Black history, local hire, living color

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City Hall kicked off its annual Black History month celebrations with a talk by Los Angeles philanthropist and former Xerox Corp. VP Bernard Kinsey about the importance of debunking myths about the absence of blacks in American history. And Mayor Ed Lee, who had just met with five dozen unemployed black construction workers from the Bayview, revealed how, when he was growing up in the projects in Seattle, his neighbors were black, and an African American named Darnell was one of the most loyal patrons of the restaurant that Lee’s father was trying to make succeed.

“And when my dad suddenly died of a heart attack, Darnell was the first person to offer my brother a job at his gas station,” Lee said. “So, this is not just about recognizing African American history, but recognizing what they did for us, and  making sure that no there are jobs and we protect the family structure. I know what it is to be helped by the African American culture.”

Lee’s recollections of Darnell came less than an hour after he met with Aboriginal Blackmen United, a group that represents unemployed construction workers in the Bayview, to discuss how its members can get hired at UCSF’s $1.5 billion hospital complex at Mission Bay and other local building sites.

At that meeting, ABU President James Richards thanked Lee for getting UC to clarify the details of its voluntary local hire plan at the Mission Bay hospitals.
But he warned that the fight is just starting. “We’ve got the unions to deal with,” Richards told Lee, referring to the reality that the unions also want their members to get work at the UCSF site.

Lee said he'd do his best to help.
“The African American community in San Francisco has not got its fair share,” he said. “I can’t say that everyone in the room is going to get a job, but I’ll open up doors and do my best."

And then Lee confirmed that local hire is one of his top five priorities.
“My top priorities are the budget, pension reform, the America’s Cup, finding a good police chief and local hire,” he said. “I said that directly to every union leader yesterday. Some unions will be there, others will resist.”

ABU's Richards said the need to have a G.E.D. to get into the city's ob training programs is a barrier to employment for many in the Bayview.
“We have a lot of people, who are not able to get into CityBuild because they don’t take folks anymore who don’t have their G.E.D,” he said.

And he warned that the city’s black community is in crisis.
“I know there is a budget crisis, but this is a life crisis,” Richards said. “Young people are dying and it’s not even newsworthy any more.”

Lee suggested ABU work with the City to avoid the need to hold protests at construction sites in future,
“Let’s plan together, so you don’t have to go to all the sites,” Lee said. “I am for people getting their GED. But if someone has evidence that they are making an attempt to get their GED, we need to reward that with jobs. So that the GED is not a barrier, it’s a hope.”

And then Lee was off to attend his next round of meetings, which included the city’s Black History month event, where speakers noted that during Bernard Kinsey’s career with Xerox, he helped increase the hiring of blacks, Latinos and women,

Kinsey told the audience that he and Shirley Kinsey, his wife of 44 years, share a passion for African-American history and art. And that their world-famous Kinsey Collection, which contains art, books and manuscripts documenting African American triumphs and struggles from 1632 to the present, is currently on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C, and a number of pieces are at the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society. He noted that the posters of African Americans in the Civil War were reproductions of some of the art in those exhibits. 

Sup. Malia Cohen noted that about 200,000 African Americans participated in that war. Sup. Ross Mirkarimi, who represents the city’s Western Addition, where redevelopment triggered massive displacement of the black community in the 1960s, noted that eight members of the current Board of Supervisors, who selected Lee as the city’s first Chinese American mayor, are people of color.

“This is true representation,” Mirkarimi said, noting that the fact that the city's African American population continues to drop (reportedly down from 6 percent to 3.9 percent, according to the 2010 Census) to “is a reminder that even the most forward-thinking cities have a lot of work to do.”

And Kinsey urged African Americans to start describing their ancestors as “enslaved.”

‘It will change how you look at your ancestors,” he said, “You don’t have a clue about what they sacrificed to get you to where you are today. We don’t tell you the ‘ain’t-it-awful’ story about slavery. We tell you the story of how we overcame.”

“You need three things for a successful life,” Kinsey added “Something to do. Someone to love. And something to look forward to."

Kinsey said he and his wife have espoused two life principles, ‘To whom much is given much is required” and live “A life of no regrets.” And then he told a story about an eagle who was raised by a chicken.

The eagle ended up ashamed of his feathers, because the chickens never told him he was an eagle because they were afraid he’d end up ruling the barnyard.“He even grew up ashamed of his daughters,” Kinsey said.

Eventually, the eagle met another eagle, who told him the truth. "You ain’t no chicken," the other eagle said.

"And this is the message," Kinsey said. "Don’t think chicken thoughts, or dream chicken dreams. Think like an eagle."

He warned the audience to be careful of buying into myths that would have them believe that African Americans played no role in building the U.S.
“There are stories that made America and stories that America made up,” Kinsey said. “And too often, the myth becomes the choice.”

And then he concluded by expounding on “the myth of absence.”
‘”African Americans are not seen, not because of their absence, but because of the presence of a myth that prepares and requires their absence,” Kinsey said. "And the manipulation of the myth changes the color of the past. It’s no accident that the dominate images from the past are white. And many of us have swallowed the pill.”

 

 

Comments

It's always extremely embarrassing to read Sarah's earnest ghetto-chic driven pieces on "de po' black folks" of San Francisco. No, that's mean. It's always embarrassing to read ANY Guardian piece on de' po' black folks of San Francisco considering the Guardian doesn't have any of those po' black folks on its staff.

Does the cognitive dissonance of the earnest white liberals of the Guardian lecturing San Francisco and the black community on what's good for us/them ever get to any of its staff or writers?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 11:33 am

You're right, writers should really only write about people of their own race. Relating to others is how racism happens.

Posted by caitlin on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 11:43 am

And for this particular artice, it reads like a simple report to me. Good work Sarah. With that sad, Sarah crapped the bed pretty so hard on some of her previous coverage, it's hard to get over that and take her seriously. It screamed white liberal guilt/let us be the defender of blacks because they can't do it themselves/we are totally down with Bayview/ keepin' it real...

It was embarrassing to read, lol.

And to Matlock's point, this country has an extremely complex racial dynamic. There are so many elements at play, I genuinely think you have to experience it first hand, and it's not something that can be understood from an outside perspective. A English woman doesn't have that experience, and it really bugs for her to tell us what's wrong.

Posted by Sambo on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

Sambo: "There are so many elements at play, I genuinely think you have to experience it first hand, and it's not something that can be understood from an outside perspective. A English woman doesn't have that experience, and it really bugs for her to tell us what's wrong."

By that logic, no American reporter in Cairo (or anywhere else outside the states) should ever be listened to, because how could they know?

As far as the British not understanding America's supposedly complex racial dynamic, they understood it well enough to resell America's "race music" back to Americans in 1964, didn't they?

I think the author of the piece is familiar enough with America, as she does live here and seems to have for some time. She's also certainly familiar with most of the posters here from living in England--"Tories" is a rather apt description for those here, true, Sarah?

Posted by guest Gordon Barker on Feb. 05, 2011 @ 7:46 am

Air ball, dude.

An American can report on the situation in Egypt, Sarah can report on the situation here in SF. I specificallygave her credit for what I felt was a good "report".

What an outsider shouldn't do (whether they be an American in Egypt, or a Brit in SF), is try to tell people what's wrong with their communities, and how they need to go about addressng the deeply rooted and complex racial issues.

Sarah has done this in previous articles, and it goes beyond reporting. And for you to refer to America's racial dynamic as "supposedly complex" is just assinine, and suggests you haven't stepped outside your comfort zone in years.

Posted by Sambo on Feb. 05, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

Give it up. Lucretia. You are never going to get reporters to stop covering issues just because they don't look like the folks involved.

Posted by sarah on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 11:56 am

And the fact that you'd even say such a thing shows how little you understand about the role of race in this country. It's akin to saying that if you got a better suntan you'd more deeply understand how black people feel. Or if you wore your hair in braids you'd be down with native Americans.

There are many probable responses to what I wrote - reducing it to "looks" is not one of them.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

And another thing, Lucretia. Your suggestion that Sarah is somehow "lecturing" readers is completely bogus. Sarah listened to what Bernard Kinsey had to say, what Mayor Ed Lee had to say, etc. She took notes, transcribed, and thanks to her work, you can now read about what they said and what the Black History event was like. That's not lecturing, that's reporting. I'd say that you are the only one delivering lectures, but that would give you too much credit. You're just airing baseless criticism, as usual.

Posted by rebecca on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

Unlike Sarah. So your conflating of our two roles is completely absurd.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

on race in America?

Am I the only one seeing a problem here?

Posted by Rick on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

I have to agree with Lucretia - this is racial pandering and self-righteous pomposity writ large.

Most of the race problems perceived in modern America are actually called by hopelessly well-meaning white liberals on a guilt trip.

Posted by SueK on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

Red lining, profiling and DWB and wealth disparity are caused by "hopelessly well-meaning white liberals on a guilt trip".

WTF, take yer head out yer ass.

Posted by Joey V on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

any of those things happen?

Did you fall asleep in 1960 and just wake up?

Posted by Rick on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

(1992)(Redlining)

The 62 worst case lending patterns are prima facie evidence of unlawful discrimination in mortgage lending.

The 62 worst case lending patterns identified in this report demonstrate that the 49 major mortgage lenders responsible for these patterns have excluded minority neighborhoods from their effective lending territories or substantially underserved such neighborhoods. These lending pattern maps and the corresponding HMDA statistics provide strong prima facie evidence of marketing policies and other lending policies that discriminate against minority neighborhoods in violation of the federal Fair Lending laws -- the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

(1998) (DWB)

http://www.salemstate.edu/~jbelock/mat407/hw3_article.pdf

(2001) (Profiling)

Some studies have shown that African American men are more likely to be stopped or searched. Fridell (2001) stated, that a recent survey of 1,087 police chiefs have found that about 60% think that racial biased policing was not a problem versus only 29% feel that the problem was only minor. Blacks seem to feel that they are being treated as common criminals. This means that when it is a crime or traffic stop, they automatically get in trouble for the crime. Weitzer and Tuch (1999) said, Blacks and Hispanics who have been stopped were more likely than whites to report they have been ticketed, arrested, handcuffed, or searched by police, and also they were more likely to report that the officer(s) have either threatened, or even used force against them.

Hope that clarifies for you. Doubt it will change your mind, though.

Posted by Joey V on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

Insurance companies look at their claims losses by zip code, and notice that some zips cost them more. so they charge higher premia there, or withdraw from coverage.

They don't look at the racial breakdown there. They just look at their staggering losses. It's business, not racism

Posted by Rick on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

A Department of Justice study released in 2001 notes that although blacks are twice as likely as whites to have their cars stopped and searched, police are actually twice as likely to find evidence of illegal activity in cars driven by whites.

In New Jersey, for 2000, although blacks and Latinos were 78 percent of persons stopped and searched on the southern portion of the Jersey Turnpike, police were twice as likely to discover evidence of illegal activity in cars driven by whites, relative to blacks, and whites were five times more likely to be in possession of drugs, guns, or other illegal items relative to Latinos.

In North Carolina, black drivers are two-thirds more likely than whites to be stopped and searched by the State Highway Patrol, but contraband is discovered in cars driven by whites 27 percent more often.

In New York City, even after controlling for the higher crime rates by blacks and Latinos and local demographics (after all, people of color will be the ones stopped and searched most often in communities where they make up most of the residents), police are still two to three times more likely to search them than whites. Yet, police hunches about who is in possession of drugs, guns, other illegal contraband, or who is wanted for commission of a violent crime turn out to be horribly inaccurate. Despite being stopped and searched more often, blacks and Latinos are less likely to be arrested because they are less likely to be found with evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Posted by Joey V on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

Redlining is illegal.

Their losses are staggering? Please cite a statistic of some validity to back that claim.

Thanks.

Posted by guest on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

you say it's illegal, so can't happen.

Which is it.

If I lose money in one area and make money in another area, then it's obvious where i'm going to do business. It has nothing to do with race.

Posted by Rick on Feb. 05, 2011 @ 9:02 am

"You say it's illegal, so it can't happen".

Lawbreaking doesn't happen?

There's no prostitution, assault, rape, murder or fraud because those things are illegal.

Dang, let's get rid of all of that thing, oh yeah "law enforcement", because once something is illegal, it stops happening.

Conservatism is craziness. Period.

Posted by guest on Feb. 05, 2011 @ 9:15 am

Is the whole staff of the BG getting a bit defensive? Me thinks so!

Posted by Patrick Brown on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

Quite mild compared to some of the responses Steven Jones has left for commenters who dared to challenge his unparalleled brilliance, insight and wisdom. Or Marke, who does not at all take kindly to those who question the constant promotion of his pals on the pages of the Guardian.

Let's face it - the lack of diversity at the Guardian is and should be an issue. Especially when they use it as a basis for their political endorsements.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

Is any paper whose reporters are afraid to cover certain topics because of what blog commenters say -- particularly those that dislike every article we write, and somehow continue to read them all religously. 

Re: your last comment about the braids. What Sarah said is exactly the opposite. "Getting a tan" or any other surface change doesn't bring you closer to understanding the reality of any minority, or majority group for that matter. What does is research and experience and the desire to listen in the first place. 

And to sink down to your level -- what color are you, purple? You really shouldn't be commenting on blog posts about black people, you're just being condescending.

Little boxes, Snapmat, little boxes.

Posted by caitlin on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

And criticism is part of the business. If you don't want to deal with criticism then don't publish.

My "color" is not important here. As I have told you now, twice, I'm not the reporter. What I "am" matters very little in this discussion.

Why're you taking things so personally Caitlin? It's a public newspaper for god's sake.

And I liked Sarah's article on the power plant, so I don't dislike "everything" the Guardian writes.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

Seems like you could use a hug. On the real tip, those that would segment people working for change is something that ruffles my feathers, so I'm taking a moment to weigh in here. 

And I do appreciate the use of apostrophes around "am," nice Bill Clinton throwback.

Posted by caitlin on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

answer is no one, just because you share the same views of people who claim to speak for this or that group doesn't mean anyone but fellow true believers care.

I think this is what progressives will never get, they hob nob with other shouters and hucksters and have convinced themselves they are down with the people, when the people don't care.

Posted by matlock on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

priviliged white chick from England should be correcting us on our racial attitudes? On what basis can Sarah claim any real knowledge and experience here? She probably lives in Pacific Heights and has dinner parties with "petit fours", "hors doevres" and "grand liquers".

And she's never been to Hunters Point.

Posted by Rick on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

A reporter for a weekly paper lives in Pacific Heights?

And eats what you claim she eats and you just know she's never been in the hood. Based on, err, what?

You're a bit of an idjit, aren't ya?

Posted by guest on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

I guarantee you an effete white chick from England doesn't live in the 'hood.

She's chowing on sushi right now on Valencia while black kids are getting killed in the badlands.

She's a fraud.

Posted by Rick on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

Me-ouch!

Posted by sarah on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

Ridiculing Sarah for being a " privileged white chick from England" is just like ridiculing Lucretia for being African American, or the African Americans discussed in the article for their financial situation or the neighborhood they live in. It's disrespecting someone because of the color of their skin and background and making a cheap shot because of it. If it was an African American journalist writing about non- African American people, no one would be sitting here getting their panties in a wad.

What exactly will EVER be good enough to be considered " a fair share" for our African American neighbors?
As discussed in the article, It IS hard to find a job if you do not have a GED. But there are plenty of people from every background who struggle with this, not just African Americans. Millions of people in this country are struggling to find jobs, struggling to find their next meal, and struggling to support their families. It's be nice to "reward people working towards their GEDs with jobs" but its hard for everyone right now. I dont see anyone "rewarding" my college degree with a job either. Wouldn't that be nice?

How can you even make a comment about the absence of African Americans on the Guardian's staff? Have you, or someone you know, applied to The Guardian and gotten turned down because of the color of their skin, their "braids in their hair" or their "sun tans"? Nope, didn't think so. Maybe the Guardian has none on their staff because none have shown interest. Get a life, and if you're going to pick on the articles written by the "earnest ghetto-chic" whiteys, maybe you should still to reading The Bay View.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

Keep telling that history:

Read the greatest fictionalized 'historical novel', Rescue at Pine Ridge, the first generation of Buffalo Soldiers. The website is: http://www.rescueatpineridge.com This is the greatest story of Black Military History...5 stars Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Youtube commercials are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iD66NUKmZPs and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVslyHmDy9A&feature=related

Rescue at Pine Ridge is the story of the rescue of the famed 7th Cavalry by the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers. The 7th Cavalry got their butts in a sling again after the Little Big Horn Massacre, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn't for the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry. This story is about, brutality, compassion, reprisal, bravery, heroism and gallantry.

I know you’ll enjoy the novel. I wrote the story that embodied the Native Americans, Outlaws and African-American/Black soldiers, from the south to the north, in the days of the Native American Wars with the approaching United States of America.

The novel was taken from my mini-series movie with the same title, “RaPR” to keep the story alive. Hollywood has had a lot of strikes and doesn’t like telling our stories…its been “his-story” of history all along…until now. The movie so far has attached, Bill Duke directing, Hill Harper, Glynn Turman, James Whitmore Jr. and a host of other major actors in which we are in talks with.

When you get a chance, also please visit our Alpha Wolf Production website at; http://www.alphawolfprods.com and see our other productions, like Stagecoach Mary, the first Black Woman to deliver mail for the US Postal System in Montana, in the 1890's, “spread the word”.

Peace.

Posted by Buffalo Soldier 9 on Feb. 11, 2011 @ 12:43 am