Race Round Up

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Confront racism, leader tells union

The state's top union leader, concerned that some white voters will not vote for Barack Obama because he is black, issued an impassioned plea to union members yesterday to confront racism on the campaign trail.

Speaking to politicians and pipefitters alike, Massachusetts AFL-CIO president Robert Haynes brought the audience to its feet at the Greater Boston Central Labor Council's annual Labor Day breakfast. He surprised many union members by delivering an unusually direct speech on the sensitive issue of racism, echoing concerns from other union leaders nationwide.

"Barack Obama's skin color isn't what matters in this election," Haynes told more than 350 people who gathered for bacon and eggs at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston. "I'll be damned, and I know you'll be damned, if I let racism . . . scare this country into voting for John McCain." Haynes followed US Senator John Kerry, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and union leaders who also urged workers to vote and campaign for Obama, citing the urgency of the election and the fact that Democrats have lost the last two presidential contests.
McCain Campaign Fumes Over Paterson's Racism Claim

At the Crain's Business Forum this morning, Paterson drew attention to a phrase used numerous times by speakers at the Republican National Convention to describe Barack Obama's leadership experience: community organizer.

"I think the Republican Party is too smart to call Barack Obama 'black' in a sense that it would be a negative. But you can take something about his life, which I noticed they did at the Republican Convention – a 'community organizer.' They kept saying it, they kept laughing," he said.
Racism in reel life

When he was a seventh-grader in Michigan, the teenager who would grow up to become Malcolm X went to the movies to see "Gone With the Wind." Many years later, he recounted what happened:

"I was the only Negro in the theatre, and when Butterfly McQueen went into her act, I felt like crawling under the rug," he wrote in "The Autobiography of Malcolm X."
We can all do our part to fight racism

On Sunday, Sept. 7, The Sentinel printed an advertisement with the signatures of more than 2,600 people who protested the racial slur painted on a northside family’s driveway, and who committed to be anti-racist in their personal and community lives. What are some ways we could do this?
Racism Is Charged of Opponents of Voting Rights for Noncitizens

He suggested that those opposed to giving noncitizens the right to vote might be motivated by racism, and noted that in the early years of American history noncitizens were allowed to vote. That ended after World War I.

"This was the law in the United States of America for many, many years and why don't they support it now? Is it what somebody said earlier — because if you look at the skin complexion of the immigrants now they are mainly people of color versus 100 years ago, when they mainly were white," he said. "These are questions that people have to start asking."