Talk show hosts Elliott Booker and Reggie Raghu make a presentation during the January 17, 2011 Overbrook Environmental Education Center’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Learning and Service. They discuss the plight of the black farmers and their own initiative to help the farmers by providing urban farmer’s market outlets throughout Philadelphia for their produce and crops.
About the AuthorDigital Radio Broadcaster, VideoCaster, Website Designer and just a all around good guy who is into communications technology.
You Might also like
By Elliot Booker — 3 years agoBy
The post-hurricane devastation facing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the lack of attention being paid by the federal government to necessary relief efforts. The lack of media attention to the death and destruction facing these U.S. citizens — who are not white and many of whom are of African descent — speaks to their second-class citizenship rooted in white supremacy and systemic racial discrimination.
With nearly half of Americans not realizing Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens — and even Donald Trump apparently not realizing the people of America’s island territories are citizens, or that he is the president of the U.S. Virgin Islands — these Black and Brown territories are American colonies and possessions of conquest in every manner.
The reason why the island territories — not only the Caribbean islands, but also Pacific islands such as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands — are subjected to separate and unequal treatment, and are not states, is because of the Insular Cases, a series of racist Supreme Court decisions, of which the first were written by the same court that gave us the endorsement of racial segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson. These cases established the racist framework governing nonwhite territories of the United States. The island territories, inhabited by so-called alien races, were designed to give the United States control over the seas but second-class citizenship to their inhabitants. These cases are why these Black and Brown territories — as opposed to former white-controlled territories turned states — are subjected to the control of Congress, and no territory has become a state since Alaska and Hawaii in 1959.
At the time, Alaska and Hawaii had already been established as sovereign territories incorporated into the United States, with full constitutional safeguards and a pathway to statehood. The American court system rationalized that Alaska was in a different classification from Puerto Rico because it was on the North American continent. Hawaii, which the U.S. annexed in 1898, was a distant island populated by nonwhite people like Puerto Rico, yet Congress quickly granted full citizenship to its residents in 1900. Further, the United States was changing its definition of a territory, as Slate noted, opting for a European model of expansion to rescue the savages — a white supremacist message which presidents such as McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt endorsed. Further, President William Howard Taft — later Supreme Court Chief Justice — had a personal bias against Puerto Rican people which proved decisive in the fate of the territory. Taft believed they were unable to understand institutions of “Anglo-Saxon origin” such as the jury system, and he supported citizenship only if the territory was not granted statehood. The American attitude towards these nonwhite possessions reflected both the racism of the day, but also a desire to economically exploit these islands and establish military bases on them.
In one of the Insular Cases, DeLima v. Bidwell, the high court found that Puerto Rico was not a foreign country within the context of tariff laws. In Downes v. Bidwell, the court ruled that Puerto Rico was an unincorporated territory under the control of Congress, but without the full protection of the U.S. Constitution. “If those possessions are inhabited by alien races, differing from us in religion, customs, laws, methods of taxation, and modes of thought, the administration of government and justice according to Anglo-Saxon principles may for a time be impossible, and the question at once arises whether large concessions ought not to be made for a time, that ultimately our own theories may be carried out and the blessings of a free government under the Constitution extended to them. We decline to hold that there is anything in the Constitution to forbid such action,” the court wrote in its opinion.
In Gonzales v. Williams, the Supreme Court said that a woman from Puerto Rico who moved to New York was not an “alien immigrant,” but rather a “noncitizen national.” In 1917, Congress granted citizenship to people in Puerto Rico.
Formerly the Danish West Indies, the U.S. Virgin Islands became a United States territory in 1917, when the islands were transferred from Denmark for $25 million. Residents of the islands were granted full citizenship rights in 1932 through an act of Congress. Before that time, U.S. courts regarded the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands not as citizens but as “nationals,” which in U.S. colonial policy referred to “inhabitants of colonies to whom the rights of U.S. citizenship were not conferred.”
Although the inhabitants of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico received U.S. citizenship, the racist policies which undergirded America’s treatment of its colonial territories have persisted. This is why people from these islands, who are truly American, often are not regarded as such, particularly after a natural disaster.
Meanwhile, the PR crisis has the potential to change Southern politics, particularly in Florida, potentially giving Democrats an advantage. The states with the greatest influx of Puerto Ricans between 2007 and 2009 were, from highest to lowest, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.
More than 1 million people of Puerto Rican descent live in Florida, doubling their number since 2001 as a result of a weak economy back home, and as many as 100,000 more are expected to relocate to the state as victims of Hurricane Maria. Leaning heavily Democratic and voting in large numbers, Puerto Rican voters in the mainland voted for Hillary Clinton by a 3-to-1 margin. The Puerto Rican diaspora in Florida and elsewhere, angered by Trump’s inaction in addressing the needs of the storm-ravaged island, and displaying a perceived insensitivity to their plight when he threw paper towels to a crowd during his visit, could galvanize and make a difference in the 2018 and 2020 elections. Although treated not unlike second-class citizens back home, where they cannot vote in national elections, Puerto Ricans on the mainland can register to vote anywhere and participate in races for the Senate, Congress and President, in what may prove the ultimate revenge.
This revenge is against Republicans and Trump — who ignores their plight post-Hurricane Maria and exhibits the racial bias of white U.S. leaders and policymakers a century ago. But this opportunity for payback by Puerto Rican voters also reflects an ability to impact politics on the mainland, after years of political exclusion and marginalization back home, and a colonial limbo status denying them statehood on the one hand, and independence and self-determination on the other.Post Views: 595
Local Jails Now Profiting from Warehousing Prisoners from Overcrowded State Jails, Expanding Slave LaborBy Elliot Booker — 4 years ago
June 11, 2016 | Posted by Shaundra Selvaggi
The U.S. locks up more people than any other country in the world. A nation that represents just under 5 percent of the world’s population, is home to more than 20 percent of the globe’s prisoners.
America’s mass incarceration problem is not such a big problem at all for the correctional facilities that house the convicted. In fact, it’s a significant source of revenue for state corrections departments across the country and the private corporations they do business with, and a new report by the Prison Policy Initiative suggests local jails have joined in on the money making scheme.
Some state prisons have become so overpopulated that local jails have made a profitable business out of renting out their spaces to them. In Kentucky, more than 45 percent of the beds intended for temporarily detaining individuals awaiting trial are filled with convicted state and federal prisoners. Over in Arkansas, the rate is 40 percent.
“Nationwide, 12 percent of the local jail population is actually there under contract with state or federal authorities,” the report read.
The Massachusetts criminal justice think tank analyzed data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series and National Prisoners Statistics Series to calculate the figures.
“We knew that people incarcerated at the state and federal level were counted in local jail data and when we parsed some of that out we realized that this was much bigger problem that we had initially thought,” Peter Wagner, executive director of the Prison Policy Initiative told the Intercept.
But the biggest offender in the nation was by far Louisiana, where more than three-quarters of parish jails are full of state prison inmates. Not a big surprise, as the state has been dubbed the world’s ‘Prison Capital.’ Back in 2012, the Times-Picayune’s award-winning expose shed light on how the state earned its dubious title.
Apparently local sheriffs and wardens stand to make a lot of money by keeping the prisons at maximum capacity and regularly trade inmates between districts to keep facilities full. Some Louisiana wardens spend the better part of the work day making calls to other centers in hopes of acquiring leftover inmates.
According to the Times-Picayune, each inmate is worth $24.39 a day in state money.
The PPI reports this system is not unique to Louisiana. Local sheriffs in Oklahoma make $27 per day, per state inmate and Mississippi state inmates garner $29.74 per day.
Mississippi isn’t too far behind Louisiana, 55 percent of its county jail cots are occupied by state detainees. But Mississippi takes it one step further by forcing local jails to only accept prisoners who will work for free.
The Huffington Post covered the predicament Mississippi law enforcement officials are facing, as prison reforms have led to dwindling jail populations and in turn, shrinking revenue.
Money has become so scarce that legislators are relying on free prison labor to save their increasingly tight budgets and appease taxpayers.
“You’re either gonna go up on everybody’s garbage bill, or you’ve gotta house those inmates,” George County Supervisor Henry Cochran told the Post.
“You’re using that inmate labor, so [taxpayers are] getting a little good out of that inmate for their tax dollars. You either gotta hire a bunch of employees or keep that inmate. It’s like making a deal with the devil,” Cochran added.
In the end, incarcerated felons suffer the most. Unlike larger federal institutions, local jails lack the appropriate resources to rehabilitate inmates, making them more likely to reoffend upon release and end up right back where they started.Post Views: 646
By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
Here are eight historic examples of how ALL WHITE EUROPEANS have benefited, and still benefit from white privilege. Also in the same examples, it shows how the so-called 1% of whites in power helped to give their poorer European brethren solid economic starts several times in the 19th and 20th century.Post Views: 710