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       Rawman the puppet that's a critic, not a critic that's a puppet                                    .© 2003 Charles Mingus III AKA ED

"We don't know who discovered water but we can
 be pretty sure it wasn't a fish" -- Marshal McLuen

 By Tim Wise

Ask a fish what water is and you'll get no answer. Even if fish were
capable of speech, they would likely have no explanation for the element
they swim in every minute of every day of their lives. Water simply is.
Fish take it for granted.

So too with this thing we hear so much about, "racial preference."

While many whites seem to think the notion originated with affirmative
action programs, intended to expand opportunities for historically
marginalized people of color, racial preference has actually had a long
and very white history.

Affirmative action for whites was embodied in the abolition of European indentured servitude, which left black (and occasionally indigenous) slaves as the only unfree labor in the colonies that
would become the U.S.

Affirmative action for whites was the essence of the 1790 Naturalization
Act, which allowed virtually any European immigrant to become a full
citizen, even while blacks, Asians and American Indians could not.

Affirmative action for whites was the guiding principle of segregation,
Asian exclusion laws, and the theft of half of Mexico for the fulfillment
of Manifest Destiny.

In recent history, affirmative action for whites motivated racially
restrictive housing policies that helped 15 million white families procure
homes with FHA loans from the 1930s to the '60s, while people of color
were mostly excluded from the same programs.

In other words, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that white America is
the biggest collective recipient of racial preference in the history of
the cosmos. It has skewed our laws, shaped our public policy and helped
create the glaring inequalities with which we still live.

White families, on average, have a net worth that is 11 times the net
worth of black families, according to a recent study; and this gap remains
substantial even when only comparing families of like size, composition,
education and income status.

A full-time black male worker in 2003 makes less in real dollar terms than
similar white men were earning in 1967. Such realities are not merely
indicative of the disadvantages faced by blacks, but indeed are evidence
of the preferences afforded whites - a demarcation of privilege that is
the necessary flipside of discrimination.

Indeed, the value of preferences to whites over the years is so enormous
that the current baby-boomer generation of whites is currently in the
process of inheriting between $7-10 trillion in assets from their parents
and grandparents - property handed down by those who were able to
accumulate assets at a time when people of color by and large could not.

To place this in the proper perspective, we should note that this amount
of money is more than all the outstanding mortgage debt, all the credit
card debt, all the savings account assets, all the money in IRAs and 401k
retirement plans, all the annual profits for U.S. manufacturers, and our
entire merchandise trade deficit combined.

Yet few whites have ever thought of our position as resulting from racial preferences. Indeed, we pride ourselves on our hard work
 and ambition, as if somehow we invented the concepts.

As if we have worked harder than the folks who were forced to pick
cotton and build levies for free; harder than the Latino immigrants
 who spend 10 hours a day in fields picking strawberries or tomatoes; harder than the (mostly) women of color who clean hotel rooms or
change bedpans in hospitals, or the (mostly) men of color who collect
our garbage.

We strike the pose of self-sufficiency while ignoring the advantages
we have been afforded in every realm of activity: housing, education,
employment, criminal justice, politics, banking and business. We ignore
the fact that at almost every turn, our hard work has been met with
access to an opportunity structure denied to millions of others. Privilege,
 to us, is like water to the fish: invisible precisely because we cannot
imagine life without it.

It is that context that best explains the duplicity of the President's
recent criticisms of affirmative action at the University of Michigan.

President Bush, himself a lifelong recipient of affirmative action - the
kind set aside for the mediocre rich - recently proclaimed that the
school's policies were examples of unfair racial preference. Yet in doing
so he not only showed a profound ignorance of the Michigan policy, but
made clear the inability of yet another white person to grasp the magnitude
of white privilege still in operation.

The President attacked Michigan's policy of awarding 20 points
(on a 150-point evaluation scale) to undergraduate applicants
 who are members of underrepresented minorities (which at U
of M means blacks, Latinos and American Indians).
To many whites such a "preference" is blatantly discriminatory.

Bush failed to mention that greater numbers of points are
 awarded for other things that amount to preferences for
whites to the exclusion of people of color.

For example, Michigan awards 20 points to any student from a
 low-income background, regardless of race. Since these points cannot be combined with those for minority status (in other
 words poor blacks don't get 40 points), in effect this is a
preference for poor whites.

Then Michigan awards 16 points to students who hail from the
Upper Peninsula of the state: a rural, largely isolated, and almost completely white area.

Of course both preferences are fair, based as they are on the recognition
that economic status and even geography (as with race) can have a profound effect on the quality of K-12 schooling that one receives, and
that no one should be punished for things that are beyond their control.

 But note that such preferences - though disproportionately awarded to whites - remain uncriticized, while preferences for people of color
become the target for reactionary anger.

Once again, white preference remains hidden because
it is more subtle, more ingrained, and isn't called white preference, even if that's the effect.

But that's not all. Ten points are awarded to students who attended
top-notch high schools, and another eight points are given to students
 who took an especially demanding AP and honors curriculum.

As with points for those from the Upper Peninsula, these preferences
may be race-neutral in theory, but in practice they are anything but.

Because of intense racial isolation (and Michigan's schools are the
most segregated in America for blacks, according to research by the Harvard Civil Rights Project), students of color will rarely attend the
 "best" schools, and on average, schools serving mostly black and
Latino students offer only a third as many AP and honors courses as schools serving mostly whites.

So even truly talented students of color will be unable to access those
extra points simply because of where they live, their economic status
and ultimately their race, which is intertwined with both.

Four more points are awarded to students who have a parent who attended the U of M: a kind of affirmative action with which the
President is intimately familiar, and which almost exclusively goes
 to whites.

Ironically, while alumni preference could work toward the interest of
diversity if combined with aggressive race-based affirmative action
(by creating a larger number of black and brown alums), the rollback
of the latter, combined with the almost guaranteed retention of the
 former, will only further perpetuate white preference.

So the U of M offers 20 "extra" points to the typical black, Latino or
indigenous applicant, while offering various combinations worth up to
 58 extra points for students who will almost all be white. But while the
first of these are seen as examples of racial preferences, the second
are not,hidden as they are behind the structure of social inequities that
 limit where people live, where they go to school, and the kinds of opportunities they have been afforded. White preferences, the result of
the normal workings of a racist society, can remain out of sight and out
of mind,while the power of the state is turned against the paltry preferences meant to offset them.

Very telling is the oft-heard comment by whites,
"If I had only been black I would have gotten into
 my first-choice college."

Such a statement not only ignores the fact that whites are more likely
than members of any other group - even with affirmative action in place -
to get into their first-choice school, but it also presumes, as anti-racist activist Paul Marcus explains, "that if these whites were black, everything else about their life would have remained the same."
In other words, that it would have made no negative difference as to
where they went to school, what their family income was, or anything
The ability to believe that being black would have made no difference  (other than a beneficial one when it came time for college), and that
being white has itself: the privilege that allows one to not have to
think about race on a daily basis; to not have one's intelligence questioned by best- selling books; to not have to worry about
being viewed as a "out of place" when driving,shopping, buying a
 home,or for that matter, attending the University of Michigan.
So long as those privileges remain firmly in place and the preferential
treatment that flows from those privileges continues to work to the
benefit of whites, all talk of ending affirmative action is not only
premature but a slap in the face to those who have fought, and died,
for equal opportunity.
Tim Wise:is an antiracist activist, essayist and lecturer.
 Send email to mailto: timjwise@m
No bones about it there is a lot to chew on, although some will spit out a snappy retort before actually thinking what
is actually in this text because there is so moch invested in doing so . do me a favor Please send your comments to
the authors I am tired of your excusesYou Know who you are. tell them not me.
One more Forward

Clayton  wrote  Forwarded:Re: Iraqi prostitutes back on the streets after Saddam

10 Greatest Lies About Black History

1. The Tale Of Tarzan - This is the belief that African people were totally uncivilized until whites came in and conquered them. False.

2. Free Whites, Black Slaves - 20 Africans landed at Jamestown, Virginia, in August 1619, a year before the arrival of the Mayflower.
They were free. When the pilgrims arrived, they came with indentured servants, i.e. white slaves. Some of the first whites were slaves.

( 60 % died each year of poor treatment. Visit Plymouth Plantation on
the web. John Smith Makes Saddam Husane look like Walt Disney. ED.)

3. The Immaculate White Creation - The belief that America was the exclusive creation of Europeans.

Africans were actually the first explorers of America. When the first Spanish and French explorers entered America, they noted that Africans were living among the Indians.

4. Sambo in Wonderland - Although the shiftless shuck and jive Sambo image has been exploited, most slaves responded to slavery with tremendous resistance, often resorting to the ultimate rebellion suicide.

5. The Great Emancipator - The Emancipation Proclamation did not
free the slaves, nor was it intended to. That document was written in a
way that it left 95% of the slaves in bondage. Our people were actually
freed by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified
on December18,1865.

6. The Black Family Myth - Believe it or not, according to plantation
 records, most blacks during slavery grew up with a mother and a father.
In fact, all the way through Jim Crow, census reports show the black
family was every bit as stable as those in White America. This dispels
the myth that the majority of our people came from families ripped apart
 by slavery.

7. The Missing Economic Gene - There is an overwhelming belief that
there is no black business tradition. By the American Revolution, there
were scores of prominent Black business leaders, including Samuel
Fraunces, owner of New York' s Fraunces's Tavern, the favorite watering
 hole of George Washington, and James Forten, who employed 40 workers,
 Black and White, in his Philadelphia sail factory.

8. Fairy tale of White Generosity - The majority of black slaves reached
freedom because of internal giving within the race, not white generosity.
 By 1831 there were more than 43 Black benevolent or mutual aid
societies in Philadelphia alone, runned by free blacks.

[ The  first Orphanages and Public Schools in America were created by black salves
or freed men in NYC the heat of slavery, The origin of slavery was in the Dutch Colonies
of the North Not the Plantations of the south. It was slaves who built 5 Th Ave cobble
stone by cobble stone (from the  mountain of Granite that was once where N.Y.C.'s
Central Park is today )to the Battery & 2 Freed men lived in 4 Corners and built all
 3 of Little Italy's 3 Churches .ED.]

9. Crabs in a Barrel - We have been generalized as a people who
continually try to pull each other down.

False. In every era of our history, you'll see prominent black leaders and businessmen who had full support of the people.

10. Myth of the Absent Black Worker - We have been labeled as a lazy
 people. However, the wealth of this country was founded on what Abraham
Lincoln called "the 250 years of unrequited toil" of Black men and women.

Paraphrased from: Bennett, Lerone Jr, 10 biggest lies about black history. , Ebony, 05-01-2001, pp 86.

 Posted by hardCore at September 10, 2002 12:59 PM
Comments Thanks very much for the insight. It's good to be reminded who and
 what we are surrounded by.

Posted by: Shelena [e] on  September 11, 2002 01:08 PM
Thank you so much for writing about this. I take an AP History course and all
 we do is study about Americans and their settlement in America.
Contrary to popular belief even the founding fathers were maliscious people
 (note the sons of liberty). But as a Hawaiian/Black I tremendously appreciate
 the brief history you have shared. And as a comment to #10 I agree with you
completely, how could Africans be lazy people? Who would want a lazy slave?

Posted by: Siris [e] on September 10, 2002 11:20 PM
There is a great book that expansively dispels the myth about the Black family. It is titled "The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom 1750 - 1925"
 by Herbert Gutman

Thought 4 The Day: 10 greatest lies about black history
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We don't need no stinking indexes

This excerpt of the book is in gezer frendly big print!!!
   The article below, taken from the  , is excepted from Michae
 Moore's new best selling book "Stupid White Men" (currently #1 on NY
 Times list),

"Stupid  White Men"2
by: Michael Moore
The Guardian, Saturday March 30, 2002

I don't know what it is, but every time I see a white guy walking
towards me, I tense up. My heart starts racing, and I immediately
begin to look for  an escape route and a means to defend myself.
I kick myself for even being  in this part of town after dark. Didn't
 Inotice the suspicious gangs of white people lurking on every
street corner, drinking Starbucks and wearing  their gang colors
of Gap turquoise or J Crew mauve? What an idiot!

Now the  white person is coming closer, closer  and then  whew!
He walks by without  harming me, and I breathe a sigh of relief.
 White people scare the crap out of me.
This may be hard for you to understand considering that I
 am white  but then again, my color gives  me a certain insight.
For instance, I find myself pretty scary a lot of the time, so I know
what I'm talking about. You can take my word for it: if you  find your
self suddenly surrounded by white people, you better watch
out.  Anything can happen. As white people, we've been lulled
 into thinking  it's  safe to be around other white people.

We've been taught since birth that it's the people of that other
color we need to fear. They're the ones who'll slit your throat!

Yet as I look back on my life, a strange but unmistakable pattern
 seems to emerge. Every person who has ever harmed me in my
lifetime  the boss who  fired me, the teacher who flunked me, the
 principal who punished me, the kid who hit me in the eye with a
 rock, the executive who didn't renew TV Nation, the guy who was
 stalking me for three years, the accountant who double paid my
 taxes, the drunk who smashed into me, the burglar who stole my
 stereo, the contractor who overcharged me, the girlfriend who left
me, the next girlfriend who left even sooner, the person in the office
 who stole checks  from my checkbook and wrote them out to
himself for a total of $16,000 every one of these individuals has
been a white person.

Coincidence?  I think  not.

I have never been attacked by a black person, never been evicted
 by a black person, never had my security deposit ripped off by a
black landlord, never had a black landlord, never had a meeting
at a Hollywood studio with a black executive in charge, never had
 a black person deny my child the college of her choice, never
been puked on by a black teenager at a Mötley  Crüe concert,
never been pulled over by a black cop, never been sold a lemon
 by a black car salesman, never seen a black car salesman, never
 had a black person deny me a bank loan, and I've never heard a
 black person say, "We're going to eliminate 10,000 jobs here have
 a nice day!"

I don't think that I'm the only white guy who can make these claims.
Every mean word, every cruel act, every bit of pain and suffering in
 my life has had a Caucasian face attached to it.

So, um, why is it exactly that I should be afraid of black people?

I look around at the world I live in  and, I hate to tell tales out of
school, but it's not the African Americans who have made this
planet such a pitiful, scary place. Recently, a headline on the
front of the Science section of the New York Times asked Who
 Built The H Bomb? The article went on to discuss a dispute
between the men who claim credit for making the first bomb.
Frankly, I could have cared less  because I already know the
only pertinent answer: "It was a white guy!" No black guy ever
 built or used a bomb designed to wipe out hordes of innocent
people, whether in Oklahoma City, Columbine or Hiroshima.
No, friends, it's always the white guy. Let's go to the tote

* Who gave us the black plague? A white guy.

* Who invented PBC, PVC, PBB, and a host of chemicals that
are killing us? White guys.

* Who has started every war America has been in? White men.

* Who invented the punch card ballot? A white man.

* Whose idea was it to pollute the world with the internal  
 combustion engine? Whitey, that's who.

* The Holocaust? That guy really gave white people a bad name.

* The genocide of Native Americans? White man.

* Slavery?  Whitey!

* US companies laid off more than 700,000 people in 2001.
 Who ordered the layoffs? White CEOs. That's who.

You name the problem, the disease, the human suffering, or the
 abject misery  visited upon millions,and I'll bet you 10 bucks I can
 put a white face on it faster than you can name the members of

And yet, when I turn on the news each night, what do I see again
 and again?  Black men alleged to be killing, raping, mugging,
 stabbing, gangbanging, looting, rioting, selling drugs, pimping,
 ho-ing, having too many babies, fatherless, motherless, Godless,
penniless. "The suspect is described as a black male... the suspect
is described as a black male..... " No matter what city I'm in, the
news is always the same, the suspect always the same unidentified
black male.

I'm in Atlanta tonight, and I swear the police sketch of the black
male suspect on TV looks just like the black male suspect I saw
 on the news last night in Denver and the night before in LA. In
every sketch he's frowning, he's menacing  and he's wearing the
 same knit cap! Is it possible that  it's the same black guy
committing every crime in America?

I believe we've become so used to this image of the black man as
predator that we are forever ruined by this brainwashing. In my
 first film, "Roger & Me", a white woman on social security clubs
 a rabbit to death so that she can sell him as "meat" instead of
 as a pet.

 I wish I had a nickel for every time in the past 10 years
 that someone has come up to me and told me how "horrified"
 they were when they saw that "poor little cute bunny" bonked
 on the head. The scene, they say, made them physically sick.

The Motion Picture Association of America gave Roger & Me an
R [18] rating in response to that rabbit killing. Teachers write to
me and say they have to edit that part out of the film, if they want
 to show it to their students.

But less than two minutes after the bunny lady does her deed,
I included footage of a scene in which police in Flint, Michigan,
 shot a black man who was wearing a Superman cape and
holding a plastic toy gun.

Not once , not ever ,has anyone said to me,
"I can't believe you showed a black man being
shot in your movie!

 How horrible! How disgusting!
I couldn't sleep for weeks."
 After all, he was just a black man, not a cute, cuddly bunny.

The ratings board (The Motion Picture Association of America)
saw absolutely nothing wrong with that scene.

 Or dosnt want you to see any thing wrong with the
sceen whis is more the case. ED.

Why? Because it's normal, natural.We've become so accustomed
 to seeing black men killed  in the movies and on the evening news
that we now accept it as standard operating procedure. No big deal!
That's what blacks do kill and die. Ho-hum. Pass the butter.

It's odd that, despite the fact that most crimes are committed by
whites, black faces are usuallyattached to what we think of as
 "crime". Ask any white person who they fear might break into their
home or harm them on the street and, if they're honest, they'll
admit that the person they have in mind doesn't look much like them.
 The imaginary criminal in their heads looks like Mookie or Hakim
 or Kareem, not little freckle faced Jimmy.

No matter how many times their fellow whites make it clear that the
 white man is the one to fear, it simply fails to register. Every time
 you turn on the TV to news of another school shooting, it's always
a white kid who's conducting the massacre. Every time they catch
 a serial killer, it's a crazy white guy. Every time a terrorist blows
 up a federal building, or a madman gets 400 people to drink
 Kool-Aid, or a Beach Boys songwriter casts  a spell causing
half a dozen nymphets to murder "all the piggies"
 in  the Hollywood Hills, you know it's a member of the white race
 up to his old tricks.

So why don't we run like hell when we see whitey coming toward us?

Why don't we ever greet the Caucasian job applicant with, "Gee,
 uh, I'm sorry,  there aren't any positions available right now"?

Why aren't we worried sick about our daughters marrying
white guys?

And why isn't Congress trying to ban the scary and offensive
lyrics of Johnny Cash ("I shot a man in Reno/just to watch him
 die"), the Dixie Chicks ("Earl had to die"), or Bruce Springsteen
 ("I killed everything in my path/I can't say that I'm sorry for the
 things that we done").

Why the focus on rap lyrics? Why doesn't the media print lyrics
 such as the following, and tell the truth? "I sold bottles of sorrow,
then chose poems and novels" (Wu-Tang Clan); "People use yo'
brain to gain" (Ice Cube); "A poor single mother on welfare...
tell me how ya did it" (Tupac Shakur); "I'm trying to change my
life, see I don't wanna die a sinner" (Master P).

African- Americans have been on the lowest rung of the
 economic ladder since the day they were dragged here
 in chains.
Every other immigrant group has been able to advance from
the bottom to the higher levels of our society.

Even Native Americans, who are among the poorest of the poor,
 have fewer children living in poverty than African-Americans.

You probably thought things had got better for blacks in
 this country.

After all, considering the advances we've made eliminating racism
 in our society, one would think our black citizens might have seen
 their standard of living rise.

 A survey published in the Washington Post in July 2001
showed that  40% - 60% of white people thought the average
 black person had it as good or better than the average white

Think again.
 According to a study conducted by the economists
Richard Vedder, Lowell Gallaway and David C Clingaman,
the average income for a  black American is 61% less per
year than the average white income.

That is the same percentage difference as
it wasin 1880.Not a damned thing has
changed in more than 120 years.

Want more proof? Consider the following:

* Black heart attack patients are far less likely than whites
to undergo cardiac catheterisation, regardless of the
race of their doctors.

* Whites are five times more likely than blacks
 to receive emergency clot-busting treatment after suffering
 a stroke.

* Black women are four times more likely than white women
 to die while giving birth.

* Black levels of unemployment have been roughly twice
 those of whites since 1954.

So how have we white people been able to get away with
 this? Caucasian ingenuity! You see, we used to be real
 dumb. Like idiots, we wore our racism on our sleeve. We
 did really obvious things,like putting up signs on rest room
 doors that said WHITES ONLY.

 We made black people sit at the back of the bus.
 We prevented them from attending our schools
 or living in our neighbourhoods.

They got the crappiest jobs (those advertised for
 NEGROES ONLY), and we made it clear that, if you weren't
 white, you were going to be paid a lower wage.

Well, this overt, over the top segregation got us into a
 heap of
trouble. A bunch of uppity lawyers went to court. They
pointed out that the 14th Amendment doesn't allow for
 anyone to be treated differently because of their race.
 Eventually, after a long procession of court losses,
 demonstrations and riots, we got the message:
if you're going to be a successful racist, better
find a way to do it with a smile on your face.

We even got magnanimous enough to say, "Sure, you
can live here in our neighbourhood; your kids can go
to our kids' school. Why the hell not? We were just
leaving, anyway." We smiled, gave black America a
pat on the back and then ran like the devil
 to the suburbs.

At work, we whites still get the plum jobs, double the
 pay, and a seat in the front of the bus to happiness
and success.

We've rigged the system from birth, guaranteeing
that black people will go to the worst schools,
thus preventing them from admission to the
best colleges, and paving their way to a fulfilling
life making our caffe lattes, servicing our BMWs,
 and picking up our trash.

Oh, sure, a few slip by but they pay an extra tariff for the
privilege: the black doctor driving his BMW gets pulled
 over continually by the cops; the black Broadway
actress can't get a cab after the standing ovation;
the black broker is the first to be laid off because of

We whites really deserve some kind of
genius award for this.

 We talk the talk of inclusion, we celebrate the birthday
of Dr King, we frown upon racist jokes. We never fail
to drop a mention of"my friend  he's black..." We make
 sure we put our lone black employee up at the front
reception desk so we can say, "See we don't
discriminate. We hire black people."

Yes, we are a very crafty, cagey race and damn if
we haven't got awaywith  it!

I wonder how long we will have to live with the legacy
 of slavery.
That's right. I brought it up.SLAVERY. You can
almost hear the groans of white America whenever
you bring up the fact thatwe still suffer from the impact
of the slave system.
Well, I'm sorry,but the roots of most of our social
 ills can be traced straight back to this sick chapter
 of our history.

African-Americans never got a chance to
 have the same fair start that the rest of
us got.
Their families were wilfully destroyed, their
 language and culture and religion stripped
 from them. Their poverty was institutionalised
 so that our cotton could get picked, our wars
could be fought, our convenience stores could
remain open all night.

The America we've come to know would never
have come to pass if not for the millions of slaves
 who built it and created its booming economy
and for the millions of their descendants who
do the same dirty work for whites today.

It's not as if we're talking ancient Rome here.
My grandfather was born just three years after
 the Civil War.

That's right, my grandfather. My great uncle
 was born before the Civil War.
 And I'm only in my 40s. Sure, people in my family
seem to marry late, but the truth remains:  I'm just
two generations  from slave times.

 That, my friends, is not a "long time ago". In the
 vast breadth of human history, it was only yesterday.

Until we realize that, and accept that we
do have a responsibility to correct an
immoral act that still has repercussions
today, we will never remove the single
greatest stain on the soul of our country.

(c) Michael Moore, 2002.http://MichaelMoore.com/

Not Stupid White Men

-Original Message-----
From: worker-brc-news@lists.tao.ca
Sent: Jueves, 11 de Octubre de 2001 04:56
To: brc-news@lists.tao.ca

Subject: [BRC-NEWS]
 Even In The Ruins, Race Matters


The Black World Today  September 27, 2001
 Even In The Ruins, Race Matters By  Playthell Benjamin

One morning a few days after the terrorist attack on the
 World Trade Center a young Afro-American woman called in to
 C-Span and asked whether all the talk about the new  unity
of purpose being forged in the fires of adversity would survive
 after the state of emergency had passed, "or will racism still be
 here?" Judging by the phone calls that  ensued many listeners,
this writer included, thought it a  naive question.

Of course racism will be with us long after this incident recedes  into
memory, most callers argued. And after listening to James' story,
 (he asked that his last name not be used) one of the few African
American men working on the site, that naivete seems magnified.

"There is racism all over down in the disaster area," he
says "and it's blatant too!"

Perhaps, along with a history of racist exclusion in the uniform services
 and the building trades, that's why we observe a sea of white faces
every time we are given a tour of the site on TV. "See, part of the
 problem is that there are a lot of out of town guys that they have
put in authoritative positions, and they don't know how to deal with
diverse races because many of them come from all white towns
around the country where they  have never had to deal with black
 and Hispanic people."

According to James the problem for black construction workers,
who are a small percentage of the rescue force,begins when they
 approach the site. "There are thousands of workers down there,
and to enter the site you have to go through armed checkpoints,"
 he says," one guy will ask you for your ID and another guy standing
two feet from him watching the " And he was quick to point that this
was the  attitude of the armed white men securing ground zero
whether they were military or civilian cops.

"If you are my color," James says, pointing to his rich ebony colored
 skin, "you can see the pure racism on their faces." However light
brown skin Hispanics and Afro-Americans are encountering even
 bigger problems.

 "But if you are just dark enough to be an Arab, then you really got a
 problem. My cousin is light skin and he gets a lot of hassles.

"When we walk through check points it's usually three of us and we all
 have the same union issue and state ID's, but they let us pass and pull
 him aside. He and I have the same last name but that doesn't matter;
sometimes they detain him for ten minutes or more just checking out
his ID. But while they be checking us out to the max, always calling in
supervisors to double check our ID's, the white boys just flash their
cards and walk on through."

Work clothes have been donated to the rescue workers insuch
abundance that the site managers are giving them away to workers.
 But James tells us "If you are black and walking off the site with one
 of the big bags they give you to carry the work gear you are asking
 for trouble. We often get stopped leaving the site. A crowd of black
 and white workers can approach the security people with bags and
they pull the black workers over, like they suspect us of looting or

 I mean their whole body language during the interrogation is
aggressive, looking us up and down with their hands on their guns.
It's really annoying, seems like every single day there's something.
But you just look past it because we've got a serious job to do.
 But we talk about it all the time amongst ourselves."

The real drag about all the suspicion of looting is that James has
witnessed white cops looting.
Recently some media talking heads were expressing disbelief that any
 of "these heroes could be engaged in looting." Perhaps that's why they
are not reporting incidents like the one James describes: "See, there are
 still a lot of stores in the disaster area that have broken windows and at
night some of these areas are without lights. So it's a thieves paradise
except there aren't suppose to be any thieves out there, and it would be
nearly impossible for them to get off the site with there loot. But the other
 night I saw six white cops get busted with several Rolex wrist watches
 that they had stolen from an expensive shop in the financial district.
I saw this happen but I have not seen a word of it on television!"

Having gone into the Navy right out of high school, where he was a
basketball star with college scholarship offers, James has recently
returned to civilian life and is resuming his education. Since his college
is located in the disaster area, he is not falling behind in his classes.
A  sensitiveand intelligent young man who is barely twenty, James is
highly conscious of the role misguided American foreign policy has
contributed to the rise of militant Islam.

The aircraft carrier on which he was assigned once steamed to the
 Persian Gulf and participated in an action against Iraq.
 At the time he didn't understand the purpose of the mission but as
a flight director on deck "I saw the weapons director load the planes
with weapons and they came back empty."This experience has made
 him skeptical of what the media or government tells us about what's
 going on in the world, and he is far less hawkish than the politicians
calling for the invasion of Afghanistan.

After spending many hours digging through the rubble Jamesbelieves
that the final toll maybe exceed the present estimate of around 6,400
casualties. As the stench of death grows more pronounced with each
 passing day at the site,James finds that his military training helps him
 to cope with the grotesque reality that now consumes twelve hours of
his day. "The smell of rotting bodies is getting so bad that they may
eventually have to evacuate some parts of this city," he says. "Right
 now some of the guys I'm working with are getting sick because they
can't eat their lunch after smelling the stench. But the military trained
me to cope with a situation where mass killing was taking place."

Copyright (c) 2001 The Black World Today. All Rights Reserved.

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