Monday, July 22, 2013

  • As Protests Continue over Verdict, Obama Says "Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me 35 Years Ago"

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    Thousands of demonstrators gathered in dozens of cities nationwide on Saturday to continue protesting the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin. On Friday, President Barack Obama surprised reporters in the White House briefing room by delivering his first public remarks on the death of Trayvon Martin since the acquittal of George Zimmerman. "When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. And another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago," Obama said. "There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me." We also air comments made by Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, at a rally in New York City on Friday.

  • Cornel West: Obama’s Response to Trayvon Martin Case Belies Failure to Challenge "New Jim Crow"

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    For a response to President Obama’s comments on the acquittal of George Zimmerman and racism in the United States, we’re joined by Dr. Cornel West, professor at Union Theological Seminary and author of numerous books. On Obama’s remarks comparing himself to Trayvon Martin, West says: "Will that identification hide and conceal the fact there’s a criminal justice system in place that has nearly destroyed two generations of precious, poor black and brown brothers? [Obama] hasn’t said a word until now — five years in office and can’t say a word about a 'new Jim Crow.' … Obama and [Attorney General Eric] Holder — will they come through at the federal level for Trayvon Martin? We hope so — [but] don’t hold your breath. There’s going to be many people who say, 'We see this president is not serious about the criminalizing of poor people.'"

  • Censoring Howard Zinn: Former Indiana Gov. Tried to Remove "A People’s History" from State Schools

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    Newly disclosed emails obtained by the Associated Press show former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels sought to remove Howard Zinn’s work from state classrooms just weeks after the historian’s death in 2010. Zinn’s many books include the classic, "A People’s History of the United States," which sold more than a million copies and is still used in high schools and colleges across the country. In an email exchange with top Indiana education officials, Daniels wrote, "This terrible anti-American academic has finally passed away." After he described "A People’s History" as a "truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page," Daniels asked: "Can someone assure me that it is not in use anywhere in Indiana? If it is, how do we get rid of it before more young people are force-fed a totally false version of our history?" Daniels’ comments have sparked outrage within the academic world in part because he recently became the president of Purdue University in Indiana. We’re joined by two guests: Anthony Arnove, the co-editor with Zinn of "Voices of a People’s History of the United States," a critically acclaimed primary-source companion to Zinn’s best-seller; and Dr. Cornel West, professor at Union Theological Seminary.

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