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One Serious Problem Gone (Jewish Journal, February 1, 2012)

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The City Council's Shameless Pander (The Wide Angle, October 20, 2011)

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Stout Awards Honors Olney, Morrison and Mantle (The Wide Angle, October 20, 2011)

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Dance With Who Brung ‘Ya (Jewish Journal, September 28, 2011)

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Jury Got It Right in the ‘Irvine 11’ Case (The OC Register, September 23, 2011)

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'Irvine 11' Muslim student protesters found guilty on both charges (KPCC’s Airtalk, September 23, 2011)

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Voting Rights Act Outdated in Modern Day LA (The Daily News, August 21, 2011)

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What Los Angeles Can Teach the UK (BBC News World, August 15, 2011)

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When Did Carrying An ID Become A “White Thing”? (The OC Register, August 15, 2011)

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Bill Crafts Disneyland Version of History (The Sacramento Bee, July 14, 2011)

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An Education Game Changer (The Wide Angles, July 12 2011)

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A Flotilla of Fools (The Wide Angle Blog, July 8, 2011)

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Advocacy, the Academy and Mushy Thinking (The Wide Angle Blog, July 1, 2011)

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Tragic Fiction comes to Life (The Wide Angle, June 23, 2011)

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Coalition Sues to Keep Circumcision Ban Off Ballot (The Jewish Journal, June 22, 2011)

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The Circumcision Wars (The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2011)

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Male Circumcision Ban Proposed in Santa Monica (The Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2011)

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Right Goal, Wrong Strategy (The Wide Angle Blog, May 11, 2011)

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The Bus Has Left the Station (City Journal, April 1, 2011)

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UCLA Leads the Pack (The Wide Angle Blog, March 29, 2011)

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Mixed Race Marriages and Our Attitudes (The Wide Angles, March 25, 2011)

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The Uncle Tom Accusation, Again (The Wide Angle Blog, March 18, 2011)

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A Forward Looking Decision in Civil Rights (The Wide Angle Blog, March 9, 2011)

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A Rising Wave of Anti-Semitism (Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2009)

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The Wide Angle, A Community Advocates Blog (July - September, 2009)

July… August… September…

Israeli Consul General, Palestinian Lobbyist Reach Mock Peace Agreement (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 6, 2009)

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Critical Issues Seminar—Mock Peace Summit in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, April 29, 2009)

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In Battle Between Teachers, LAUSD, It’s the Kids Who Lose (Daily News, March 6, 2009)

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L.A. at the Tipping Point (www.RonKaye.LA, February 13, 2009)

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Theatrics by the Teachers (Daily News, February 8, 2009)

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Chicago Vs. Los Angeles Their Supe Is Obama’s New Education Man. Our Supe is Nice But… (LA Weekly, January 23, 2009)

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Critical Issues Seminar—Millennials Remaking America with KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, January 21, 2009)

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The Good News About Gaza in America (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, January 21, 2009)

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What Oakland Should be Protesting (Los Angeles Times, January 19, 2009)

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Calling All Radical Reformers to LAUSD (Daily News, December 14, 2008)

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Attention Politicians: Pandering Won’t Fly (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, November 12, 2008)

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Presentation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Ziegler Prize for Courage of Conviction (Japan American Theatre, October 22, 2008)

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The Problems and Potential of South L.A., A Dust-Up Exchange between Joe R. Hicks and Earl Ofari Hutchinson (Los Angeles Times, August 11-15, 2008)

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Find Fresh Ideas to Battle Hate, Letter to the Editor (Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2008)

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Fast Food Freeze is a Good Choice for South LA by Jan Perry, Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2008)

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Do You Want Poppycock With That? by Tim Rutten (Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2008)

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Fast-food Moratorium is Meddling (Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2008)

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Critical Issues Seminar on the Role of Race in the 2008 Elections in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, June 27, 2008)

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Shalom is not Funny (Letter to the Editor, Los Angeles Downtown News, June 23, 2008)

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A Dangerous and Precedent Setting Intrusion (Jewish Journal, June 13, 2008)

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“Ziman and Lee” (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 16, 2008

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We Don’t Need More Gabfests on Diversity (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 2, 2008)

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Families Deserve More than a Moratorium (Los Angeles Times, Blowback, April 10, 2008)

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On Any Given Sunday, Rev. Wright is Wrong (www.theroot.com, March 26, 2008)

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Obama’s Minister (KPCC’s Airtalk, March 18, 2008)

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LA Gang Violence Spikes (Associated Press, March 6, 2008)

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Critical Issues Seminar on The State of the Black Civil Rights Movement Today in conjunction with the Los Angeles Public Library and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, February)

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Asking Too Much (Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2008)

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Playing a Frayed and Faded Race Card (Jewish Journal, January 18, 2008)

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Limiting Fast Food Outlets---Path to Better Health? (KCET’s Life & Times, December 20, 2007)

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The State Bar and Revealing Data on Minority Passage Rates (KCET’s Life & Times, December 18, 2007)

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Divisions in the Jewish Community—Talking About Jerusalem (KCET’s Life & Times, December 12, 2007)

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Do Los Angeles’ Anti-Gang Programs Work? (KCET’s Life & Times, December 6, 2007)

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Sharpton Leads Call for Federal Investigation of Hate Crimes (Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2007)

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Race Card Backlash (Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2007)

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Critical Issues Seminar on Charter Schools in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, October 5, 2007)

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The Private Lives of Public Officials (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, October 2, 2007)

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“Smart Growth” and Los Angeles Planning (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 20, 2007)

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Civil Rights in Louisiana (To the Point, KCRW-FM, September 20, 2007)

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The Racial/Ethnic Educational Achievement Gap (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 12, 2007)

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Board Vote Not Aimed At Students (Los Angeles Daily News, September 9, 2007)

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Healthcare Reform and Politics (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 5, 2007)

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The Constitution and Sex Offenders (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, August 30, 2007)

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‘Profiles in Courage’ ( Jewish Journal, August 24, 2007)

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Where’s the Fire? (Washington Post, August 2, 2007)

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Race and Politics in a Changing South LA (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 20, 2007)

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Gangsta Rap and its Impact (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 13, 2007)

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Mexican Americans and Drunk Driving (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 6, 2007)

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Baseball and the Decline in African-American Players (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 30, 2007)

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Los Angeles Unified’s New Board (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 23, 2007)

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Hollywood and its Impact on Political Discourse (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 16, 2007)

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New Times and the NAACP (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 9, 2007)

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Downtown Homeless and the LAPD (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 2, 2007)

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Immigration and the new Sanctuary Movement (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 25, 2007)

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The Teachers’ Union and School Reform, (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 18, 2007)

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Drop the Race Card (Washington Post, April 15, 2007)

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The Takeover of the Times (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 11, 2007)

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The Governor’s Health Care Plan (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, March 28, 2007)

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Racism in the LA Fire Department? (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, March 14, 2007)

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Critical Issues Seminar in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, February 26, 2007)

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“Has the Nanny State Gone Too Far?” (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, February 28, 2007)

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“Justice Takes A Beating In Long Beach Racial Hatred Case” ( Jewish Journal, February 16, 2007)

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“Gang ‘Marshall Plan’ - Will It Work?” (KCET’s Life & Times’ Kitchen Table Conversation, February 14, 2007)

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“Living Wages or Dying Businesses?” (KCET’s Life & Times Kitchen Table Conversation, January 31, 2007)

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“Gangs of New York and LA” (Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, January 26, 2007)

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KCET’s Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “The Future of the Middle Class in Los Angeles” (Life & Times, January 17, 2007)

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“Does Abe Foxman Have An Anti-Anti-Semite Problem?”, (New York Times Magazine, January 14, 2007)

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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Military Recruitment on Campus---Right or Wrong?” January 3, 2007

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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Is There An Assault on Christmas?” December 13, 2006

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Racism Claims a Stretch" (Daily News, December 1, 2006)

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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “What is Racism Today?” November 29, 2006

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"Racism in Entertainment", (KCRW's "Which Way LA?", November 27,2006)

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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Border Fence---Boondogle or Barrier?” (life & Times, November 15, 2006)

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“LA’s Jews and Other Minorities---Oh How They Danced” (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, November 11, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Racial Profiling and a National ID Card" (Life & Times, October 18, 2006)

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Critical Issues Seminar in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, October 9, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Immigration Debate Divides Conservatives" (Life & Times, October 5, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Drugs in Sports" (Life & Times, October 3, 2006)

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Award Dispute", KPCC's Airtalk, September 15,2006

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"Two Faced On Terrorism", Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2006

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Award to Islamic Leader Hathout Stirs Dispute", KCRW's Which Way LA?, September 14, 2006

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "California's High School Exit Exam?", ( Life & Times, August 23, 2006)

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"4 Los Angeles Latino Gang Members Convicted of Anti-Black Conspiracy" (Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2006)

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"Muslim Council's Bias All Too Clear" (Los Angeles Daily News, August 1, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "UCLA's Minority Admissions, (Life & Times, July 19, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Celebrity Causes--Ego or Altruism?", ( Life & Times, July 13, 2006)

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Did Anti-Semitism Take Root at the South Central Farm? (Jewish Journal, June 23,2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversations regarding Immigration and Employment (Life & Times, June 21,2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of news segment on the South Los Angeles Farm controversy (Life & Times, June 6, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kithcen-table Conversation regarding the Mayoral takeover of the Los Angeles Unified School District (Life & Times, June 6, 2006)

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Letter to the Editor regarding Race, Religion, and Demographic Change (Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Hybrid Cars and Energy Conservation (Life & Times, May 23, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Teen Sex (Life & Times, May 18, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Black Brown Tensions in LA (Life & Times, May 2, 2006)

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Debate education policy, not race (Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Fatherless Parenting (Life & Times, April 11, 2006)

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Border Protests Not Fight for Civil Rights (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, April 7, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Black-Brown tensions (Life & Times, April 4, 2006)

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Civil Rights? How About Lawlessness? (Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Immigration (Life & Times, March 30, 2006)

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Differing Views of Race in L.A. Collide in 'Crash' (Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2006)

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Disputed Film Draws Muted Response (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, February 10, 2006)

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Blacks vs. Latinos at Work (Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2006)

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The Munich Concern Is Us--Not Film (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, January 20, 2006) with Dr. Michael Berenbaum

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NAACP Leader Turned Heads By Backing Tookie (Baltimore Sun, January 15, 2006) Joe Hicks quoted

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Munich Portrays Real World Issues (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, December 23,2005), with Dr. Michael Berenbaum

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New Farrakhan Embodies Old Message (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, October 21, 2005)

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Levees Let Loose An Ugly Flood of Black Paranoia (Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2005)

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Lessons From the Ruins (LA Weekly, August 12, 2005)

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Let's Make A Diploma Mean Something (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2005)

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Police Beating of Minister Disputed (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2005)

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We Only Burned Ourselves, Baby (Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2005)

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Knee-jerk Activists and Their Tantrum Politics (Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2005)

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"Crash" Is No Picture of the Real Los Angeles (Los Angeles Daily News, June 24, 2005)

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Hit Film Paints Inaccurate Picture of Diverse LA (89.3 KPCC Perspectives, June 23, 2005)
Joe Hicks, the vice president of Community Advocates, says the hit movie Crash ...
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Jackson Trial Reaction Shows How Unimportant Race Is in US (Los Angeles Daily News, June 19, 2005)

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"Reel Life" (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, June 10, 2005)

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Joe Hicks talks about the election results (89.3 KPCC AirTalk, May 18, 2005)
with KPCC's Larry Mantle and reporter Adolfo Guzman Lopez, Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Raphe Sonenshein, Bill Rosendahl, Rick Caruso, Antonia Hernandez, , Joel Kotkin and D.J. Waldie.
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Joe R. Hicks
 
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LA Weekly, August 12, 2005

Lessons From the Ruins

BY JOE R. HICKS

The young National Guard soldier raised his service rifle, looked me over and said, “Nigger, I said get inside!” It was a warm summer evening, and I was trying to enjoy the nearly nonexistent breeze on the porch of my tiny rented South L.A. home. The riots had been raging within blocks of my house for several days, and an 8 p.m. curfew had been imposed on what was described as “black Los Angeles.” However, after having lived all of my life in the predominantly black neighborhoods of South L.A., I had never been called that name by anybody — of any race. These were, after all, the days before the use of the N word was made popular by the gangsta culture of urban America. I was incensed by the young Guard’s order and went inside seething with anger. The embers of the arsonists’ fires had barely begun to cool when I hit the streets looking for some political activity. It wasn’t hard to find.

As a young working-class person, I had not been very politically involved. I graduated from Jefferson High School, did a stint in the military and began working some mind-numbing job at the gas company. It was a “nine-to-five” which helped pay the bills for the family life I had started only a year before the riots erupted. I was aware of the civil rights struggles, but they seemed to have occurred a million miles from my South L.A. existence. By August of 1965 the full extent of my political involvement had been to attend a meeting of the Nation of Islam, where the featured speaker was Malcolm X. But bean pies and bow ties didn’t have much appeal at the time, and I made no strides toward the growing militancy that was overwhelming the old-guard civil rights organizations. That all changed after my brief interaction with the young, white National Guardsman.

Truth be told, this kid was most likely scared to death by the circumstances he found himself in — on the streets of a strange city, trying to bring about order in the midst of chaos. I wonder how many times he’d been called “cracker” by angry black folks as he patrolled the streets. But at that point, I was in no mood to cut him any slack. Within months of the riots, I developed a relationship with Maulana Karenga’s US Organization, a cultural nationalist group that was virulently anti-white and claimed to take its cues from Africa and African “culture.” Karenga’s group had ties to the Black Congress, an umbrella grouping of Black Power organizations Walter Bremond tried to oversee — which must have been akin to herding cats. The Congress building on south Broadway became ground zero for black political organizing of all sorts.

In that building, the formation of the L.A. chapter of the Black Panther Party was announced. Angela Davis, under the sway of the New Leftist guru Herbert Marcuse, dropped in from time to time, and a young Stanley Crouch, even then, was articulate and thoughtful. The Congress was also the site of constant bickering and internecine battles — as the Panthers and US, along with their various allies, squared off in disagreements that turned ugly and ultimately deadly.

By the time L.A. exploded in August 1965, the thrust of anti-racist politics had already begun to change. The mood in many northern cities, and certainly in Los Angeles, was that time and events had eclipsed the traditional civil rights organizations. Some felt that the largely integrationist aims of these groups were outmoded, with little to counter the romanticized call for Black Power . . . by any means necessary. This may have been the time frame when the black struggle for equality and justice, which had gloriously seized the American moral high ground, dissolved into a movement with aims and goals that were questionable when they surfaced — and are even more questionable today.

It is tempting to say that the riots that left 34 dead, 4,000 jailed, 1,000 or more injured, and caused an estimated $200 million in property damage in Los Angeles alone — not to mention the scope of death and destruction in other cities like Detroit, Newark and others during America’s so-called “long hot summers” of the mid- to late 1960s — accomplished nothing. Sure, we saw construction of the King/Drew medical complex in Watts/Willowbrook (now trying to bounce back after the hospital had its own near-death experience); gradual reforms within the LAPD; and the questionable spending of endless amounts of tax dollars on poverty programs that functioned more like jobs programs. But nothing else was accomplished, that is, other than the destruction of businesses, both small and large, which once provided badly needed jobs and services for the people who lived in Watts. South L.A. continues to struggle to attract businesses and investments, as it was when the second shoe dropped — the 1992 riots. Community scars from ’65 and ’92 still exist in the form of empty lots or abandoned buildings where business once operated. In 1965 the burning and looting concentrated on Jewish-owned businesses, then in 1992 the nihilism focused on Asian-owned shops and stores — primarily those owned or operated by Korean-Americans.

Forty years after Watts, many things have changed — while others have not. The demographics of the area contained within Alameda Street on the east, Crenshaw Boulevard on the west, Rosecrans Avenue to the south and Washington Boulevard to the north have changed dramatically in the intervening years. Watts/Willowbrook was 80 percent black in 1980 but today is about 60 percent Latino. The LAPD, mostly white in 1965, is today more than 50 percent minority and women officers, and has had two black police chiefs since the 1990s. Reform has taken root in the department, and many of the odious procedures — like making suspects lie prone in the streets and using deadly chokeholds — have been discarded. Since the Rodney King beating, policies regarding the use of the police baton have been rewritten, as have use-of-force policies. Housing discrimination is largely a thing of the past — except for the sticky problem of Latino landlords in inner-city communities who prefer renting to other Latinos, as well as some black landlords who also practice this “selective” renting policy. Employment opportunities for L.A.’s black and brown job seekers, once restricted by racist hiring policies, is now limited more by low skill levels than anything else — a byproduct of the inability of the city’s public schools to prepare students for the world of work.

There has also been a curious effort on the part of political activists to define the 1965 riots as a “revolt,” a “disturbance,” an “uprising” or even a “revolution” of some sorts. Let’s get real: The Watts Riots was . . . a riot. Webster defines a riot as “a public disorder, tumult or disorder . . . a violent public disorder: a tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons assembled together and acting with a common intent.” But in keeping with the spirit of the day, as well as later when the 1992 riots occurred, activists placed a veneer of intentional politics over simple “hooliganism.”

In the meantime, the 1965 ethos of violence — enshrined in the pantheon of political activism — has generated a legacy that the residents of Watts and other poor communities struggle with to this very day. Even while the general homicide levels dropped across L.A. in 2003 by an impressive 23 percent, the fact remains that 39 percent of the city’s 506 homicides that year were black, and 36 percent of the murder suspects were black, although L.A.’s black population is only 11 percent. Of the LAPD’s 18 divisions, those reporting the highest levels of homicide were the Southeast, 77th Street, Southwest and Newton, divisions that service L.A.’s predominantly black and brown areas. For five straight years nearly 40 percent of the city’s homicides have been black. Nonetheless, all too many of today’s activists and civil rights figures — along with high-profile black elected officials — continue to point fingers at forces outside of South L.A. as the primary cause of the communities’ woes.

Any remembrances of the 1965 Watts Riots must include sober discussion of why, 40 years later, large parts of this city continue to labor under the weight of poverty, low educational skills, and rampant gangs and violence, as well as a less than vibrant business life. Some would say that this is because the “system” still conspires to exploit, suppress and oppress black and brown people. I say it’s because some continue to look in the rear-view mirror, focused on yesterday’s realities, and serving up excuses and disempowering theories of victimization rather than exploring realistic answers to troubling problems.

Joe R. Hicks is the vice president of Community Advocates. He formerly directed the activities of the L.A. City Human Relations Commission and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

 

 
   
 
 
   

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