RANT: Does Bush Even Know That Blacks Can Vote? During a meeting between the Congressional Black Caucus and President Bush, Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. asked if they could count on his support to extend the Voting Rights Act of 1965—a centerpiece of civil rights legislation—when it comes up for renewal in 2007. Bush said he wasn’t familiar with the legislation but would carefully consider it when it comes across his desk.
RAVE: Holding the Line in Arizona.
Governor Janet Napolitano shot down a bill that would have created a state-run prison in Mexico to house about 4,000 Arizona inmates who are Mexican citizens. The Democratic governor also vetoed a bill that would have made English the state’s official language.
RANT: Keystone Kops in the Bronx.
When a Chinese deliveryman disappeared while making a delivery at a Bronx housing project, police arrested a Black resident who they said had a red stain on his shirt. The deliveryman, an undocumented worker, was later found in a broken elevator and might now be deported. By the way, the stain on the Black man’s shirt turned out to be BBQ sauce.
RAVE: Payback Time.
The U.S. government was forced to admit its mistake in deporting Rosebell Munyua when she arrived from Kenya in 2001 as a political exile. She was allowed to enter the country six months later and granted political asylum in 2002. Now, in an extremely rare settlement, the U.S. has agreed to pay her $87,500 for its mistake. The recently passed Real ID Act, though, gives immigration officials at airports even more authority to send asylum seekers back without going before a judge.
RANT: Slavery, As It’s Told.
The Cary Christian School in North Carolina gave students a booklet titled “Southern Slavery, As It Was” that describes slavery as “a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence.” Who wrote that section? Thomas Jefferson?
RAVE: Don’t Mess with Texas.
Activists in Texas successfully lobbied the state legislature to reject school vouchers that would have stripped the public school system of funding. Who knew Texas would be a progressive example for blue states?
RANT: Sometimes the Apple Falls Really Far from the Tree.
His father was a civil rights hero who, as an attorney, won the Brown v. Board case that ended racial segregation in public schools. Someone should tell his son, Thurgood Marshall Jr., that he could better respect his father’s legacy by not serving on the Board of Directors of the Corrections Corporation of America. The company has made millions off the incarceration of over two million people in the U.S., half of whom are Black.
RAVE: Clarence Thomas Need Not Apply.
South Africa appointed the first Black chief justice of its court system. Pius Langa, who once worked in a garment factory, earned his reputation for defending anti-apartheid activists as a lawyer. While there is still a long way to go—more than half of South Africa’s judges are white—this is a major step in the right direction for a country still confronting the overwhelming legacy of apartheid.
RANT: Principal Allies Herself With Haitian Dictators.
After a fight broke out in a New York middle school, assistant principal Nancy Miller made 13 Haitian students sit on the lunchroom floor and eat their food with their fingers. The white administrator reportedly told the kids: “In Haiti, they treat you like animals, and I will treat you the same way here.” To stop the students from spreading the story, school officials apparently tried to bribe them with ice cream.
RAVE: Standing Their Ground.
Over 50 cities nationwide have ordinances restricting day laborers from seeking work on sidewalks and street corners. In May, immigrant rights advocates won a suit filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund to block the laws from taking effect in Southern California cities Glendale and Redondo Beach—rulings that will have implications across the country.