New Article at Change the Game

Posted: October 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | No Comments »

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Bravery, Politics, and Morality

By Chidike Okeem

The practice of calling people brave for articulating different political positions is more harmful than it is useful. It can be a toxic practice because it puts personalities at the epicenter of attention and diminishes the importance of judging the merit of ideas. It is also used effectively as a tool of manipulation. Far too many people are labeled ‘brave’ as a reward for promoting heinous ideas. What matters most is not the bravery to articulate certain political or social views, but the morality and sensibleness of the positions that people take.

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New Article at Change the Game

Posted: October 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | No Comments »

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Race-Baiting and the New ‘Willie Horton’ Ad

By Chidike Okeem

Last week, the National Republican Congressional Committee released an ad featuring a black felon named Nikko Jenkins. The ad was released in an effort to attack Democratic congressional candidate Brad Ashford’s soft-on-crime policies and to potentially stymie his bid to represent Nebraska’s second congressional district. However, the ad is exceedingly problematic, inasmuch as it helps to cement the already popular narrative of Republican tone-deafness on issues of race and ethnicity.

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New Article at Change the Game

Posted: October 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | No Comments »

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Vest or Vote: A Creation of the American Right

By Chidike Okeem

Now that the midterm elections are fast approaching, liberals are using all the fortuitous cards that conservatives have dealt them over the past two years to their political advantage. Recently, the Dream Defenders produced a video imploring black people to either vote Democratic or wear bulletproof vests to avoid being shot by the police. The ad is demonstrably hyperbolic and demagogic, but it is also effective. While one can attack the use of such an ad, reasonable analysts must admit that, given the mainstream conservative response to the uproar in Ferguson, Mo., the American right aided its creation.

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Addressing Bill O’Reilly and White Privilege

Posted: August 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | 9 Comments »

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Bill O’Reilly recently did a segment on his show pointing out the fact that he does not believe in white privilege because Asian Americans educationally outperform both whites and blacks in America—and they adhere more rigidly to a traditional family structure. What Bill O’Reilly fails to understand, however, is that changing the topic from white privilege to an irrelevant discussion of Asian Americans’ successes does not refute the existence of white privilege. One cannot disprove the existence of white privilege by pointing out that other minority groups do well in America. All it shows is that, through hard work and determination, it is possible to overcome discrimination and reach the top. But that is not a statement that most people, except the most extreme left-wingers, contend against.

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Michael Brown, Ferguson, and Black Attitudes to Policing

Posted: August 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | No Comments »

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Michael Brown, an 18-year-old who was a few days away from starting college, was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri—a region with a prominent African-American population. The circumstances surrounding his death are still unclear; however, eyewitnesses have said that Michael Brown had his hands in the air when he was shot dead. As a result of the killing of Michael Brown, the city of Ferguson has been in uproar, and the anti-police sentiment is palpable. While most of the protesters have been peaceful, there have been some opportunists who used the disarray as an opportunity to steal from stores throughout the neighborhood. Of course, those who revel in presenting the worst images of black America have obsessively focused on the looting—as if the looting by some makes Brown’s death justifiable.

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