Einhorn Foundation confirms it paid for ‘voter fraud’ billboards in Wisconsin

By Joy-Ann Reid of theGrio.com

An obscure family foundation has confirmed that it paid for a billboard advertising campaign warning of the legal penalties for voter fraud.

Matt Brusky, with Citizens Action of Wisconsin, joins other community leaders to object to what they say are billboards that suppress the vote. They were gathered at a billboard at 22nd and Morgan to make their announcement, Tuesday, October 12, 2010. Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM

A joint investigation by theGrio and One Wisconsin Now revealed that the Einhorn Family Foundation, led by Steven Einhorn, was behind the billboards, which began appearing in minority-heavy parts of Milwaukee, Wisconsin with just weeks to go before the presidential election.

The boards were bought anonymously from Clear Channel Outdoor advertising by a “private family foundation,” and eventually taken down after weeks of protests.

Now, the Einhorn Family Foundation is acknowledging it was behind the billboard campaign. When first contacted by theGrio, a public relations firm representing the foundation denied they had any part in purchasing the billboard ads.

Read more and view interview with Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now revealing the involvement of the Bradley Foundation also, here.

A Zombie Is a Slave Forever

By Amy Wilentz in the New York Times

ZOMBIES will come to my door on Wednesday night — in rags, eye-sockets blackened, pumping devices that make fake blood run down their faces — asking for candies.


To become a zombie was the slave’s worst nightmare: to be dead and still a slave, an eternal field hand.

There seem to be more and more zombies every Halloween, more zombies than princesses, fairies, ninjas or knights. In all probability, none of them knows what a zombie really is.

Most people think of them as the walking dead, a being without a soul or someone with no free will. This is true.

But the zombie is not an alien enemy who’s been CGI-ed by Hollywood. He is a New World phenomenon that arose from the mixture of old African religious beliefs and the pain of slavery, especially the notoriously merciless and coldblooded slavery of French-run, pre-independence Haiti. In Africa, a dying person’s soul might be stolen and stoppered up in a ritual bottle for later use. But the full-blown zombie was a very logical offspring of New World slavery.

Read more here.

Hate Groups: Preparing for an Obama Win? Interviews with a White Supremacist and a Hate-Group Expert

By Keli Goff of theRoot.com

When retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson denounced the Republican Party as “full of racists” in a recent interview, he ignited a firestorm.

Though the comments were not the first time the Republican Party had been accused of being the chosen party for those harboring racist tendencies, it did mark one of the first times a high-profile Republican made such a stinging accusation.

Wilkerson made the remarks while defending his former boss and fellow Republican, former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Powell’s endorsement of Democratic President Barack Obama led some Republicans, among them Romney campaign surrogate John Sununu, to speculate that Powell’s presidential choice was motivated by race. While these developments led to fresh allegations that the Republican Party is the party of racists, there has been little coverage of the activity of actual, self-identified racists this election cycle, specifically those within the white supremacist movement.

In an interview with The Root, Mark Potok, one of the country’s leading experts on hate groups, said that the day after President Obama was elected there were so many new people expressing interest in white supremacist groups that websites for some of those groups actually crashed….

KKK Tupelo Miss 9:12 (ABC News)

The Ku Klux Klan burns a cross during a ritual near Tupelo, Mississippi, in September 2012. (ABC News)

In a recent TV segment for Nightline, Steven Howard, a grand wizard for the Ku Klux Klan, attempted to rev up his fellow Klansmen by chanting, “Barack Obama does not care about us, he does not care about America.” He later said, matter-of-factly, that if President Obama is re-elected there will be a race war, and white Americans will be in danger of being placed in concentration camps….

According to Howard, the only way to avoid such conflict is to divide up the United States of America by race. For anyone unwilling to cooperate, particularly Jews and blacks unwilling to relocate from the South, Howard says, “If they will not peacefully then the only way is through violence.”

Read the complete article here.

What a Surprise! AP poll: A slight majority of Americans are now expressing negative view of blacks

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not. Those views could cost President Barack Obama votes as he tries for re-election, the survey found, though the effects are mitigated by some people’s more favorable views of blacks.

OBAMA 2211351188672Obama supporters at a rope line reach out for the President.

A Washington Post – ABC News poll looks at who likely voters say they would vote for if the election were held today. Also, how those opinions vary among voter groups, and who voters trust more for different aspects of the job.

Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly….

In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey.

Obama niggardlyHomemade sign during election 2012 is, unfortunately, not rare.

When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.

Most Americans expressed anti-Hispanic sentiments, too….

The AP surveys were conducted with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan and NORC at the University of Chicago.

“Part of it is growing polarization within American society,” said Fredrick Harris, director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. “The last Democrat in the White House said we had to have a national discussion about race. There’s been total silence around issues of race with this president. But, as you see, whether there is silence, or an elevation of the discussion of race, you still have polarization. It will take more generations, I suspect, before we eliminate these deep feelings.”

Read more here.

Curator’s Note: The headline about the “majority of Americans” seems to imply that either the Americans tested all were white or that lots of people of color have come to hate blacks. If the first case is true, why didn’t the AP use “white Americans” in the title? If it’s the second, why did the AP not comment on this unusual finding? I suspect that the AP editors unconsciously assume that the real “Americans” in this country are white.

The White Romney Vote: Based on Race?

Blacks are accused of backing Obama out of racial loyalty, but white GOP voters get a pass.

By Les Payne for theRoot.com

…What exactly is the makeup of the GOP?

Alas, in this year of our Lord 2012, the Republican Party structurally is 97.9 percent non-African American, fielding only 47 blacks among the 4,411 delegates at its Tampa convention!

Mitt at RNC

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney rallies his supporters.

With blacks constituting some 13 percent of the electorate, the GOP, win or lose, is likely to register a popular vote that is 99.5 percent non-African American. And this near lily-white party operates in a diverse republic — with a black president, who attracted 43 percent of the white vote in ’08.

The pattern is no accident, for the GOP has been heading this way since President Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act, reconfirming blacks’ right to vote as granted by the 15th Amendment 95 years earlier. Repeatedly, blacks are called upon to explain why, other than because of his race, they would vote for Obama (after 128 years of voting for white presidents, including many avowed racists).

Indeed, blacks support President Obama for similar reasons to those stated in the New Yorker magazine’s endorsement: “[He] has achieved a run of ambitious legislative, social and foreign-policy successes that relieved a large measure of the human suffering and national shame inflicted by the Bush Administration. Obama has renewed the honor of the office he holds.”

That he happens to be African American, of course, is an added value of pride for African Americans.

Seldom, if ever, are whites queried about voting for the candidate of a predominantly white party, who is so shameless a panderer that even ranking party officials are knocked into a quandary over what exactly he believes. So the question arises:

Are whites voting against Obama chiefly because he’s black?

Read more here.

The Five Pillars of Jim Crow

Griot: Russell Brooker, PhD

Copy Editors: Reggie Jackson, MS, and Nancy Kaplan, PhD

Photo Editor: Fran Kaplan, EdD


“Jim Crow” refers to a system developed in the late 1800s and early 1900s to support white supremacy and oppress black citizens.  Although there were laws that discriminated against African Americans throughout the country, the Jim Crow system existed only in the South.

We can see the system better if we look at its five parts.

1) Economic Oppression

The Jim Crow system was originally established by middle-class and upper-class whites who were afraid of poor blacks and poor whites working together.  In order to keep the poor people from threatening the power of the ruling whites, new laws were made that separated the poor of both races.

Blacks were given the worst jobs for the lowest pay.  Certain good jobs were set aside for whites only.  Workers of both races were stopped if they tried to form labor unions.  Many blacks, and a few whites, were arrested and forced to work as slaves in plantations and mines.

2) Political Oppression

After the Civil War, poor black and white farmers worked together to elected politicians who supported them.  The politicians they elected gave them better government, better roads, and better working conditions.

In response, one major goal of Jim Crow was to ensure that poor whites and blacks would never unite again.

To stop the black political threat, blacks were “disenfranchised,” or not allowed to vote. Lack of voting power made blacks unable to remove elected officials they did not like.  It also made them easy targets for politicians who wanted to distract the white voters’ attention from unfair taxes and corrupt governments.

3) Legal Oppression

Legal oppression went along with political oppression.  Blacks had very difficult times in courts.  All the judges and almost all juries were white.

In most areas, black witnesses were not allowed to testify against whites.

4) Social Oppression

Through racial segregation, blacks and whites were kept apart as much as possible.

Laws forced blacks and whites to be separate from each other in a variety of public accommodations.

Segregation is the most famous part of Jim Crow. The Jim Crow system is often called “the segregation system.”

5) Personal Oppression

Black people were rarely shown common courtesy by white people.  In fact, whites often picked out for individual blacks for harassment.

White people could threaten, beat, rape, torture, and kill blacks with little fear of punishment.

Russell G. Brooker, PhD, is Professor of Political Science at Alverno College, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He teaches courses in political science, and research methodology.  He has taught courses in African American history, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement since 1981.  He is currently writing a book on the civil rights movement before 1954.

Mali’s Storytellers: Why Griots’ Indispensable Conflict-Resolution Skills Are At Risk Now

By Hannah Armstrong in the New York Times

BAMAKO, Mali — I had been waiting close to an hour for my coffee date when I ran into the colonel. Like many of Bamako’s power brokers, the 50-something officer, who is a friend, often conducts business on the broad terrace of the Lebanese café where we met. He always wears spotless gowns of the richest fabric and expensive European cologne.

Qaeda-linked Islamists are imposing a violent form of Shariah in northern Mali. Griots have helped to resolve earlier conflicts in the north. (Associated Press)

I mentioned that I was waiting to meet a griot, a traditional storyteller. His boyish, bulging eyes were suddenly defiant.

‘‘We don’t have griots anymore. Not us. We left that behind,’’ the colonel said, smirking.

[The griot] emerged from a taxi, spotted me, and advanced toward our table, squinting at the colonel. To my surprise, they embraced as old friends. He blushed as she sat down and took sudden control of the table, speaking loudly, blessing him, reminding him of shared history.

Her griot family, it turned out, has presided over his family’s weddings, baptisms and funerals for hundreds of years, praising, representing, serenading and chastising the colonel’s noble  relatives.

From birth, Malian griots are taught how to flatter the wealthy and mend social ruptures. From domestic disputes to wars between clans, the griot calms tempers, tames egos, and enjoys immunity. Several years back, when a fight between farmers and nomads in Mali and Guinea erupted into armed conflict, griots from both countries held a summit meeting that produced a resolution.

Perhaps the current crisis in Mali — more than six months ago the northern two-thirds of the country were seized by Qaeda-linked Islamists who are imposing a violent form of Shariah — might benefit from the soft touch of the griot?

Read more about Mali’s griots and why their role is threatened, here.

Read about the role of griots at our museum, here.

Who Was the First African American?

By Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in theRoot.com

Like many of you, I was always told that the first Africans to arrive in what is now the United States were the “20 and odd” Africans who arrived as slaves in Jamestown, Va., from what is now the country of Angola, in 1619.

Juan Garrido (left) (Diego Duran, Historia de las Indias de Nueve Espana
e Islas de la Tierra Firme, 1581)

But this turns out not to be true. As a matter of fact, Africans arrived in North America more than acentury before both the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock and before these Angolans arrived in Virginia. What’s more, we even know the identity of the first documented African to arrive,…and more astonishing, he wasn’t even a slave. Next year will be the 500th anniversary of his arrival in Florida, and the state plans to commemorate this remarkable event.

Read more about the extraordinary Juan Garrido here.

Chair hangings imply hanging-in-effigy of president

By Stephanie Harp in the Bangor (Maine) Daily News

In recent weeks, homeowners in  VirginiaTexasColorado and Washington state have hung empty chairs from trees.


This display in Washington state is one of several that have appeared around the country recently.

This comes in the wake of actor Clint Eastwood’s empty chair speech at the Republican National Convention. Never mind agreeing or disagreeing with the presidential candidates. Eastwood clearly intended the viewer to imagine President Barack Obama in that empty chair. And those who displayed chairs in their yards, beginning less than three weeks later, clearly intended them to represent hanging Obama.

Some claimed they tied chairs in trees to prevent theft. That doesn’t pass the laugh test when other chairs remain on the homeowners’ porches. Neither do claims that the displays aren’t references to lynching. The implied hanging-in-effigy of our first African American president is about more than politics. If the chair hangers didn’t understand the shameful history they were invoking, they should have. Lynching is not a joke….

Most commonly committed by rope, though in myriad other ways as well, a lynching was designed to scare African Americans into submission. Lynchers often left their victims hanging on the edges of black neighborhoods, so every resident would understand the unmistakable message of white supremacy. Like the burning crosses of the Ku Klux Klan, lynchings were warnings to African Americans who, in local white opinion, didn’t know or keep “their place.”

HangInThereObama sign

Thomas Savka swears he’s a fan of President Obama, and says his controversial sign off Highway 21 in Redgranite, Wis. is only meant to grab your attention. But from far away, you can only read the larger red letters that say “HANG OBAMA.”

…Lynchings and racist threats didn’t end in some distant past: Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. both were killed in 1998. We can’t ignore this history, or joke about it.

Disagreements about policy and politics is one thing. Threats of racially motivated, violent hate crimes are quite another and have no place in a democracy that claims to celebrate diversity and equal rights.

Read more here.

The Difference Between Equity and Binders Full of Anybody

By Rinku Sen of Colorlines.com

Maybe I have no sense of humor, but when Gov. Mitt Romney said the words “binders full of women” during this week’s debate, it didn’t occur to me to make an Internet joke, complete with visuals of feminine legs sticking out of binders. He seemed to have left out a word—maybe resumés?—but I sure didn’t predict multiple Tumblrs being built around it.


This is DIVERSITY – but is it EQUITY? Do we want affirmative action for diversity only, or for equal pay for equal work and equal say at the table as well?

I was more struck by the fact that he answered a question about pay equity with a story about diversity hiring. If we had the language as a society to describe this difference, the jokes might have been more pointed. Diversity is about variety, getting bodies with different genders and colors into the room. Equity is about how those bodies get in the door and what they are able to do in their posts. A diversity approach has gotten us to the point where Romney could get a binder full of women’s resumés. (Though, notably, the real credit goes to the group MassGAP, which pushed the governor’s office to hire more women in high-level posts.) An equity approach is what would have forced him to address the pay gap, which I bet all the women in those binders have experienced.

Why does this distinction matter? After nearly 50 years of applying anti-discrimination laws, American workplaces are still dominated by white men. Men of color and all women have more access to some jobs than they used to, but the ranks of decisionmakers come nowhere close to reflecting our numbers in the nation as a whole. This is the root of the “tokenism” complaint that I hear constantly as I travel the country. Tokenism means that you can come to the meeting, but no one will pay any attention to what you say. It means that the workplace will open the door to you, as long as you look (to the extent possible) and act just like the white men who are already there. It means that you’ll get invited to the party, but you won’t be allowed to make any requests of the DJ or help set the playlist.

Read more here.