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Melvin B. Miller

Stories by Melvin B.

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An unwarranted intrusion on parental rights

The National Football League has no right to require the players of any team to refrain from spanking their children for discipline. It was shocking to learn that the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has essentially ordered the Minnesota Vikings to fire their black running back Adrian Peterson for disciplining his son.

City must find a non-disruptive solution to homeless problem

The sudden closing of the city’s Long Island shelter has caused disruption in the lives of many of the city’s homeless. The city reportedly considered using a recently shuttered hospital in Roxbury as a temporary shelter.

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Voting: A key step to full equality

Efforts to gain social and economic equality of whites will come to little if blacks don’t exercise their right to vote.

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Another undeserved attack on an African American institution

A Boston Globe article highlighting the black-owned OneUnited Bank’s low Community Reinvestment Act score ignores the work the bank does investing the majority of its lending dollars in underserved urban areas.

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Visionaries seeking affluence for the people

Charles Stith and Andrew Young worked with federal regulators to shore up community reinvestment regulations for banks, helping ensure the economic benefits of banking activity are more broadly shared in the United States.

Beyond race and gender

This year’s statewide election features a gender-diverse pool of candidates for constitutional offices.

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Stay at the top of the political game

With higher-than average turnout numbers in recent elections, blacks have become a major force in Boston politics. High turnout in black communities could determine the outcome of the 2014 statewide election.

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Ballot questions let voters legislate

The Banner weighs in on the four questions on the 2014 Massachusetts ballot.

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No stop-and-frisk without probable cause to arrest

Barring police from stopping and searching people unless they have probable cause to arrest would go a long way toward bettering relations between the department and the community.

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Be somebody: Register to vote

Everybody has equal say on Election Day.

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America’s race sickness afflicts public health

Many Americans hold negative views of Obama Care, unless they don’t know they’re receiving it.

Commentary: Shifting sexual mores present new challenges

In January, a White House report entitled “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action” found that one in five women have been sexually assaulted in college. President Obama launched a new effort in September called “It’s On Us” to combat such offenses on college campuses. Old grads wonder whether the current openness of college dormitories is partially to blame.

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No excuses for failure to vote

With a criminal justice system that is skewed against blacks and a city council with just one black member, blacks in Ferguson would do well to exercise their political power and vote.

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Governor’s race wide open

While Massachusetts has consistently voted for Democrats in congressional and presidential races, voters have shown little party loyalty in gubernatorial races. With Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Charlie Baker running neck-and-neck, this year’s gubernatorial race could go either way.

Commentary: A challenge to parental discipline

Decades ago, standard equipment for an elementary school teacher in Boston was a rattan switch. Prescribing the rattan was a non-pharmaceutical remedy for ADHD.

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Equality still a challenge after 40 years of busing

Court-ordered desegregation was implemented in response to the longstanding unequal allocation of resources in Boston’s public schools.

The math is simple: Entitlements decline with the growth of good-paying jobs

Many low-income workers are better off on public benefits that pay for housing, food, and health care than they are working a minimum wage job. A Harvard economist argues that allowing people to continue to collect benefits while employed would help transition workers into financial independence.

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Good news in the battle against poverty

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the birth rate for teens 15-19 years old has dropped from 57 percent in 1991 to 26 percent today. The decline in teen births has saved the government $12 billion in the cost of providing social services.

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Ferguson blacks reap consequences of failure to vote

Blacks make up nearly 70 percent of the population of Ferguson, Mo., yet there’s just one black person on the town’s board of selectmen and just three of the town’s 53 officers are black. Voter turnout among blacks in Ferguson is low, leaving the town’s white minority in control of municipal government.

Broadening children’s perspectives

Conversations about race and ethnicity in America rarely include concern about the status and well-being of Native Americans

Book on Native Americans can give children a broader perspective on Native Americans and the natural world.

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Obama’s tough response is appropriate

Criticism of President Obama’s response to the Islamic State’s murder of James Foley ignores the broader implications of the president’s response.

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Police homicides: A continuing national problem

Police shootings of unarmed black men will continue until blacks amass political power.

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Ferguson, Missouri’s lesson on elections

Being Majority Minority does not beget power - voting does.

Ferguson demonstrates to blacks in Boston and elsewhere that voting is not at all an idle exercise.

Globe articles target vital small business program that benefits Boston’s small businesses

A series of Boston Globe articles targeted The Boston Local Development Corporation, a BRA lending program that shored up local businesses during the Great Recession.

Re-elect Auditor Bump — keep government honest

State Auditor Suzanne Bump has uncovered waste and fraud in government agencies, leading to significant government reforms.

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Decriminalize marijuana: End prosecutorial discrimination against blacks

Studies have shown marijuana to be far less harmful than alcohol, yet its continued status as an illegal drug contributes to discriminatory prosecution of blacks, who are 3.7 times as likely as whites to be incarcerated on drug charges.

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Smart choices for public safety

Banner endorses Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins and former state rep. Warren Tolman for attorney general

Banner endorses Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins for sheriff and former state rep. Warren Tolman for attorney general

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Diversity at The Conventions in Boston

The NABJ and the Boule held their conventions in Boston for the first time in their history

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the Boule held their conventions in Boston for the first time.

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Too many excluded from the nation’s prosperity

A pattern of income inequality is destroying the middle class and the American way of life, and it is afflicting whites as well as blacks.

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Steve Grossman for governor

Banner endorses Steve Grossman’s campaign for governor

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Income inequality: A continuing American problem

The belief held by many whites that poverty is a black problem diverts attention from the widening gap between the nation’s wealthy and the middle class

Mississippi blacks show greater sophistication at the ballot box

Black voters in Mississippi crossed party lines to block a Tea Party candidate from winning the Republican primary

Commentary: Media miss the mark on U.S. withdrawal from Iraq

While many in the U.S. media have criticized President Barak Obama for his decision to withdraw troops from Iraq, the president made sound policy decisions to protect U.S. troops

Commentary: Now who you calling lazy? Ryan’s racist attack fails

The rate of unemployment in the first quarter of 2014 was 6.9 percent. As expected, the rate for blacks was higher at 12.2 percent, twice the rate for whites. According to Paul Ryan, House Budget Committee chairman, this is the result of poverty in our inner cities.

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It is imperative that African Americans remain politically active in next election

African Americans are key voting block and their votes can make the difference in a close election. In the presidential election of 2012 66.2 % of eligible blacks went to the polls

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Racial identity still a puzzling problem

Racially-ambiguous singer/actor Herb Jeffries pursued his career as a black man in an era when it was not profitable to do so

Full speed ahead with Tremont Crossing

Boston is being rebuilt. On the waterfront, new hotels, office towers and apartment buildings have changed its character. The waterfront has become the Innovation and Design District. Now it is time for a transformation in Roxbury.

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Objectors to Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper effort undermine initiative to help black boys, men

Several prominent blacks have voiced objections to President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper effort to alleviate the problems facing black men in the U.S. on the grounds that black women should be included.

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Blacks need to implement an effective strategy to develop power and prosperity

John Conyers of Detroit was first elected to Congress in 1964. In every session he has filed a bill for Congress to consider reparations to African Americans. Year after year the bill has generated little interest. Several black intellectuals, including Randall Robinson and Charles Ogletree, have also made cogent arguments for reparations but with little result.

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African Americans must revive commitment to higher education

The employment qualifications for jobs with a future more frequently include a college degree. Inspired by the opportunities, African Americans now enroll in college in greater numbers. However, statistics indicate that 40 percent of those who attend college as freshmen do not graduate in six years. The dropout rate for community colleges is even higher — 50 percent. Those who leave college without a degree are left with substantial debt and no greater opportunity for employment.

Commentary: Remnants of ’70s defiance persist on Boston City Council

None of the present members of the Boston City Council are old enough to remember the enormous impact on American society when the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954. With the emergence of a law with such national impact, Boston was embarrassed by the pathetic opposition to school desegregation.

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Come late to the electoral process and lose the power

In Massachusetts, civic-minded citizens go to the polls to vote in every election for governor. While that is commendable, it is no longer enough. Political campaigns have become pitched battles between wealthy conservatives and persistent plebeians. Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions liberalizing restrictions on campaign contributions have shifted the advantage to the plutocrats.

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Unveiling subconscious discrimination

Reasonable Americans would agree that racist behavior is undesirable. However, some people are unable to perceive the discriminatory nature of their own conduct. Observers must wonder what drives such pernicious behavior, especially in financially successful people like Donald Sterling.

Commentary: Protecting the reputation of an esteemed organization

One of the most disturbing aspects of the Donald Sterling fiasco is that the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP was scheduled to bestow upon the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team the 2014 Humanitarian Award. This decision was another event that would erode the reputation of an esteemed national organization.

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Poverty in America knows no racial bounds

Many Americans once believed in the old adage "if you work hard and follow the rules you will succeed in life." As the possibility for sustaining a middle class lifestyle declines, and poverty has become more common, attitudes toward the likelihood of success and poverty have changed.

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A propaganda campaign to destroy self-image

Racial discrimination in education and employment denied African Americans the right to progress in society, and discrimination in places of public accommodation was both inconvenient and demeaning. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 specifically outlawed throughout the country all three of those discriminatory policies. However, a media-driven strategy to marginalize, insult and humiliate African Americans has been underway without impediment for generations. The First Amendment with "freedom of speech or of the press" has provided an impervious protection of the bigotry.

Reading skills are essential to success

Research by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the University of Wisconsin revealed that only 3 percent of books published last year had black characters and only 2 percent of the writers were black. The industry’s response to the data is that black books just don’t sell. Nonetheless, it has been found that the absence of characters in children’s literature that look like the blacks learning to read is discouraging to them.

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New strategies needed for future victories

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Over the months there will be numerous celebrations of various aspects of this legislation that changed the course of American society. Yet even after 50 years many African Americans do not accept the notion that the civil rights war is essentially over and they have won.

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A lost opportunity to tackle legislative misconduct

With lightning speed the Massachusetts House recently approved stronger measures against domestic violence. Unfortunately, the legislative enthusiasm waned and there has been no change in the rules of conduct for representatives. There is still no requirement for the summary expulsion from the House of any member convicted of a misdemeanor. Consequently, the sudden sensitivity for the long ignored rights of abused women does not launder the loss of reputation the House suffered because of the unjustified eviction of Carlos Henriquez.

The monetization of the voting process

Republican sycophants gathered at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas to audition for Sheldon Adelson’s political support only a few days before the U.S. Supreme Court published its opinion in the McCutcheon case. The 5-4 decision lifted any restrictions on the amount of money an individual can contribute in an election cycle. Adelson had reportedly contributed $93 million in the 2012 presidential campaign, and potential candidates for 2016 were seeking his financial support.

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