Rights and Democracy
The NCAA is mulling the expansion of the men’s college basketball tournament, an inevitability that will mean young athletes will rake in millions more dollars for their schools. Marc Morial’s recent OtherWords op-ed, College Basketball Graduation Rate Insanity and cartoonist Khalil Bendib’s accompanying cartoon highlight this exploitation, which will only deepen as the money increases. And this change would be a great opportunity to follow up on Morial’s suggestion “that schools failing to graduate at least 80 percent of their athletes not only be ineligible for post-season play, but lose all of their athletic scholarships.”
The Washington Post ran a front page story reminding us that our schools are a reflection of our society as a whole. And in many parts of the country, segregation is on the rise again. Just a week before the Post story ran, OtherWords columnist William A. Collins wrote about how electing our first African-American president didn’t do away with racism in America. In it, he noted how our schools’ “slow drift toward re-segregation has continued unabated.” This cartoon by OtherWords cartoonist Khalil Bendib, titled School Resegregation, illustrates this problem.
What part of “in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone my enjoy his economic, social and cultural rights, as well as his civil and political rights and freedom” do our lawmakers reject?
In March, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top diplomatic officials traveled to Mexico to announce a “new phase” of U.S.-Mexico cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking. In her address, Clinton referred to increased funding for drug treatment programs in the U.S. and anti-poverty efforts in Mexico. Unfortunately, these positive developments were paired with a failure to recognize the inevitable outcome of any program that intends to crush drug violence with more violence: failure.
Colleges prepare all year for the lucrative chance to send a team to the basketball championship tournament commonly known as “March Madness.” But, when it comes to making sure that student-athletes are academically prepared for the game of life, madness quickly turns to insanity.
When Jaime Escalante died, we lost a pioneering teacher who changed people’s ideas of what children are capable of learning. Many people know about Escalante’s work from the popular movie “Stand and Deliver,” which depicted his success teaching Advanced Placement (AP) calculus classes to students at East Los Angeles’s Garfield High School. The Bolivian-born teacher died at 79 of cancer on March 30.
She stands up for the rest of us before retiring to her mandatory suite in a luxury hotel and an additional two single rooms for her entourage.
It’s not that American racism ever went away. If things seemed to pick up for minorities during the artificial boom years, it had little to do with public intention. If African Americans had an easier time buying a house, it was more because the market was overbuilt than because of any greater tolerance. If mortgages were easily available, it was more due to the need for new swindle victims than to bankers experiencing a sudden vision of racial harmony.
The sexual abuse scandal that began in Boston eight years ago, involving the Church hierarchy’s widespread refusal to protect youngsters from child-molesting priests, spread inexorably around the world–Canada, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, Germany–until it finally reached the heart of the Mother Church, the Vatican, where it now rests at the feet of the Pope himself, Benedict XVI.