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Monday, September 7, 2009

Was Anything The Van Jones Said Untrue?

While Glenn Beck, conservative bloggers, and Fox"Nation" rejoice in that same masturbatory fashion they do everytime they think they've won anything, one has to wonder exactly what it was that Van Jones said that was incorrect.

The conservative Right have wrongly accused Jones of being a race-baiter while discussing Columbine and the role that black youth did not play in that horrible day. So what is so wrong, so evil, with that statement? Can you think of any school shooting that is perpetrated by blacks? Of course, this isn't to say that there aren't blacks that commit crimes, nor is it to say that whites are responsible for all crimes as well.

Also, one has to but merely glance at statements made by the likes of Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, or even the most marginal of conservative pundits on Fox"News" to realize that Jones' "crackhead" statement about Bush is hardly something to wet your knickers over.

Virtually everytime a black man or woman - actually anyone that isn't white - ascends to a position of even moderate power or influence, the reactionary Right will cry foul over any and everything that they say.

But what of Jones' statement about Sept. 11th? While many people have a wide range of opinions on what happened that day, it is a fact of life that people's attitudes and ideals and points of view change over time. While I once held that the Bush administration had a very prominent role in what happened that day, after researchig for the past 8 years, I now believe that their role was merely tangentical at best. So, is Jones' shift in opinion from several years ago any different that others? Who is to say, who is to judge this? Certanly not Glenn Beck.

And what of Jones' remarks on pollution and the role that "whites" play in polluting minority neighborhoods? It turns out that that statement is actually rooted in factual analysis.

Though more covert than racism of the past, contemporary racism exists in housing—as discussed with the problems of ghettos—healthcare, and environment. Minorities receive less healthcare than white Americans due to the cost of insurance. A low socioeconomic status prevents them from affording insurance and healthcare in general. This creates a division between the services given to minorities and to white Americans. Also, due to the location of ghettos and other low value housing units, they receive higher amounts of pollution than white Americans. Polluting industries and busy freeways are often located near minority neighborhoods; “The combination of exposure to environmental hazards and unemployment discrimination establishes a sinister correlation between race and health” (White, 68). Thus, contemporary practices contribute to the inequality of the races.

one analysis of data collected by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, conducted by The Associated Press in 2005, found that blacks are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger.

Another study, released by Bullard in March, ranked the top 10 metropolitan areas in the U.S. with the largest number of minorities living in neighborhoods that contain hazardous waste facilities. Houston was second, behind only Los Angeles, featuring 10 such neighborhoods where the total population is more than 78 percent minority. (Chicago ranked fifth, with nine neighborhoods containing hazardous waste facilities where the total minority population is nearly 72 percent.)

While it is inescapable that Glenn Beck is very white and Jones is black, it can be too convenient of a statement to claim that Beck is a dyed in the wool racist. However, this is the trap that conservative continually find themselves in. They are so eager, so on the edge of thei seats to call someone a racist, that they often make rather racially charged statements of their own. But you can't point this out. If you do, you are labeled a "reverse racist". And the definition of that, if there even is one, is continually shifting and morphing dependant on the particular news cycle that people like Beck find themselves in.

The main problem I see in all of this is that Jones resigned. I can understand and appreciate why he did it, but it was ultimately a poor choice, as it validate the inane ramblings of the conservative movement. It has created the illusion that people like Glenn Beck are actually a source of credible information. The Obama administration has to stop giving in to any and everything the conservative Right says and does. They need to be partisan, get things done, and show some fucking spine. I understand that you have to make political decisions in order to secure any chances of attaining goals in the future, but they need to start acting like progressives I thought they were.

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