This past week has been very exciting for educators, individuals with disabilities and potential and current athletes participating in high school sports. On January 25th the Department of Education issued guidance to America’s schools saying that individuals with disabilities must have equal access to participate in school sports. This was based on an idea that many of us who have participated in any form of school, after school or intramural team know to be a truth about any organized event for youth: Participation in these activities provides more than just a physical outlet. The social interactions, lessons of discipline and thinking as well as networking and social skills are key in the development of all young people regardless of their ability or disability.

Team sports provide an invaluable resource to students, one that has been proven time and again by any group attempting to gain access. There is a history of exclusion from the sports arena for all minority groups in after school sports, and though Title IX exists to prevent gender bias there is still a significant work to be done for equal access to sport by gender. With knowledge of all of this, we are still about to be witness to some of the ugliest behavior from our educational system since its implementation of Plessy v. Ferguson.  Our education systems are about to lie to us.

Anthony Robles, a one legged wrestler competing at the collegiate level

Anthony Robles (born July 20, 1988) is a wrestler who won the 2010-11 NCAA individual wrestling championship in the 125-pound weight class despite being born with only one leg. He is the author of the forthcoming book Unstoppable: From Underdog to Undefeated: How I Became a Champion (Gotham Books), on-sale September 27th 2012

Though many school districts will talk about their inclusive programs and how they already have teams that are inclusive of individuals with disabilities a more vocal section will claim that there is NO WAY that they can involve all of their students with disabilities. They will offer wide-eyed responses to the media and conduct focus groups and interviews and assert that they would love to help, but that the Department of Education does not understand the monetary needs of their district. Others will claim that there is no means of changing the program to include everyone. Others will even say that the mental capacity of the students with disability is simply too substantial to slow down the development of the rest of the teams. This seemingly common sense approach will gain traction on television and radio and the so-called “average American” will not understand why a group of bureaucrats in Washington are fooling with their son’s basketball or football team.

 

They will have made the decision that able-bodied children are better and more worthy of resources and development and time than students with disabilities.

 

Now some of you reading this have already made the decision that I am off the deep end. The Angry Negro is a zealot and instigator that sees racism and marginalization in any issue. If that were indeed the truth, I might forego the rest of this argument and let the issue go, but just for the sake of argument let’s examine the reasons we will be hearing over the next year as to why it is too hard to do what the Department of Education has told schools they are required to do.

The first issue  (which is often the last as well) will be money. The assertion will be that the skills and equipment necessary to manage individuals with disabilities are so extravagant that it is folly to believe that any American school – short of those with specialized facilities training and finding could ever hope to achieve this goal. This argument might hold water except for the fact that the Department of Education is not requiring the significant building or purchase of equipment nor is it requesting that all individuals with disabilities have an open acceptance to school teams. Additionally, this argument seems to insinuate that all teams are funded equally. I am sure there are many high school field hockey teams that wish they had the support of the football boosters but still have to sell candy, raffle tickets and beg their parents for money to support their teams. It seems that if students with disabilities want to play, they will be doing some of this work as well.

The next issue will be safety. The argument will go something like this: we cannot ensure the protection of any individuals with disabilities on the field of play AND due to their complex condition it would be inherently unsafe for them to participate. Now I am sure that there are loads of statistics that we could quote on the safety of high school sports, but the short answer is that sports come with an equal amount of danger for all people – able bodied or not. Rather than exclude an entire group of people would it not be easier to do as we have been doing and consider each athlete as an individual? Since that is what has been done so far for the average athletes lets continue to do that for students with disabilities.

The next line of thinking will be more selfish, but at least it will be honest. Some Parents will say, “I don’t want my child’s opportunities hampered because the team decided to include that kid with a disability. As self serving and despicable an argument this is, it at least finally allows us to address the core issue behind any design to exclude certain people from certain activities like school sports. As we mentioned earlier, sports are a valued part of development and its participants have found success and growth based on this experience. Traditionally individuals with disabilities have been left out of this valued development, but they are not the only group to suffer this discrimination. Every major sport in the history of the United States has an equal history of discrimination. The fact that those bastions of White male privilege were broken were not because of any change in Black, Latino, Asians or women looking to participate, nor were they representative of any specific change in the sport itself. Rather they represented a change in access. Jesse Owens at the Olympics meant that African-Americans had access to the world stage of sport. Jackie Robinson’s integration of baseball meant that African Americans would have access to the pay scale of professional athletes. Anita Lizana’s rise to a World Champion tennis

Anita Lizana de Ellis (November 19, 1915 - August 21, 1994) was a World Number 1 tennis player from Chile. She was the first Latin American, and first Hispanic person, to be ranked World Number 1 tennis player

Anita Lizana de Ellis (November 19, 1915 – August 21, 1994) was a World Number 1 tennis player from Chile. She was the first Latin American, and first Hispanic person, to be ranked World Number 1 tennis player

player meant that Latinos could not be ignored as athletes, and Jeremy Lin even made sure that Asian athletes would be seen as sexy when he posed for the cover of GQ.  This sort of access to sports has always been held back from marginalized societies and the disability community is but another group attempting to pull its way up to mainstream access.

For those people that consider athletes with disabilities a hindrance, we can only remind them of the same fact that supported Asian, Latino, African American, and women athletes who wished to play: They are already doing it. Athletes with disabilities already exist in every sport played by so-called able-bodied athletes (and a few additional sports as well).

Individuals like Oscar Pistorius, Anthony Robels or Jim Abbot began their world-class careers as young people and were lucky to have the opportunity to play. They are not exceptions to the rule of sports, rather, they ARE the rule.

They are individuals who routinely push the limits of their own abilities skills and stamina. There is no argument that holds water about whether or not these individuals have the ability only an argument over if they are allowed to participate.

Jim Abbot graduated from Flint Central High School in Michigan where he was a stand-out pitcher and quarterback before playing College and Major League Baseball

Jim Abbot graduated from Flint Central High School in Michigan where he was a stand-out pitcher and quarterback before playing College and Major League Baseball

One last thing: This argument began with a reference to Plessy v Ferguson – the case that established the “separate but equal” policy that supported segregation in the United States until the Brown V. Board of Education decision 48 years later.  As a country we saw the proof that a separate system is never equal, and yet one of the provisions of the Department of Educations guidance allows for schools to establish separate disability teams if the regular teams cannot be made inclusive or the accommodations would change the essential rules of the game. Now the Department of Education n has done its due diligence and provided a significant amount of guidance and suggestions in making sports accessible. Though they have provided this resource, we must watch for schools that will decide that a special shelf disability teams will be their approach to inclusion. We must not allow there to become an even more extensive sports hierarchy that continues the marginalization and low expectations for athletes with disabilities.

If we allow other people’s fears and prejudices to determine how individuals with disabilities participate in sports we are giving a tacit agreement to the idea that individuals with disabilities are not good enough. They are not good enough to play on teams, not worth the money that those teams cost and certainly not worthy of the development that could lead them to success. It is equally intriguing that denying the presence of athletes with disabilities we are also doing a disservice to the whole field of sport. By limiting the playing field we are taking away the opportunity for these athletes to truly test themselves and determine their mettle. We may as well begin to give head starts, look the other way on penalties and ignore the lessons of good sportsmanship and citizenship that we claim are the hallmark of student competition. Let us give these students a true example of sportsmanship and illustrate the qualities we wish them attain as adults. Let us let everyone have the opportunity to play by the same rules and then determine who is the winner.

 

The Angry Negro is a blind swordsman who has no compunctions about stabbing a bitch.

 

 

It seems that a paradigm shift is finally taking place regarding the broader Black community and its connection to the Gay community. Not that these two groups haven’t been intertwined forever, but maybe now Black folk will find other jobs for our Gay family members other than organist, choir director, and that maiden aunt who has lived with her “roommate” for years.

NAACP endorses gay marriage as ‘civil right’

By Meghashyam Mali – 05/20/12 07:00 AM ET

The NAACP’s board of directors on Saturday passed a resolution expressing support for same-sex marriage equality.

“The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people,” Roslyn M. Brock, the chairman of the NAACP’s Board of Directors, said in a statement. “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”

“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people,” added the civil-rights group’s President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.

 The NAACP had previously criticized measures to ban equal protections for gays and lesbians, opposing both Proposition 8 in California, which would have eliminated same-sex marriage rights and North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which passed in a referendum earlier this month and defined marriage as a union between “man and woman.”

Freedom to Marry praised the NAACP decision. “The NAACP has long been the nation’s conscience and champion for an America where all share equally in the promise of liberty and justice for all,” said Evan Wolfson, president of the pro-gay rights group in a statement. 

Full Post

President Obama and the Fight for LGBT Rights

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Colin Powell endorses Gay marriage

The Daily What

Colin Powell jumped on the gay marriage bandwagon today with an endorsement during an interview with Wolf Blitzer:

I have no problem with it, and it was the Congress that imposed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” though it was certainly my position and my recommendation to get us out of an even worse outcome that could have occurred, as you’ll recall. But as I’ve thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is, and they raise children. And so I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married.

Link

It  has been a rough Black History Month in 2012! We lost Etta James right before we even started getting Black this year and then Don Cornelius and Whitney Houston within weeks of each other.

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Now as you can imagine I have all sorts of bile stored up discussing Whitney, Bobby, drug use and the double standards s of the lack Community, but before all of the finger pointing, lip wagging and hate starts flying, let’s just remeber the gift Whitney gave to us.

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Whitney Houston SIngs the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl

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For those of us who were alive in 1991 you will remember that this was the only time you would hear the anthem played on the radio like a pop sonb. We will miss you (and have missed you) and your vocal presence

Don CorneliusAccording to LA Now, “”Soul Train” creator Don Corneliuswas found dead at his Sherman Oaks on home Wednesday morning.

Law enforcement sources said police arrived at Cornelius’ home around 4 a.m. He apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing.”

Click Here for the Full Article

Happy Blues Tuesday!
It would seem that many of us are feeling election fatigue even though we have not even made it through the Republican Primary.

Now is NOT the time to lose faith!

Stay engaged, follow each candidate, write letters, ask questions and if you feel so motivated give your time and money! Do what it takes to be a prepared and informed voter in November!
Just in case my meager words are not enough, here is Gary Clark , Jr, to remind you how candidates will treat you if you don’t call them to task…

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Don’t Owe you a Thing by Gary Clark, Jr.

For anyone not living under a rock (no disrespect to rock-dwellers and Morlocks) you are aware that the Republicans are attempting to choose their nominee to run for president in 2012.  Now that we have narrowed the field to four candidates it is more than obvious that whomever the GOP chooses will fit their mold of the traditional conservative White guy.  In 2008 when Joe Biden was squaring off against Sarah Palin, the Dems took much care to make sure that he came off as a firm leader who was ready for the task at hand – not a brute from Scranton who beats up on Alaskan girls (and BTW he totally nailed it!) That being said it is likely the four Republican candidates are trying to find ways to challenge the President without coming off as intolerant or disrespectful. Considering the minefield that this final confrontation between an old white Guy and a young(er)  Black guy cam be for both parties, America is gearing up for their favorite game  — one which we will play right now – Is it Racist?

Our first contestant is our second favorite Republican candidate Newt Gingrich

In yet another article broken by The Huffington Post, “Newt Gingrich: Latinos, Blacks Don’t Understand ‘Key To Future Wealth,’ But Asians Do” HuffPo refers to a speech penned by the Former Speaker in which (true to title) he states, “”For poor minorities, entrepreneurship in small business is the key to future wealth,” Gingrich wrote by hand in a first draft. “This is understood thoroughly by most of the Asians, partially by Latinos, and to a tragically small degree by much of the American black community.” The text is taken from a draft speech Gingrich was writing in 1997 and is part of a collection of documents that have been recently released. As the article continues, “The hand-written treatise outlined the “five pillars of American civilization”: 1) quality, 2) technological advance, 3) entrepreneurial free enterprise, 4) principles of American civilization, and 5) psychological strength. Over the next five years, the thesis would serve as a speech, a political framework, and a battle cry for Gingrich, who said the pillars would “allow [Americans] to break out of the welfare state dilemma of more taxes or less government.” In the final versions of the speech, the racial references were removed, but HuffPo contends that the original inclusion speaks to Gingrich’s well documented use of racially charged rhetoric.

Has the Huffington Post missed the mark and content to castigate one of the leaders on the right, or…

Is It Racist? (See Answers Below)

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The Daily What

(Sometimes I drag the "What" out like Miley Cyrus, and other times I say it loud and Fast Like Li'l Jon

Entry number two comes from one of the Best Blogs on the Internet, the Daily What.

In Say What now of the Day on January 25, 2012 the Daily What reported out on Eat haven Connecticut mayor Joseph Maturo. Upon learning that four of his police officers had been arrested by the FBI for Racial profiling Mayor Maturo was asked what he would do to support the community. Joseph Maturo responded that he “might have tacos when I go home, I’m not quite sure yet.”

In case you are worried this is too easy, here is the video

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(Not sure if I even have to ask) Is it racist?

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Our third contestant for Is it Racist comes from Mark Oxner, a Republican congressional candidate from Florida, who has released this as a campaign ad.

The spot features president Obama captaining a ship with members of the Occupy movement, liberals and leftists and powered by rowing children

Is It Racist? (See Answers Below)

Our final contestant comes from the Huffington Post and focuses on a Gwinnett County, Georgia School District elementary school in which some math word problems have raised the ire of some of the parents.

“Parents of students at Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Norcross, Ga., are outraged at the school district’s response to the reports of using examples of slavery in math word problems.”

The Huffington Post article includes a link to the original story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the following videos from the local media:

So was the incidents with the math problems a simple mistake or…

Is It Racist? – Answers

Newt Gingrich hates [Rich] Black People – Racist

At first I was thinking that perhaps this is more of a function of Gingrich’s superego and does not really point at a derogatory attitude toward minority populations as much as his general disdain for everyone that is not him. Upon further review, I have to agree that it is almost text-book racism.

Newt GIngrich with his mouth open

“What? I’m just stating political ideologies about citizen engagement -- I never said that Brown people aren’t good citizens?”

Newt basically makes a generalization about all the groups that make up our citizenry in a fairly clear manner. White people understand the key to future wealth, Asians are getting on board and Blacks and Latinos are along for the ride. He made it easy on us by placing the descriptors in racial context so obviously it is racism. Now some of you will throw two points back at me and here they are:

  • “He never included those points on race in his original remarks – they were only in the draft.”

Here is an interesting point about our society. Some of our more outspoken citizens seem to believe that if they base their thoughts on racist ideologies but never mention the word race, or specifically address it then somehow it won’t matter to the public? I don’t normally quote this Bible in the blog but you can’t build your house on shifting sand.” That being said you can’t use evil means to make good and you can’t use racist ideologies to bolster freedom. It NEVER works

  • The next retort will be that Newt was not discussing race but talking about the five pillars of American civilization – his framework to lead the country out of welfare and debt into prosperity, and that discussion of race was only clinical not meant to be disparaging to any race or culture.

That’s all well and good, and I happen to have read many treatises in my day. They always run into trouble when one or more subset groups are discussed as the hurdle or stumbling block, and it is never totally clinical. If you even think to discuss race and wealth in this country and insinuate that they are poor ONLY by a matter of choice, it is only a short path from that point to separate water fountains and internment camps. He may as well have said everyone but White People and Asians are shif’less and lazy.

Connecticut Mayor will have Tacos for Dinner – Super Racist

I love this one. Not only did the mayor say the worst possible thing he could have said in that situation, but the moment the comment was out of his mouth he began to backpedal and try to down play his faux pas. He even went into the typical I respect everyone in the community (though all of the subsets he named were European) and followed it up with the claim of having been discriminated against as well. Honestly, I do not know how the reporter maintained his composure.

Free Cialis on the U.S.S. Obamaboat – Not Racist

Those kids weren’t even rowing in the right direction!

Some people have given Oxner a hard time because of the visual of having Barack Obama Captain a slave ship. In case you missed it among the references to Cialis, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Occupy Movement, the ship was the U.S. Obamaboat and being powered by rowing children. Though that subtle commentary is not lost on me, the caliber of this ad does not insinuate such a high level of thinking as an allegorical reference to the first Black Captain running slaves.

Oxner has stated that this is but the first in a series of these ads so I will give him a pass on this one. I am sure he will come up with something offensive in his next advertisement.

Cotton Picking math Problems in Georgia – Probably Racist.

The Angry Wife and I actually had a disagreement about this one. I agreed that it was insensitive, and definitely stupid butt not quite at the line for racist while my equally agitated counterpart believes that it is wholesale over the line for racism.

The representative from the school asserts that this usage of slave references, cotton and fruit picking is due to a use of cross curricular training for the students. Cross Curriculum training is a method in which a broad area of learning is offered to students through the use of different areas of study. For example if one were learning about disability history, in civics class the learning would focus on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Physics and geometry classes may calculate the desired rations for building accessible ramps, and science classes may discuss the genetic changes that lead to certain types of disabilities. Through the use of this method, educators have the opportunity to offer an educational track that often has cultural significance and making that a part of the daily curriculum rather than a “special” class. In many cases, this method is advocated by many minority groups looking to get their voice into the mainstream education discussion, and its usage illustrates that there is a way to include this information without creating a special class or education week. (Though they were certainly the vogue of education in the 40s and 50s it has been acknowledged that the special education section e.g. Black History Month, Hispanic History Month, etc. are not filling the role they intended. Rather than give students an opportunity to delve into a fuller understanding of the cultures in the United States, they often are turned into obligatory exercises in which a culture is examined as a monolithic body with only a handful of leaders or ranges of thought. The inclusive curriculum is a method that allows for broader discussion and understanding as history and culture is discussed across several different classes/curriculum.

For the most part the problem isn’t with the inclusion of Black history, rather the bluntness in which the subject matter was handled. The Angry wife says that the parts that were most offensive were the problems with the Slave named Fredrick — an obvious reference to Frederick Douglass (who indeed was a slave). She believes that Norcross was giving a sort of backhanded deference to Black History Month while still taking the opportunity to be unnecessarily inappropriate. Additionally, as the local news spot says, Norcross elementary is composed primarily of Black and Hispanic students which means that were likely plenty of folks that could have acted as a sounding board and told the administration that this was not such a good idea.

For me it was the reaction to these questions that made me hedge toward a not racist verdict. If there had been a larger parents group represented I think I would have agreed immediately that this was racist. The apologetic administrator did not affect my decision but her desire to fix the problem did. (I guess it also could have been her desire to not be on the local news.) The two parents in the video were the most interesting — especially the one who said he was forced to explain to his child that those words meant and the concepts of slavery. Now perhaps I am being a bit insensitive — or maybe it is my southern upbringing, but I was certainly not sheltered from the concepts of slavery or the realities of the Black situation in this country from inception to the present. These folks live in Georgia for God’s sake and likely have to pass a few plantations on the way to school (I know I did — they were called golf courses.) I find it really hard to believe that as a Black parent you didn’t see this conversation coming. It almost seemed that this was an easier subject to tackle rather than the other areas of prejudice that can affect our kids at school. This seemingly unrealistic attitude from a Black father that our society was somehow post-racial left me with a bad taste in my mouth and caused me to question the intentions of those that put him on the air.

This contention is what makes the Norcross case an excellent example. Based on the information we have it could easily be a misunderstanding sparked by a naiveté, and good intentions or a despicable slap in the face to parents who want their children to learn about their culture and heritage. And isn’t that the inherent lesson in determining if something is racist or not? We do not live in an America with separate washrooms or drinking fountains yet there is a subtle underpinning that tells us certain people tend to do these things and other people do other things. It is inherent in our sports and music culture, youth culture, government, and with every young man the first time he gets pulled over by the police. Though it is fun to make light with snappy gifs and acerbic commentary, we as Americans all have the responsibility to not only play the most American of games, but also look at ourselves and our actions and say, “Is It Racist?”

Some contestants of “Is it Racist will receive the “Is It Racist?” home game brought exclusively through promotional support from Your Momma!

Posted: January 29, 2012 in Politics
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Apparently I am not the only one obsessed enough with fictional Presidential Speeches and dare to pass them off as my own work.

According to the Daily What, “Australia’s transport minister, Anthony “Albo” Albanese, has come under fire for lifting a recent Australia Day attack speech aimed at opposition leader Tony Abbott from the Aaron Sorkin’s 1995 film, The American President.

A video comparing Albanese’s speech with the one delivered by Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepard was recently uploaded to YouTube by the Liberal Party’s Federal Director Brian Loughnane.

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Acknowledging the embarrassing incident, Albanese later tweeted, “D’oh! Stuff up (for the record, that comes from another great American, Homer Simpson).”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard also tweeted in support of the minister, saying “And speaking of actors – I love Michael Douglas because he’s married to a Welsh woman. Albo’s not bad either.”

It was claimed that he didn’t know his speech, which he did not write himself, had been plagiarised.”