Vote Today for the next Mayor of Minneapolis. Don’t let the Star Tribune tell us who the “top” candidates are!
IBNN NEWS in collaboration with the RONDEX Group invite you to participate in this online poll. Like Rank Choice Voting (RCV), you can pick three (3) candidates. Remember, we don’t need the Star Tribune or MPR to tell us who the top candidates are. Take the poll now. This poll will remain open until October 31 at 8 p.m. CST. We will publish the results on November 1, 2013.
Editor’s note: The Independent Business News Network expands its commitment to community journalism by inviting several Journalism students from Hamline University to participate in IBNN’s “News that Makes Us” forth-quarter public journalism symposium. From October 2013 until January 2014 IBNN will publish the words, thoughts and news from this group of talented students who would normally go unheard. Sit back and enjoy IBNN’s “News that Makes Us” project.
Riley Jay Davis, Guest Contributor – IBNN
The Fox Egg Gallery in Minneapolis was packed full of nearly a hundred queer identified individuals and allies on Wednesday, October 9th 2013. Nikolas Martell, wearing a shiny purple bandeau with matching green hot-pants and black high heels, and Paul Canada with a shiny red robe and a pearl necklace walked to the stage to host the kick off to the first ever OUTspoken Queer Open Mic event. “We want this to be an inclusive space, respect that please,” Martell said.
OUTspoken was started by Martell and Canada as an idea for an inclusive art space for queer identified individuals in the Twin Cities Area “Queer artists in the Twin Cities have needed this space for a really long time,” said Renee Schminkey, the featured artist for the night’s event. The idea began when Martell and Canada were talking about ways they could “improve the community, bring the community together and find space for new voices.” One day Canada sent Martell a text message: ‘Queer open mic?’ to which Martell simply replied ‘Yes.’ From there OUTspoken began to form together. “It became more tangible as it went along.” says Martell.
The set list for the night was full of a variety of 13 artists and mediums ranging from musical theatre, to slam poetry. Performers as well as audience members ranged in ages from seniors in high school to seniors, with many ethnic and racial backgrounds being represented. “I like hearing from people with different experiences,” said first year college student Aidan Feola.
Some performances were humorous, others got very emotional, all of which was encouraged by audience members to keep sharing. Some stories were very intense, and lead to some to cry on stage “This is a safe space, but we believe this is also a real space,” said event organizers. Whenever it looked like someone was about to try and give up their piece due to being emotional, or simply stuttering over their work, audience members shouted words of encouragement to performers. Canada called out after the third performer in a nun costume (one of the many costume changes Canada and Martell performed over the night) “We are in church right now! Can I get a Halleloo from the audience?” Audience member, Natalie Kaplan said she really enjoyed how “open and supportive the audience was.”
One of the things that made this open mic unique was that as each artist of the night was introduced, the hosts introduced their pronouns as well. Martell and Canada shared that in previous open mic they attended, transgender and genderqueer individuals would be mispronounced often before taking the stage. “It’s really crippling,” says Martell. Canada explained that in other open mic events “pronouns were not a thing that was discussed,” and with OUTspoken “Making sure we are validating was very important to us. It’s a little disrespectful not even to ask.”
“The energy coming off this room has been spectacular all night.” says Martell before he shared his own poetry. Kate Bailey, owner of Fox Egg Gallery, addressed the audience before sharing their own own work :“There are people here who have performed on national stages, you don’t have to be here, but this is community, Bailey said.
The next OUTspoken event will take place on Wednesday, November 13th at the Fox Egg Gallery 3730 Chicago Avenue S. , Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407, Doors open at 7:00pm. All are welcome.
Parents of children from K-12 must do a regular “check-in” with school officials to prevent a bad situation getting worse. The data tells us black and Native American public school children in the Twin Cities and around the United States are failing a record rates that white America would of eliminated at the first sign of an Achievement Gap.
by Donald Allen, Editor-in-Chief, OurBlackNews.com
There is a wide gap. A gap that tells us something is wrong inside a system originally meant to teach…white children. Lets get it straight from the beginning; public schools were never expected to teach children of color. The statistic tell us, public schools have evolved to a point of K-12 day care centers for children of color with little to no cognitive stimulation.
Author James A. Baldwin said, “The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.”
Before I move forward, I need to explain who I am to deflect any whisper campaign that I am “attacking” anything but the issue of education and black children.
I am a life-long resident of the Twin Cities. I was born in the Como neighborhood of Saint Paul. Like more than a million other bloggers and lay journalists across the United States, I use my work as an editor-in-chief of Minnesota’s largest online black-owned and operated news network as a vehicle of free expression (www.ourblacknews.com).
I speak out of my passion and convictions to address what I believe are the grievous woes that continue to plague the minority ethnic populations of the Twin Cities, and to seek solutions to them. On my news network, I have addressed neighborhood violence, high rates of unemployment, and the misappropriation of funds by governmental and non-governmental agencies, civil rights and the challenges facing our schools. At the top of any urban agenda, I believe, must be securing the right to a high quality education and providing stable, well remunerated jobs to those adults who are willing and able to work.
Let’s look at the facts:
In reviewing the Minneapolis Public Schools District 1’s 2013 MCA-II and MCA-III Reading by Ethnicity test scores, we see disheartening numbers. African American proficiency in reading is at 22 percent, Native Americans are at 21 percent, Asians are at 40 percent, Hispanic-Latino are at 22 percent and Caucasian students pass at 75 percent. The scores for math are similarly alarming. Only 22 percent of black children met or exceeded the Department of Education standards for their grade level in 2013.
These dismal scores portend bleak economic and social prospects for an astounding number of members of our future workforce, more specifically the black workforce.
Another thing missing from education here (Minneapolis) and around the country are black male teachers.
Author Toni Morrison said, “Black people are victims of an enormous amount of violence. None of those things can take place without the complicity of the people who run the schools and the city.” The absence of African American males as teachers and role models in the public schools is, I believe, a type of violence routinely perpetrated against young students of color. University campuses as well suffer from a dearth of black male professors. At each stage of the educational process, from kindergarten through college, black children, especially black males, will rarely see others who look like them leading their classrooms and imparting knowledge.
But it is not just black students who suffer from this designed absence. As United States Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan stated to the American Thinker, “I think all of our students benefit from having a black male in the classroom.” And in another story titled “Duncan calls on black men to become teachers,” published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Secretary Duncan stated, “Teachers should look more like the people they serve.”
While more than 35 percent of public school students nationwide are Black or Latino, less than 15 percent of the teachers are, and fewer than 2 percent of the nation’s teachers are black men. This is a systemic, societal challenge that must be addressed. Hamline University’s School of Education will equip me with the tools to do my part to meet the need.
School administrators are aware of both the alarming racial gap in academic achievement and the dearth of Black male teachers in the classroom. Yet not enough has been done. The motto of the Minnesota Alliance of Black School Educators is, “Education is a civil right.” If this is true, then the African American and Native American children of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are violently penalized in our public schools, year after year.
As a product of the Minneapolis Public School system (1971-1979), when our public school system was among the nation’s best, it troubles me greatly that it is now among the worst. In the last several decades I have witnessed the dismantling of what used to be a thriving and successful public school system.
Today’s parents need to know: If you are not actively involved in your children’s education, the powers that be will not be involved either. Your children will be systematically set up for “life-failure.” Call your public school system today and ask, “How is my child doing?”
Editors note: According to the Associate Press, Republicans in the Midwest would like you to know something about the government shutdown that closed the national parks and put 800,000 workers on the street: They had nothing to do with it. Please don’t blame them.
Posted by IBNN NEWS
Over the weekend, Republicans and Democrats hit the Sunday show circuit to continue their infinite round of finger-pointing, offering no indication that either party will head into week two of the shutdown wielding concessions toward a plan that would get 800,000 furloughed government employees back to work. In an interview that aired on ABC’s “This Week,” Boehner maintained the GOP position that Democrats must agree to partially dismantling or delaying President Obama’s health care law as a condition of re-opening the government; various Democrats, for their part, continued to flatly
There is a difference between Wise and those who bask in unadulterated self-congratulation, fully donning the mantle of the White Savior.
by Don Allen, Editor-in-Cheif – The Independent Business News Network - Originally published in the Hamline University Oracale Newspaper 10.01.13
On October 1, congruent with the university’s ongoing commitment to diversity, Hamline will welcome to campus anti-racist author and activist Tim Wise. Wise will give the 2013 Commitment to Community Keynote Address, and ask how we can move beyond “post-racial rhetoric and politics,” in our “quest for racial equity.”
As a white man speaking forcefully about racism and white privilege in the 21st century, Wise has made quite a name for himself, gaining ardent supporters and fierce critics of all colors and political persuasions. He has authored hundreds of articles and blog postings, and has published six books. His best-selling text White Like Me (2d. Edition 2011) was recently made into a documentary film. Wise has been coined as “One of the 25 visionaries who are changing the world” by the Utne Reader, and scholar Molefi Kete Asante calls him “one of the brilliant voices of our time.” According to Wise’s Wikipedia page, he has given speeches at over 600 college campuses and “trained teachers, corporate employees, nonprofit organizations and law enforcement officers in methods for addressing and dismantling racism in their institutions.” While others fighting the good fight most often focus on black or Latino disadvantage, Wise squarely takes aim a white privilege, the “flip side” of racism. His hard hitting rhetoric, often polemical tone and unfailing willingness to “call whites out on their shit” as he would say, make him a lightning rod for controversy, and have led him to receive death threats on a daily basis. Wise is one of the most sought-after speakers on the issues of race and racism today; having made a career out of “race-speak.”
As a black man, I can say that Tim Wise is clearly the kind of guy you want on your side in a fight. But I also want to take the opportunity to ask some hard questions about race, racism, and white privilege. These issues may be summarized in the interrogative at the top of this page, “What if Author Tim Wise Was Black?”
Wise himself has written an essay in a similar vein, asking in a 2010 article, “What If The Tea Party Was Black?” He argued there that if black protestors were to adopt some of the more rowdy and boisterous tactics taken up by White “Tea Partiers” protesting Obama’s “socialist” ways, that they’d much more likely be rounded up and arrested than regarded as patriotic Americans.
“Let’s play a game, shall we? â€¦The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.”
It is my argument that by looking at the career of Tim Wise, compared to the careers of innumerable race activists and scholars of color, we can also gain “insight into the workings of race in America.” It is the case, ironically, that the success and fame that Mr. Wise has achieved via speaking out against racism and about white privilege has come to him as a function of white supremacy itself. In short, if Tim Wise were black, he would not be Tim Wise.
In an exclusive statement for the Oracle, Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University said, “I assume that since Tim Wise is known for his expertise in white privilege, he himself would probably not deny that he is the beneficiary of it. I appreciate the fact that Tim is willing to say things that black people have been saying all along . . . [but] the unfortunate truth is that they [whites] are more likely to listen to him than to the rest of us.”
Wise seems to get this, at least in part. The title of his recently reissued White Like Me for example, is a play on John Howard Griffin’s civil-rights era text, Black Like Me. In 1959, Sepia Magazine had Griffin, who was white, travel throughout the south posing as a black man. Griffin had a doctor to darken his skin so he could surreptitiously travel freely and journal the difficulties facing black people. Whereas Griffin set out to tell the story of the Negro problem, Wise tells a story of white privilege and advantage, writing about how he and others like him have benefited from whiteness at every stage of their lives. Unlike Griffin, Wise sees racism not as a problem of people of color, but as a problem of whites.
But there is the thorny issue of opportunism to consider. Too often, whites have benefitted economically and professionally, from the “business of anti-racism.” This is also known as the White Savior Complex. In recent times, the White Savior Complex can be blatantly seen in Hollywood blockbusters such as Dances with Wolves (1990) and 2009’s Oscar-Award winning white savior fantasy film Avatar.
Consider also the “internet movement” spawned by the “Kony2012” video, highlighting atrocities committed by Ugandan dictator Joseph Kony. As author Teju Cole wrote in The Atlantic of the white outraged generated by this video, “The White Savior Industrial Complex is not about justice. It is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege.” He continued, “[There is] feverish worry over that awful African warlord. But close to 1.5 million Iraqis died from an American war of choice. Worry about that.”
All too much white anti-racism today smacks the same self-congratulation of Avatar and of Kony2012. It is the same self-congratulation that the nation has basked in as a whole since the election of our first “black” president in 2008â€”despite the fact that this president has done nothing to address the issues of racism or of civil rights, or to benefit actual black people in any way.
There is a difference between Wise and those who bask in unadulterated self-congratulation, fully donning the mantle of the White Savior. Yet we must still ask, when do the sons and daughters of Africa get to their story themselves? When will our own telling of our history, and our own anti-racist speech be seen as equally “visionary,” “bold,” and “brilliant?” People of color must have allies like Tim Wise in the fight for racial inequality. But must not get so caught up in the thrill of the validation of the white man that we think of people of color only as the helpless, hopeless and the conquered.
If Tim Wise were black, he would not be received with fanfare at so many universities across the U.S. A black activist, speaking truth to power in terms as forcefully as Tim Wise does, would be regarded as crazy, as bitter, or as a crackpot. A black scholar writing about white privilege in the terms that does Tim Wise would have a hard time receiving tenure at his/her university. A black journalist, who routinely took whites to task for their racism, and wrote widely about white supremacy in the 21st century, would not so readily be asked to speak on CNN, appear in documentaries, or give book tours across the country. That the hard truth about race is only palatable to whites when it comes from other whites must make one wonder how revolutionary that truth really is.
“They are living beyond their means and shifting a part of the weight of their problems to the world economy. They are living like parasites off the global economy and their monopoly of the dollar. If [in America] there is a systemic malfunction, this will affect everyone. Countries like Russia and China hold a significant part of their reserves in American securities. There should be other reserve currencies.” – Vladimir Putin in 2011
By Ron Holland, Guest Contributor – originally published at The Daily Bell on September 27
While I hate to give such praise to a foreign leader, Putin has undoubtedly run rings around the moribund and bureaucratic incompetence of the Laurel and Hardy-style Obama and Kerry team on Syria. Putin diplomatically has the swiftness and stealth of the South’s Stonewall Jackson and Germany’s Erwin Rommel, probably the two greatest military commanders in world history.
What Really Happened on the Night of Friday, August 30th?
“At one point last week in the charade known as ‘the Syria peace negotiations’, John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, announced solemnly, ‘This is not a game.’ Well, he was wrong there. This certainly is a game: the trouble is that Barack Obama is trying to pretend that it’s chess, while Vladimir Putin plays hard-faced poker.” – Janet Daley
My question is: What motivated the sudden, overnight change of mind by Obama himself seemingly only hours away from a military strike on al Assad and Syria? It appears to have caught his advisors and the military totally by surprise.
Yes, thanks to the Internet Reformation, the administration was not able to manipulate public opinion and the people and Congress were increasingly opposed to the minimal military action, though this has never stopped a Washington attack before. Even the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) efforts came to naught and the US backed down from the attack.
I believe both Russia and China covertly played the Treasury debt card in order to protect their client states, Syria and Iran, from the impending US invasion. An attack would undoubtedly have escalated with troops on the ground, opening the way for a land assault against Iran, the ultimate real target. After all, the gas pipeline for Washington’s Sunni client states that even offering to pay for the military action is far less important than taking Iran down.
But Putin Always Wins Read the rest of this entry »
It does not matter; public or private school – shame runs unchecked.
Author and speaker Brene Brown wants a tool that’s used often in the course of our kids’ education to go away forever. I’d really like to see it happen. (VIDEO)
Shame and vulnerability researcher Dr. Brené Brown says shame is the number one classroom management tool in schools of every kind in this country. Find out what Dr. Brown wants all parents to know about shame, humiliation and name-calling.
For more Super Soul Sunday, click here.
ORIGINAL: Brené Brown on “Super Soul Sunday” with Oprah Winfrey.
By Hannah Cushing, IBNN Guest Contributor
Nine years: Hundreds of boys
This year is my ninth year of teaching. Thus far, my entire career has taken place in schools that were a last resort in some way, including a school serving urban Native American kids, a recovery school for adolescents who struggled with chemical dependency, a school for students on the Autism Spectrum, and a setting IV EBD (Emotional and Behavioral Disorders) program to which students are referred by their home districts when it is determined that they need a more restrictive environment.
Aside from the fact that all of these schools serve students whom the traditional public school system traditionally fails, the thing that all of these settings have in common is a majority male population.
According to Civil Rights Data from 2009 males accounted for 51.5% of the student population in the Minneapolis School District, but they represented 68.1% of students labeled with disabilities. Meanwhile, St. Paul’s male population was 51.7% but they accounted for 67.7% of the students with disabilities. Nationwide, males are disproportionately represented in dropout rates. They are underrepresented in higher education and are less likely to earn post-secondary degrees than their female counterparts.
An added facet of concern is that this gender pattern most severely impacts males of color, particularly black boys. Black males are more likely to be labeled with disabilities, impacted by zero tolerance policies, and drop out of school.
What’s being done?
By and large the education system appears to address this problem by asking, “Why aren’t male students successful in school?” They’ve dealt with the problem through disability labels, punitive discipline, medication, and shame.
This approach allows our education system, and by extension, our larger society to place the blame on boys who struggle in school. It perpetuates the myth that the problem or disability resides inside of individuals and that boys who have difficulty conforming to the expectations of school need to be fixed.
What can we do?
I think we’re asking the wrong question. We should be asking, “Why aren’t schools working for male students?” Read the rest of this entry »