Commentary

Is President Obama the scold of black America or its empathetic prophet?
 
With his remarks at the funeral for the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney a week ago, Mr. Obama looked out onto a sea of mostly black faces — under the gaze of the nation — and addressed the topic of racism head-on.
 
“For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now,” he said without flinching.
 
It was a bittersweet moment.
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The 2016 election will be decided not just by who votes but by who stays home.

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A lot has changed since 1975. The Soviet Union collapsed, we fought (and are fighting still) several wars in the Middle East, same-sex marriage is now legal across the United States, we have our first African-American president, we have the Internet. But what has changed only minimally is the salary level for determining which "salaried" workers are entitled to overtime. Seriously.

To the delight of many black residents in Charleston, South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state's capitol grounds.

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CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Many Americans treat the United States' history of racism, and the racist sentiments that persist in the country today, as background noise. But following Wednesday's massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, that noise has gotten louder. And Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old who has been charged with murdering all nine of the victims, has become the face of this unchecked tension. 

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Charleston, S.C. -- This is how the city of Charleston handles unspeakable tragedy.

On Sunday evening, hours after Emanuel A.M.E. Church opened its doors for the first service following the killing of nine of its congregants Wednesday, thousands in Charleston took to the streets in a show of support and solidarity.

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Charleston, S.C. -- Four days after a gunman killed nine inside the basement of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, the doors were once again open to welcome congregants.

"We ask that everything be done with dignity. There will be no backpacks, fanny packs or cameras. This is for security purposes," a man doing crowd control at the church told the swarm of people assembled near the door.

Charleston police stood in the vestibule.

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Black lives matter. They matter whether they are taken at the hands of a hate-filled 21-year-old in a church prayer meeting, by a police officer who shoots a suspect he fears is armed or in a drive-by shooting on Chicago's south side.

Thirty two people are murdered by guns every day in the United States. African-Americans represent 57 percent of the victims, despite the fact they account for only 13 percent of the overall U.S. population. Homicide is the leading cause of death for Black males aged 15-34. These lives matter.

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Since America’s founding, the franchise has been dramatically expanded in waves: first, universal suffrage for all men (first, through the abolition of property ownership requirements for white men, then the 15th Amendment) then the expansion of suffrage to women and finally the Voting Rights Act, which abolished poll taxes and literacy tests.

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new paper from the think tank Demos and the NAACP examines race in the retail industry, finding major inequities between black and Latino workers on the one hand and their white counterparts on the other.

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