In the red-hot debate over immigration, myth too often takes the place of truth. It is easier to rouse fears than it is to find common ground. It is time to step back, take a deep breath and reflect before we react.
The truth is often distorted in ways that feed our divisions. For example, many contrast this generation of immigration with the Europeans who came at the beginning of the last century. That generation, we are told, came legally, whereas this generation of immigrants is coming illegally. That generation learned the language, whereas this one is writing the National Anthem in Spanish.
When Ted Hayes announced his intention to join with the White supremacist Minutemen organization, he became the latest in a long line of opportunists, fortune seekers and ordinary Uncle Toms who are willing to do the bidding of Black America's enemies.
In 1952, the United States passed the Immigration and Nationality Act. The law created various categories for non-immigrants' entry into the country. One of these was the H-2 program for temporary workers.
In the 1950s, the U.S. Virgin Islands used the H-2 program to allow unskilled workers from various neighboring islands to work in the agricultural and tourist industries. The best-laid plans being what they are, by the 1960s these temporary workers were being employed for any and every job on the islands. By the end of the decade, these guest workers accounted for almost half of the entire work force.
The National Urban League recently released its annual report on the status of Black Americans. The report features the "Equality Index," a statistical measurement of disparities or "equality gaps" between Blacks and Whites across five key areas. The index gives a unique picture of how Black America is doing, and it shows how far we still have to go.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans public schools are being re-invented, but they are not being rebuilt as the kind of centralized public institution most Americans would recognize.
The New Orleans School District had been in financial and academic crisis before Katrina. Then after the hurricane's devastation, the state of Louisiana took over 102 of the 117 Orleans Parish schools, the schools Louisiana had previously ranked as academically failing. The district terminated 7,500 staff in December.
Joseph Booker, M.D., is an African American gynecologist in Jackson, Miss., home to that state's only abortion clinic.
He goes to work under police escort, wearing a bulletproof vest. Booker is right to be prudent. At any moment he could be killed by people who call themselves pro-life.
The battle continues to rage over whether illegal immigrants are the major cause of double-digit joblessness among poor, unskilled young Black males.
Recently, I was at a restaurant with a group of friends eating some great food. I was chowing down on some barbecue chicken pizza, and the only thing at the table that was better than that was the conversation of both old and new friends.
There were many topics of conversation, one of which was the employment of teen-age Blacks. There was no short supply of opinions, but I quickly realized that there was a short supply of parents. Only two people at the table had any children.
As a dusty haze settles over her trailer, Judy sits alone on the wooden steps outside her door. She's taking a break while her 11-month-old granddaughter, Myan, sleeps. The child has been sick with a respiratory ailment made worse by the dust that comes through the trailer's vents.