Thursday, December 27, 2007

Northern KY's RiverCenter Project


Master planned as an urban redevelopment that encompassed all aspects of private and public cooperation, RiverCenter was officially proposed to the city of Covington in 1988. Opening May 1990, RiverCenter composed of an eleven acre complex which included an eighteen story office building, a two-hundred and thirty roomed Embassy Suites hotel and Covington Landing which had two floating facilities that housed restaurants, shops, entertainment activities and riverboat excursions. At the time, Covington Landing was deemed the largest floating entertainment facility on a US inland waterway. Corporex Companies Inc of Ft. Wright was commissioned to develop the on land portion of RiverCenter. BnW was commissioned to develop the floating portion. North/south oriented, RiverCenter is bound by Court St., Second St., Madison St., and the Ohio River. Champion Ice Co. building, which was on the National Register of Historic Buildings, was demolished in to make way.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Racism: Deconstructed

People have been trying to analyze the reason why people are racist for a number of years now. They have also tried many different ways to measure the level of racism in schools and in the workplace. The conclusions from these types of studies have lead to many different hypothesis. One of those hypothesis has lead to the answer of hate. Other hypothesis has lead to other causes of racism such as ignorance of the unknown. I believe that the arguments that has lead to the figuring out of both cause are valid, but there is a prevailing reason that I feel stands out more than all of them and that is the struggle for power.

Mankind has an undeniable history of struggling for power. Many scientist even believe that the struggle for power is an innate thing that is embedded into the psyche of the human mind. Whether it was the struggle for power over land, natural resources or simply the human mind. These people that were trying to gain power thought that it would be easier to do so if they justified their reasoning for gaining power and why the other group did not deserve to have any. This way it would be easier to make the lower class people believe that they were not entitled to the power, making the power hungry peoples job a lot easier. Some groups in power looked at many different criteria to justify the haves and the have-nots, like class designations, living conditions, living areas, family lineage and physical characteristics.

This determination to the accessibility to power, today, has manifested into the designation of power based on race. We commonly call this racism. Through out the history of the United States, we have seen the group with a lot of power (whites) continue to persecute those with seemingly no power (African Americans) so that power could stay in the hands of the whites and out of the hands of the African Americans. The first evidence of this accrued during the slave period that was witnessed in the United States. During this time period, it was illegal for slaves to be given the skills that would enable them to gain power later on in life. African Americans were not allowed to learn how to read, or even go to school. They were banned from having their young masters and mistresses teaching them the things that they learned at school, and were beaten and even killed if they were found to be learning to read. A reason why slaves were persecuted for learning how to read because it was very easy to tell whom where not able to partake in these adventures because the difference in skin color in whites and African Americans were so noticeable.

Another area where evidence of whites being racist because of their need for power is seen during the Civil Rights Era of the 1950’s and 1960’s here in the United States. African Americans implemented a massive effort to gain power with the right to vote and the integration of schools, but were continually thwarted because whites did not want them to have the power to do so.

Racism can be many things. It could be name calling, discrimination, have a person purposely give you incorrect information, but the underlying thing that makes an action racist is if it is done primarily because of your race and it causes you to not have power and the other person to have power.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Its Not ALL Our Fault

In the preface to Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, John McWhorter writes:

"Black America is currently caught in certain ideological holding patterns that are today much, much more serious barriers to Black well being than is white racism, and constitute nothing less than a continuous, self sustaining act of self-sabotage."

This ideology that McWhorter speaks of consists of three main parts.

The cult of victimolgy, where Blacks see themselves as a victim of society which causes them to think that nothing can be done about their current situation. The second part of McWhorter's ideology consists of the idea of separatism; which causes Blacks to see themselves as a separate entity, where they are "special" and not held accountable to the same societal rules as the rest of the United States. The last part of McWhorter's ideology is anti-intellectualism. This is where Black Americans think that they are not supposed to be "intellectual".

McWhorter's statement in the beginning of his book denotes a distorted view of racism and prejudice against Black’s in America and appears to be very one sided. It is a statement that I do not agree with.

Both the perception of Black Americans and the result of that perception are detrimental to the well being of Black America. Even though McWhorter’s statement may have some validity, once the for mentioned factors have been taken into consideration, it will be shown that these
additional factors are deemed by many to be more dangerous to the welfare of Blacks in America than their “self sustaining act of self-sabotage”.

The perception of Blacks in American has been distorted from the very first moments of the founding of our nation. This distortion of perception was done not to show the good attributes that were inherent in Blacks, but is used as a way for whites to justify their cruel treatment of Blacks. From the early days of slavery to the not so distant days of Jim Crow, whites have used misconceptions and distrust to convince others to look down upon Blacks and try to keep them thought of as living in a sub-culture. Joe Feagin says in book Racist America: Roots, Current Realities, and Future Reparations, that Blacks have historically been seen as lazy. He also goes on to say that there are misconceived notions that Black men and woman are heavily sexualized and avid drug users.

These misconceptions have attributed to the implementation of un-established policies, that some see aught to be commonplace. The fist type of these policies is that of most financial institution’s lending procedures. One such lending process is called “Redlining”. Redlining is a form of discrimination in lending and is a problem that has been prevalent for a number of years and has caused problems in both the Black and low-income communities. Redlining is the implanting of unfair terms on borrowers through aggressive sales tactics, taking advantage of borrowers’ lack of understanding of extremely complicated transactions, and outright deception. Redlining keeps the hope of owning a home out of the reach of many and in the worst instances ending in foreclosure. The damage is increased by the fact that Redlining is a procedure that is made in such a concentrated volume in poor and minority neighborhoods, where better loans are not readily available, and the loss of equity and foreclosure can devastate already fragile communities. Even though there has been legislation imposed to fight against redlining the practice still exists.

In the Indelible Color Line” by Gregory D. Squires, Squires lists acts that have been passed to stop financial institution’s discriminatory procedures such as Redlining. He talks of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 which both aided in stopping discrimination based on race by financial institutions in mortgage and other financial transactions, including credit transactions. Squires went on to say that in 1975 the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act which forced mortgage lenders to disclose the area where they have made mortgage transactions. Squires also mentioned that in 1977 Congress enacted the Community Reinvestment Act which forced financial institutions to be more sensitive to the needs of those that reside in the entire area that the financial institution serves.

In more recent years, Congress expanded the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act so that not just the area of the mortgage transaction was disclosed, but also the race, gender, income, census tract location of the applicant and weather of not the applicant was accepted or declined were also disclosed. Even though the for mentioned Congressional Acts have been implemented, there is still evidence that discrimination still exists. In “Of Race and Risk” Patricia Williams chronicles her plight through the home loan process. In this article Williams tells how she was approved for a home loan at a certain rate under the financial institutions misconception of her being white. Once this fact was cleared up and she indicated that she was Black, William’s financial institution wanted “more money, more points and a higher rate of interest.”

Another factor that I feel is more detrimental to the well being of Black American that their ideology of being a victim is the practice of job discrimination. Having a good paying job is necessary in establishing a foundation that will enable Black American to rise out of the strong hold of institutional racism that is omnipotent in lower income areas. In “Is Job Discrimination dead?” Cedric Herring argues that job discrimination is far from being dead. The presence of racial in the job place has taken on a new form so that it is less obvious. Herring states that this “subtle discrimination” is done in a couple of different ways. The first way that this is done is through the way that employees are paid. Herring says that white applicants are offered higher wages and higher profiled positions to white applicants than to applicants of color. Another way the employers try to hide their discriminatory practices is to avoid advertising job positions in the mainstream media. Instead, they advertised in publications that did not circulate to minorities or Black Americans.

After taking a look at some of the other things that can cause Black Americans to be stuck in the proverbial “depths of the inner city”, McWhorter’s statement that the ideology of the Black community is the most detrimental to their well being is not valid. It is the constant use of racially discriminatory procedures by institutions that impose the idea of victimology. These practices should the thing that is deemed more detrimental to the well being of Black Americans, than the ideology of victimology.


Works Cited
Feagin, Joe R. 2001. Racist America: Roots, Current Realities & Future Reparations. New York: Routledge.

Herring, Cedric. “Is Job Discrimination Dead?” In Sociology of the Black Community Course Packet, Professor Dickerson, Autumn 2003

McWhorter, John H. 2000 Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America New York: The Free Press

Squires, Gregory D. “The Indelible Color Line” In Sociology of the Black Community Course Packet, Professor Dickerson, Autumn 2003

Williams, Patricia. “Of Race and Risk” In Sociology of the Black Community Course Packet, Professor Dickerson, Autumn 2003

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Censorship of the Internet

Public libraries have faced many types of issues concerning censorship since early in its history. With the rise in popularity in electronic technology, the most recent target of censorship has been the internet, moving past the age old medium of printed material.

The internet has grown in popularity from a private government program that connected elite scholars and scientist in the wake of nuclear attack to a very public medium where one is able to obtain information if any kind. Since one of the purpose of a public library is to grant free access of information to it’s patrons, it was inevitable that public libraries would move to bring the internet into their buildings so that their patrons would have access. With the internet each person can choose the type of information that they would like to access without having the “hand of the library” to choose for them.

Many think that the instant access to the insurmountable amount of information that is stored on the internet may not be used solely for intellectual purposes. Many think that access to certain parts of the internet should not be accessible to the general public.

By reviewing the following:
1. How the Government Tried to Censor the Internet
2. Arguments for Censorship of the Internet
3. Arguments against Censorship of the Internet
it will be shown that a broad censorship ruling by the government is not necessary and is detrimental to free speech and free access to information.

How the Government Tried to Censor the Internet
The government has attempted to control access to material that is deemed “not suitable for public viewing”. One of the government’s first attempts to do this was with the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Many parts of this act were deemed unconstitutional so the act failed. Two years later, Congress tried another attempt to censor the internet with the Child Online Protection Act of 1998 (Fourie & Dowell p.216) This act posed a narrower view of censorship of the internet:

“Child Online Protection Act makes it a crime for anyone, by means of the World Wide Web, to make any communication for commercial purposes that is harmful to minors…”(Center for Democracy and Technology. Available: http://www.cdt.org/speech/cda/ (Accessed August 4, 2000))

Arguments For Censorship of the Internet
The main reason why so many have campaigned for the censorship of the internet in public libraries is to protect the interest of children. With the internet having such a broad range of information, which includes pornography along with many educational materials, many have wanted to restrict children’s access to some of those websites that many have deemed inappropriate. Gary Glenn, president of the Michigan branch of the American Family Association (AFA) made a valiant push for censorship of the internet of the public library in Holland, Michigan. Glenn argued;

“Libraries need filters because children may accidentally stumble across pornography on the internet and become permanently scarred by it.”(Church & State April, 2000, p.18)

This same sentiment has been voiced by concerned parents, wanting to make sure that their children did not have full access to the “unacceptable” websites on the internet. Linda McCulloch of Colorado Springs, Colorado dislikes letting her fourteen year old son visit the local public library in fear that her son will become susceptible to the whims of the internet. McCulloch stated that;

“We need some kind of filtering system. The internet has things that are holy and it has things that are horrific.”(Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service August 4, 1999, p.8)

Arguments against the Censorship of the Internet
As said before, the claim protecting children has been the basis of most of the arguments for censorship of the internet. Many opponents of the censorship of the internet say that these claims are overblown and exaggerated. In a viewpoint submitted to the National Commission on Library and Information Science on December 14, 1998, it clearly stated that there was not a distinct connection with public library internet access and the “predation by pedophiles”.(Free Speech, p.1)

Many opponents of the censorship of the internet continue to say that current internet restrictions may hinder the legitimate use of the internet and do it in a discriminatory way.

Current internet filters filter websites on the basis of certain words so that those looking for information on breast cancer, for instance, would be denied access to that information. In the court case Mainstream Loudoun vs. Loudoun County Library Board, the Mainstream Loudoun opinion (written by a judge who was a former librarian), wrote that the current filters on their libraries computers were unconstitutional. This opinion also stated that there was little or no evidence that unfiltered internet access was harmful.

“The only evidence to which defendant can point in support of it’s argument that the Policy is necessary consists of a record of a single complaint arising from internet use in another Virginia library and reports of isolated incidents in three other libraries across the county.”(Free Speech, p.2)
In taking in both sides of the argument of internet censorship, one could come to the conclusion that although there is evidence to suggest that children should not be privy to some material that is contained on the internet, there is not enough evidence to create a federal mandate that would require all public libraries to introduce filters in their libraries. To deal with this conflict, public libraries should be free to determine the amount censorship in their own libraries. The amount of censorship should be consistent with the values of the community that they serve, much like the way that it chooses the books, magazines, and newspapers that it places on its shelves.


References
(April 2000). Michigan Town Rejects Censorship Plan For Public Library. Church & State. p.18
Barbour, S. (2000) Free Speech Retrieved 11/19/03 Gale Viewpoints Resource Center: Http://www.galenet.galegroup.com
Fourie, D. & Dowell, D. (2002) Libraries in the Information Age. Colorado: Libraries Unlimited.
Sampson, O. (1999). Censoring the Internet; a technological twist on an age old debate. Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. p. K6731

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Publishing Group Becomes Bookmark's New Page In 2008

Bookmark Enterprises, ION Consultants' parent company is announcing its plans to try its hand in books.

15 West Publishing is scheduled to launch the beginning of 2008.

In addition to publishing fiction and non-fiction titles, 15 West will provide proofreading and editing services, replacing those offered by ION Consultants.

With several titles already "ear marked" for publication, 15 West will stay in the realm of Bookmark's mission and strive to bring quality publishing services to both the new and experienced writers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The "Oprah Bouce" Effect On the Presidential Election

Over the past two decades, America has experienced Oprah Winfrey’s entertainment empire blossom from a insignificant seedling to a fully fledged chrysanthemum, voluptuous and full of color.

Born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, Ms. Winfrey was given her name from a misspelling on her birth certificate and has made her way to becoming the wealthiest Black woman in the United States.

Starting as a television anchor, Oprah quickly saw her sights for bigger and better things. From hosting her own television show, which led to her appearing in the big screen adaptation of one of her favorite novels, “The Color Purple”, to producing her own films (Beloved), Ms. Winfrey has gone on to single handed increase the popularity of celebrities such as Dr. Phil. With a single mention of a novel on her daily television talk show, which has on average 8.4 million viewers a day, she can take it from never being heard of to number one on the Best Seller’s list just as fast as you can turn the channel.

With her recent endorsement of the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, many are wondering if the so coined term “Oprah Bounce” will work in the political arena. Though Ms. Winfrey’s touch has helped so many, with any successful person, for every few triumphs, there is at least one failure that has been brushed under the rug. The queen of talk is not exception to this rule.

3. Rachael Ray Overkill
2. Oprah's YouTube Channel 1. Winfrey’s endorsement of the controversial self-help program 'The Secret'.

Will Oprah’s endorsement be a Obama’s saving grace, or will her interference be the downfall of another man’s future?



Personally, I think that the former will prevail. Either way, no one can doubt the elegant orator that Oprah has become.