Anti-Black Terrorism in Charleston, South Carolina

Posted: June 19th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | 14 Comments »

In Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015, a 21-year-old named Dylann Storm Roof opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church killing nine people who were engaged in Bible study. This was done after an hour of Roof sitting in the study and listening to the preacher, Clementa C. Pickney, who was one of the nine people killed. The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is of particular historical significance inasmuch as Denmark Vesey, a noted abolitionist, was one of the people who helped to found the church, and it has been a refuge for African Americans for centuries. This is not just a race-motivated hate crime, but it is an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated against black churchgoers—a norm in American history.

The killer’s age, 21, is highly noteworthy. His age should completely end the outlandish fiction that white supremacists are all old and dying off. The fact of the matter is that white supremacy is an ideology that is easily passed down; Dylann Roof is indisputable evidence of its ease of generational permeability. White supremacists continue to espouse their ideas and cultural norms—and those ideas continue to be transmitted to future generations. The suggestion that white supremacy can be ended by old people dying out is a recipe for its continued existence.

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The ‘Freedom of Speech’ Farce

Posted: June 11th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | 1 Comment »

The idea of freedom of speech is perhaps one of the most overused—and abused—constitutional concepts in American society today. Whenever someone is justifiably criticized for using offensive speech, the First Amendment right to free speech is almost invariably cited. The first point that many seem to show immense difficulty understanding is that the Constitution restricts the actions of the government when dealing with citizens. Breathlessly citing the constitutional right to free speech outside of the correct context of addressing the government’s desire to quash the speech of citizens is nonsensical. Moreover, it is generally those who cite “freedom of speech” whenever people disagree with their offensive speech who are trying to shut down debate. People have the right to make offensive remarks, just as others have the right to say that those remarks are abhorrent. Dissenting speech is also a part of free speech. Many think that free speech entitles them to say offensive things without having to deal with the consequences of anyone being offended. While the Constitution protects the right to offend, the Constitution does not protect people from censure and other social consequences of being deliberately offensive.

Recently, in McKinney, Texas—a part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex—a bikini-clad teenage girl, Dajerria Becton, who was attending a pool party with her friends, was manhandled by an overly aggressive police officer, David Eric Casebolt. Casebolt wrestled her to the floor, handcuffed her, and placed his knee on her back. The incident was filmed by an intrepid white teenager, Brandon Moore. From the footage, it is clear that there is no conceivable way that it can be argued that she posed a threat to the officer. It is also clear that his use of force was utterly unnecessary and barbarically excessive. The video evidence was so damning that Casebolt resigned from his job as an officer. In the wake of this incident of police brutality, there have been many reactions. Despicably, Alberto Iber, then a principal of a school in North Miami, left a Facebook comment in support of the demonstrably abusive officer. He wrote: “He did nothing wrong. He was afraid for his life. I commend him for his actions.” Iber was later fired from his job. While this principal is entitled to his opinion, the clearly visible video evidence shows that the officer was hyper-aggressive and none of his actions, or the actions of the teenage Becton, would lead a reasonable person to believe that he was, or should have been, in fear for his life. This is an open-and-shut case of police brutality. Those defending the officer are willfully defending the abuse of citizens.

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Scott Walker’s Lack of a College Degree Matters

Posted: February 16th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | 39 Comments »

The notion that America should accept a president in the 21st century who does not possess a baccalaureate degree is beyond absurdity. The fact that some conservatives are trying to make criticisms of Walker’s lack of a college degree about snobbery and elitism, rather than him not meeting a perfunctory expectation of the Leader of the Free World, only goes to show the embarrassing way in which anti-intellectualism is treated as a sought-after virtue within mainstream conservatism.

There is an alarming number of people in America with graduate degrees who are incapable of finding jobs commensurate with their educational attainment and, in some cases, finding jobs at all. At a time when this is occurring, it would be monumentally absurd to elect someone who couldn’t be bothered to finish college to the highest office in the land. If the highest office in the land, and indeed the most important job in the world, can be whimsically occupied by someone who couldn’t be bothered to find the time to finish his undergraduate education, then what is the point of anyone slogging through college and earning a degree? Are those who suggest that college dropouts should be routinely considered for the office of President of the United States arguing that the presidency is less tasking or important than the plurality of jobs listed on Craigslist that specify only holders of a baccalaureate degree should apply?

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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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