.

Holder said it’s important for African-Americans to vote for Clinton because a Supreme Court with Trump as president would be disastrous.

“The guy who ran ‘The Apprentice’ is going to pick people for the Supreme Court,” he said as the crowd roared in laughter.

In addition to his criticism of Trump, Holder took some shots at the Republican-controlled Congress for not confirming Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court after the death of Antonin Scalia. He said it was all more the reason that African-Americans should cast their vote for Clinton.

“We have a very qualified guy in Merrick Garland … who, if the Senate would do their damned jobs would be on the Supreme Court right now,” Holder said. “The delay that he’s had to endure is unprecedented and the notion that a President with one year to go in his term can’t pick a Supreme Court justice, tells you all you need to know about the Republican Party.”

Holder said there has to be mutual respect between the police and the African-American community. He said the African-American community needs the police, but law enforcement needs to deal with the community with fairness and dignity.

Finally, Holder ended his speech by praising the Black Lives Matter movement and the role they have played in educating the public on the issue of police brutality.

“For too long in our history, Black lives didn’t matter and now we’re saying in 2016 that Black lives do matter,” he said to a standing ovation.

Advertisements

Y’all Need to Take a Chill: The Rising Tide of Bigotry and Hate

23 Feb

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Sunday Sun

One of my favorite scenes from the Spike Lee movie Do the Right Thing was what I’ll call “the Stereotype Rant”.

During this scene, Lee’s character Mookie went on a rant that featured stereotypes of Italian-Americans, Pino, portrayed by actor John Tuturro, hurled insults at African-Americans, Stevie, a Latino kid (Luis Antonio Ramos) slammed Asians, Officer Long (Rick Aiello), a white police officer, spewed stereotypes of Latinos and Sonny, an Asian store owner (Steve Park), finished the rant by spewing some anti-Semitic bile.

In what can only be described as a true cinematic irony, the voice of reason in this scene was, of all people, Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson, playing the role of DJ Mr. Senior Love Daddy, called for a halt to the invective by yelling, “Hold up, timeout! Y’all take a chill! Ya need to cool that sh—t out and that’s the double truth, Ruth.”

I’ve been feeling a lot like Mr. Senior Love Daddy over the past month due to the latest bouts of bigotry that have hit the national spotlight. From the near constant use of racist stereotypes by the Republican candidates for the presidency and other offices, to the list of homophobic tweets hurled by a prominent national pundit to the stream of racial insults hurled at rising New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin, I think that it’s time for us to take a chill on the stereotypes and racist, sexist and homophobic invective.

If nothing else, the fact that the villains in all of these cases are a multicultural group should tell you that even in a 2012 America presided over by an African American president, we still have a long way to go in terms of creating the Beloved Community that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of.

Since the sports world is where I hang out most often, let’s start there first…and with the most recent.

The rise in the popularity of Lin, point guard for the New York Knicks, has been fun to watch. The Harvard-educated journeyman who had been on two other teams and had spent time in the NBA’s Developmental League before getting his chance to play in the nation’s largest media market, has been an inspiration to all…especially the Asian American community.

But for some, Linsanity has been an excuse for unpacking some pretty heinous Asian-American stereotypes. For writing the headline “A Chink In The Armor”, after a Knicks loss, ESPN fired a copy editor. The network also suspended the SportsCenter anchor who repeated the slur during the evening’s broadcast.

Calling Asian Americans “chinks” is the same as calling an African-American the N-word and it’s just as wrong.

But not to be outdone in the Racial Stereotypes contest, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., a man not known for his tactfulness under any circumstances, said Lin wouldn’t be getting all this publicity if he were Black and the Knicks MSG Network, the network that broadcasts Lin’s games by the way, that featured a picture of Lin coming out of a fortune cookie.

Now I understand that this is a big adjustment for some of you, having an Asian American in the NBA. I mean Yao Ming just retired a year ago, right? But how about making that adjustment without sticking your foot in your mouth during the process, okay?

But while sports is where the most recent example of our need to express our Inner Racist comes from, it’s not the only, nor it is the most important, place.

Perhaps the loudest noise in the body politic of American bigotry is coming from the candidates vying for the Republican Presidential nomination. If you’re Newt Gingrich, you’re behind in the polls and you’re running in a Southern primary, the one way to get votes from that good ol’ boy NASCAR crowd that’s still pissed off about the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement and having a Black Man in the White House is to conjure up negative stereotypes of Black people on food stamps.

Not only did Gingrich suggest that poor Black kids become janitors and erroneously calling President Obama the greatest “food stamps president in history,” he also verbally smacked down Black conservative pundit Juan Williams who dared to suggest during a debate that stereotyping of African-Americans as the prime recipients of food stamps was offensive.

The next day, a South Carolina woman at a campaign rally walked up to Gingrich and thanked him for putting Williams in his “place.” For Black Southerners and for African-Americans in general, “putting someone in their place” is code for admonishing any Black person who would dare to stand up to a white man.

For all that, Gingrich got a huge ovation from the mostly white crowd in South Carolina at the debate and of course, the former House speaker, who was trailing in the polls prior to the debate, eventually won the primary.

Years ago, the late Alabama Governor George Wallace said that when he ran as a moderate Southern Democrat for governor, he didn’t get elected. But when he started using racist rhetoric, the crowds and the votes multiplied exponentially and he became governor of Alabama. President Lyndon Johnson acknowledged as much when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and lamented that he had lost the South to the Republicans (and the former Southern Democrats that now run the Republican Party) for decades.

But while the South is where we’ve come to expect such bigotry when it comes to politics or pop culture, it’s not the only place where it’s happening. A couple of Los Angeles shock jocks referred to the late Whitney Houston as a “crack ho” during a conversation about the singer’s recent death and a pundit from Fox suggested that California Congresswoman Maxine Waters “put down the crack pipe” after she referred to Republican House leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor as demons.

The shock jocks were suspended. The Fox commentator, Eric Bolling, tried to laugh it off…and received no punishment from the network.

Race isn’t where the latest slew of intolerance stops, however. A set of Super Bowl Sunday “Tweets” from CNN pundit Roland Martin set off a firestorm of controversy due to suggestions that any man who lingered over the H&M commercial for David Beckham’s new underwear line and a New England Patriots receiver wearing pink shoes should be beaten. A few days later, a video of a bunch of Black kids beating up a Black gay male in Atlanta was posted on YouTube.

While Martin has since apologized for his remark, and the events are in no way connected, the combination of the set of “Tweets” and the beating were symbolic of the homophobia that exists within the African-American community, something that’s kind of ironic when you consider the history of African Americans in this country.

All the gay community asking is for the same equal protection under the law as any other American citizen. Wasn’t that the principle that African Americans marched for in the 1960s? The gay community and the African-American community should be allies in the fight against bigotry and hatred.

Of course, a lot of my hardcore Christian friends will quote chapter and verse about how homosexuality is frowned upon by God. But hatred for your fellow man is far worse. That this is a violation of the whole “love your neighbor as yourself” policy tends to be overlooked by those practicing bigotry…especially those doing it in the name of God.

I really do pray for the day that the better angels within us will prevail over the tyranny of our prejudices and hatred. I pray for a world that is truly post-racial and post-hatred. The way we can start is just to Stop…

……and that’s the quadruple truth, Ruth.