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‘Black in America’ panel shares perspective on race, culture

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‘Black in America’ panel shares perspective on race, culture

Black United Students President Alexis Tyson and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Matt James host the 'Black in America' panel discussion Thursday night in the Memorial Student Center.

Black United Students President Alexis Tyson and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Matt James host the 'Black in America' panel discussion Thursday night in the Memorial Student Center.

Nancy Peyton

Black United Students President Alexis Tyson and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Matt James host the 'Black in America' panel discussion Thursday night in the Memorial Student Center.

Nancy Peyton

Nancy Peyton

Black United Students President Alexis Tyson and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Matt James host the 'Black in America' panel discussion Thursday night in the Memorial Student Center.


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The ‘Black in America’ panel provided nearly two hours of discussion and dissemination on issues facing America’s black community Thursday. The collection of five African-American panelists tackled subjects such as stereotypes, racism, appropriation and Black Lives Matter in the Memorial Student Center.

The panel’s participants included Center for African American Students director Shaunte Polk, CAAS staff member Derek Robinson and Black United Students member Heather Thomas, as well as student Christian Davis and Pastor Donte Jackson. The event, organized by BUS, was co-hosted by the organization’s president Alexis Tyson and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Matt James.

The event was one of several that BUS has organized in observance of Black History Month.

“This is the first time we’ve actually done a panel,” Tyson said. “We have had different race and culture conversations, but this is the first time we’ve had panel about strictly black issues in America.”

Tyson said an event such as this holds equal value for students of any race.

“The only time you could see more value in the other,” Tyson said, “is in someone who has never been exposed to a conversation like this, white or black. There could be a black person who has never been exposed to the fact that black people have a sometimes victimization attitude when it comes to society. They might have never heard that before.”

Jackson is a pastor of The First Baptist Church of Huntington, the city’s oldest historically black church.

“Any time that we get to hear a perspective that is different from our own, there’s value in that. There’s growth in that,” Jackson said. “It helps for us to have a more well-rounded perspective on how we treat each other from one day to the next.”

Questions directed to the panel by the hosts often had to do with the identity that comes with being black in America.

“You have to be willing to build a bridge to understanding,” Jackson said. “If everybody is the same, everything will be the same.”

Often the panel discussed attributes of the black community that they felt were being appropriated.

“They will give a new name for the things that African-Americans have been doing for centuries,” Thomas said. “But the moment we do it, it is frowned upon.”

Thomas said white and black people “can do the same exact thing, but there will be a different name for it, and I find that unacceptable. It’s going to be one, or it’s going to be none.”

Tyson said she was very happy with the turnout, adding that “we had really great numbers, so great that we’re going to do this again.”

Austin Creel can be contacted at [email protected]

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One Response to “‘Black in America’ panel shares perspective on race, culture”

  1. Todd Elliott Koger on February 11th, 2017 6:30 pm

    The median white family has 13 times as much net wealth as the median black family according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. A study released this week by Demos offered new points of analysis on the disparity. In comparing the wealth held by single-parent white families to that held by black families with two parents: The median two-parent black family had $16,000 in wealth. The median single-parent white family had $35,800 (two-parent white families had $161,300). Personal responsibility and social respectability (family structure, attending college, working full time) has not been enough to help blacks achieve parity with white Americans.

    In August 2016, Todd Elliott Koger submitted “a plan to target the black vote and foundation of the Democratic Party’s “voters turnout model” to change the destructive conversation that the “verbal fight” Mr. Trump was having with Khizr Khan, a slain U.S. soldier’s father had caused. President Trump’s verbatim use of Mr. Koger’s words in “online video” and speeches that followed in Michigan, Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and Pennsylvania changed the course of his campaign and put it on track for victory.

    But also . . . In Oct. 2016 when the Trump campaign was on “life support” as a result of the “open mic incident” and everyone had abandoned Mr. Trump . . . When the media started writing the Trump campaign’s eulogy, Todd Elliott Koger drafted a new writing. A “job-driven” proposal for ending the black homicide epidemic in American Cities and submitted it as a “Treaty with Black America.” Mr. Koger advised the campaign that a “new” writing was needed to change the conversation again. Mr. Koger suggested that the campaign repackage the information, but get it out immediately.

    The Trump campaign it appears did renamed Mr. Koger’s “new” writing and repackaged it to now target the poor white voters of Appalachia (“Contract with the America’s Voter”) and America’s inner cities (“New Deal for Black America”).

    What Mr. Koger proposed in that October 2016 writing was a legitimate proposal with provision for intensive, wrap around holistic case management, high level occupational training, and a clear path to employment. With outreach systems, processes, and local partners Mr. Koger proposal was a needed answer for black neighborhoods. The objective of Mr. Koger’s proposal: To demolish inner city blight and rebuild America’s black neighborhoods one street at a time, using the labor of neighborhood boys and girls. The Chicago Tribune, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post and others have a copy of Mr. Koger’s proposal but haven’t written anything about it. WHY?

    Black neighborhoods continued to be plagued with gun violence, black homicide, and decay, often exemplified with streets of run-down and abandoned housing. Creation of affordable housing represents a major step toward a stable society. Mr. Koger’s proposal to Mr. Trump would empower America’s inner city residents with job readiness skills and a plan for their future. It will teach good character and citizenship, and how to live healthy new lifestyles. Mr. Koger’s proposal is a realistic plan to serve the hard to reach and marginalized that society has identified as in need of quality, affordable opportunities. SOMETHING THE MEDIA WON’T TALK ABOUT?

    What Mr. Koger asked President Trump to do is redevelop America’s black neighborhoods by making capital investment in “new” housing. He proposed comprehensive intervention services to encourage troubled black youth to learn and have fun in a safe, positive environment where they can gain basic education competencies, develop jobs skills, and build positive relationships. The proposal even included provision for critical one-on-one attention for struggling black youth to reduce the frequency and severity of neighborhood youth involvement in the justice system and improve long-term life options. HOW COME MR. KOGER’S PROPOSAL FOR BLACK AMERICA AND ITS INVOLVEMENT WITH THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN ISN’T NEWS?

    For black boys and girls to contribute to the nurturing of their neighborhoods the facets of job training and economic development pedagogy must allow the locus of power and control of the program to remain in the hands of the local residents. Programs that come together through a neighborhood’s own initiative are organic and have the capacity to make change. Macro theories in the fields of political-economics and comparative education, accentuates the underpinnings supporting this “capability approach” to ending gun violence. AND, THIS IS THE REASON NO ONE WILL TALK ABOUT MR. KOGER’S PROPOSAL. THOSE OF US WHO LIVE IN THE INNER CITY ARE TAKEN FOR GRANTED.

    In conclusion, Todd Elliott Koger’s “Treaty with Black America” in its original draft is a proposal to help black boys and girls better understand their “capability to do things.” Rebuilding their own neighborhoods and the houses they “should own and live in” will help them understand their worth and value. How black youth believe they are viewed (as clients, participants, or “the agents of change”) determines the success of their efforts. Creating a “commonality interest” and ensuring a “living wage” to sustain their families, is proposed.

    And, then there’s Rick Santorum handpicked by CNN to convince America that “racist” whites put Trump in the White House. He also tried to convince Pennsylvania residents that we had become a “racist” state. Rick Santorum just doesn’t get it. There will never be a “racist” majority. President Trump won by design (Mr. Koger’s planned strategy that focused on the Democratic Party’s “voters’ turnout model”). That is, Mr. Trump owes his victory to “predominately black Democratic strongholds” who were convinced to give him more votes than the previous Republican candidates. African Americans convinced hundreds of thousands blacks to “boycott” the vote and/or voting “straight” Democrat. All across America the black vote “boycott” masterminded by Mr. Koger effectuated an insurmountable obstruction for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

    Maybe this is just a remarkable concurrence of events. Maybe Mr. Koger’s packaging of Mr. Trump’s visual optics and his efforts to communicate implementation of the ” Koger Plan” had no apparent connection. Maybe it was just “serendipity” in North and West Philadelphia (Eastern Pennsylvania) and Penn Hills, Allegheny County (Western Pennsylvania) where turnout fell 10 percent in the majority-black wards. Happenstance in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (District 15), where turnout was down 19.5 percent. Apparent “fluke” in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, where 75,000 “Motown Voters” decided to stay home. One thing for sure, Todd Elliott Koger’s correspondence kept reiterating that “Mr. Trump’s only path to victory” was the “black vote.” Cities like Boston, Massachusetts’ “predominately black” wards had their greatest decline in voter turnout this century. And, just 50,000 votes in three states, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin (the focus of “Koger’s Plan”) decided the election.

    Mr. Koger convinced hundreds of thousands blacks to “boycott” the vote and/or voting “straight” Democrat. His “STRATEGY” was organized: Find every conceivable email address, mailing lists, newsgroup, on-line discussion, black organization, local activists, and the like, and send them an endless repetition of talking points. The “MESSAGE”: 50 Years of failed Democratic inner cities.

    When will someone finally “speak up” President Trump’s senior staff (those still listening to Rick Santorum), as an entity has failed him in the same manner that they troubled his campaign. There are just too many issues and unnecessary problems that have no place in the execution of what Donald Trump is trying to do. They have one responsibility, to protect the president from those things that threaten (“Rick Santorum”) possible sabotage of his administration. It’s a science and the “high-paid” scientists are not doing their job. We have neither the time nor reason to entertain anymore of this amateurism. Do your job. The unemployed blacks and whites in the inner city and rural America who bailed Trump out during the campaign deserve better . . . .

    Doesn’t this remind you of kids playing “government” in the backyard . . . Abecedarian “first time” loan signing of documents every day for the first two weeks. Democrats, they’re still screaming insults with no direction, no plan, like middle school students during lunch break in the school cafeteria.

    Please note. According to published reports President Donald Trump’s National Diversity Coalition, led by white attorney Michael Cohen and Pastor Darrell Scott hosted the Amer-I-Can Inauguration Party at the offices of a K-Street law firm. 35 people paid $2,500 and approximately another 150 paid $1,000 to attend. Attorney Cohen and Pastor Scott pledged National Diversity Coalition financial support for legendary athlete Jim Brown’s Amer-I-Can foundation. The most recent available nonprofit tax form (2014 records) for Amer-I-Can demonstrates expenditures of $271,553, including $138,634 in salaries and $129,332 in expenses. However, Jim Brown and his wife are said to be the only listed employees. Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer outlined President Trump’s plan to curb violence and empower black communities. According to Cohen, President Trump intends to support mentoring and promote self-determination primarily through Brown’s Amer-I-Can foundation. Cohen also would not say how much money the Trump administration intends to put into the Amer-I-Can foundation, though he promised the nonprofit would see some investment.

    Also note, in his Twitter profile Scott referred to himself as Dr. Darrell Scott. President Donald Trump has also referred to Scott as “Dr. Darrell Scott.” In his church bio Scott’s says: “Already a 21st Century Theologian and Scholar in his own right, Dr. Darrell went on to receive his Doctorate of Divinity in November of 2004.” That is, his bio is worded in a way that creates the impression that he earned the degree. To use the title “Dr.” is inappropriate and misleading since the degree was not earned. Compounding the problem is the questionable status of the college. St. Thomas Christian University is not accredited by any Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognized accrediting body. St. Thomas is currently unlicensed in the state of Florida. Mr. Scott appears to be using his degree from an unaccredited school to create an impression that he earned a doctorate.

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