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Melvin B. Miller

Stories by Melvin B.

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Higher education now more necessary than ever

The cost of education is now so expensive that some have concluded that it makes economic sense to get a job right after high school. The problem with that conclusion is that by 2020, it is projected that 65 percent of available jobs will require postsecondary education.

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The poor are entitled to justice

With his peremptory pardon of Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Donald Trump has demonstrated that the principle “no man is above the law” is a fraud.

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Slavery can’t be edited out of U.S. history

After the organized racist and anti-Semitic violence in Charlottesville, many Americans became aware for the first time of the dynamic influence of the Confederacy that initiated America’s Civil War. Reliable journalistic reports established that there are an estimated 1500 statues, monuments and plaques as tributes to those who were prominent figures in the Confederate states and the Civil War against the U.S. government.

A complex, universal problem

At the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, 41 of the 56 delegates owned slaves. As a consequence, it would be an obliteration of the nation’s history if there was a decision to remove any record of or memorial to a slave-holding Founding Father.

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White nationalism: an economic dead-end

The spirit of America rests in the credo of the Declaration of Independence. The white nationalists reject that standard. Americans who abide by the vision of national unity must be prepared to oppose those who bring nothing more than their racial and religious hate and hostility.

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Psychiatrists gone mute

Political opponents are often harshly critical of one another. It is not uncommon for one to assert that the policy proposals of the other are crazy. But with Donald Trump in the White House the criticism has become more personal. Some believe that Trump is psychologically deranged, but strangely enough competently trained psychiatrists are unwilling to speak openly on the matter.

And the children shall lead them ...

Teens with the Hyde Square Task Force have demonstrated to us all the advantage of vigilance and persistence.

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Trump power grab imperils democracy

The intrigue at the White House might seem to be beyond the concern of the average voter, but indeed it is not. There is definitely a move to expand the powers of the president beyond the normal limits of our democracy. Voters should not be indifferent about the ability of a president to oppress racial minorities more readily.

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A new concept of reparations

Unequal school funding, federally-sanctioned housing discrimination, false imprisonment, police abuse and other government-sanctioned policies make a more compelling case for reparations than slavery, a practice that became illegal in 1865.

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Trump and the Russians: An unholy alliance

Clearly, Trump’s connection with Russia is not philosophical. He has already demonstrated a willingness to desecrate a major economic principle of the presidency, that the office will operate for the benefit of the republic and not to increase the president’s wealth. But given Reagan’s legacy, why have conservatives also abandoned that principle?

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In memoriam: S. Allen Counter 1944-2017

The world has lost one of its greatest humanists with the recent death of Dr. S. Allen Counter. There is no one else to explore the globe so bravely, in search of the history of the African people.

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America: A fallen leader?

Every year at this time it was once common for American youth to celebrate July 4th with shouts of “we’re number one.” This was an exuberant recognition of the economic achievement of the United States, as well as the nation’s commitment to the principle of democracy. The election of Donald Trump to the White House has muted this practice.

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Michelle Carter case shows words now carry criminal liability

People have always believed that words have power, but until the case of Commonwealth vs. Michelle Carter, it was not known that words uttered in a crisis could cause someone to be convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

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Trump administration is a menace to the Republic

Trump ran a tasteless campaign for president with a candidacy designed to mobilize the white underclass, the people who have felt forgotten. Those who expect more from a president have had to endure Trump’s fusillade of lies. One aspect of Trump’s policy should disturb every American. He is using the presidency to enhance his business wealth, perhaps at the expense of the interests of the country.

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A diminished role for black community elders?

Memorial services are rarely festive events, but the recent celebration of the life of Barbara Clark Elam seemed to be especially solemn. Even though she had been incapacitated for some time by the throes of Alzheimer’s, her death seemed to mark the end of times when the role of community elders was significant. As Rev. Julien Cook preached allegorically in his sermon, “with the loss of an elder we lose the book.”

Free speech revisited at Harvard University

There seems to be confusion among some Americans about what constitutes freedom of speech in the nation. The issue arose because at least 10 students who had been admitted to Harvard University have had their acceptance revoked. They had apparently authored racially or sexually offensive memes on a social media site. The Harvard administration decided that such conduct disqualified them for admission.

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Maintain Boston Latin’s academic standards

It is time to find the strategy for better attendance of blacks in prep classes rather than to pursue a remedy to improve diversity at Boston Latin School that would denigrate the value of one of Boston’s treasures.

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The enduring dignity of the civil rights era

The country’s racial conflict has provided countless opportunities for individuals, both black and white, to step up. A recent obituary of Barbara Smith Conrad in the New York Times tells a tale of a conflict at the University of Texas in Austin as the college began efforts to desegregate after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954.

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Voting rights conflicts continue

There is little doubt that Republicans will continue to use gerrymandering to minimize the impact of the black vote. The U.S. Supreme Court will probably determine in its fall session the limits on political redistricting. It appears that the battle to maximize the impact of the black vote is not yet over.

Malden charter school’s ethnically insensitive hair policy

While Mystic Valley Charter School was undoubtedly well intentioned, it was advisable to suspend the school’s dress code which now violates the U.S. Department of Justice guidelines by imposing a restriction on black students that will not apply to others.

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Keith Motley unfairly scapegoated

Many people believe that Keith Motley’s reputation took a fall to benefit those who were more responsible for the UMass Boston problems.

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Blacks oppose monuments to the seditious Confederacy

From the black perspective monuments to Confederate generals stand for white supremacy. It is absurd for white protesters to expect that blacks, who are in the majority, would continue to tolerate the existence of the symbols of their oppression and disenfranchisement.

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No easy explanation for Fenway Park racism

Boston has to work to change its culture. The “City on a Hill” must have a metropolitan demeanor in order to sustain its lofty reputation. But there must be some considerable effort to identify the causes of the mindless white racism.

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A bad tradeoff

Patriot’s Day is a major holiday in Massachusetts. It is a celebration of the beginning of America’s Revolutionary War against Britain. Every year a rider impersonating William Dawes rides a horse from Eliot Square in Roxbury to warn the residents of the western suburbs that “the British are coming.” Minutemen reenactors confront the British Redcoats in Concord and Lexington and once again fire “the shot heard around the world.” The performance of the colonial militia generated a strong interest among early Americans in maintaining the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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Talk is cheap: Police killings require substantive changes

What manner of conversation will modify unpleasant attitudes that have become part of the American culture? The problems facing the nation cannot be overcome with mild pleasantries. If whites learn to understand that black lives matter, perhaps they can also then move on to love one another. Mere conversations will not get us there.

Publisher’s statement on web-based help wanted ads

Now the Banner has developed an efficient digital system that will simplify the efforts of human resource executives to recruit needed staff. And the system is cost-effective. What is more, a digital help wanted Banner ad will reach a youthful, more highly-educated and metropolitan-oriented audience on the Banner website.

Free college tuition: An idea whose time has come

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Sen. Bernie Sanders pledged to provide free tuition at public colleges and universities. This was attacked by conservatives as unrealistically expensive. However, public colleges in California and City College of New York had once been tuition free. Now Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has proposed free tuition at community colleges for Boston public school graduates.

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Voters: the essential element of democracy

At no time in recent memory have the principles of democracy that are the nation’s foundation been more threatened. It is critical for citizens to provide the volunteers and financial resources to enable MassVOTE to accelerate its efforts.

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A crippling social malady

America’s racism is complex and confusing. Toni Morrison, the prize winning author, in an interview with Charlie Rose some years ago, stated its nature quite simply: “Don’t you understand that people who do this thing, who practice racism, are bereft? There is something distorted about the psyche. It’s a huge waste and it’s a corruption, and it’s a distortion.”

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Highest incarceration rate: America’s dubious distinction

American politicians enhanced their get tough on crime reputations with laws that required imprisonment for violators, but the rising cost of incarceration is forcing social policy planners to consider the impact on government budgets.

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The people matter

An aroused and committed public opposition of citizens successfully defeated the president and other politicians who attempted to revoke deserved public entitlements by artifice. The people should remain alert because other Trumpian frauds are likely to be revealed.

Needed: A cultural commitment to academic success

One thing is clear: The continued failure of blacks and Latinos to qualify for Boston Latin School is not acceptable.

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True patriotism is more than cheap platitudes

What they call patriotism now is a pale reflection of the love for America that abounded in the 1940s.

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Academia’s complicity in the slave trade

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study recently sponsored a well-attended conference entitled “Universities and Slavery: Bound by History,” to discuss the complicity of academia with slavery in America. When considering slavery, one’s first thought is the Civil War and plantation owners growing rich from forced labor. The nation’s exalted institutions were considered to be far removed from such a depraved practice. However, with the growing recognition of the involvement of esteemed universities in slavery, it is becoming more apparent that slavery was more extensive than was generally believed. Ironically, academia has become a major battleground for opposition to affirmative action.

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Arroyo suspension an undemocratic procedure

Felix Arroyo, the first person of color elected to be register of the Suffolk Probate Court has been suspended from office, pending an investigation of the dysfunctional operation of the office.

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The battle for voting rights continues

As the annual Black History Month draws to a close, it is well to remember George Santayana’s aphorism, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” After Barack Obama’s ascension to the presidency, there is a strong desire to conclude that a non-racial America has evolved. Indeed, the great legacy of black achievements for the benefit of the nation warrants the status of equality for black citizens. Every February African Americans note their contributions, but it is painful to recollect in detail the infliction suffered in generations of racial abuse.

An attack on consumers

An Obama rule requires investment advisors to consider the best interests of their customers in making decisions in retirement accounts was upheld.

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Are excessive police salaries in Boston’s public interest?

The highest paid city employee in 2016 was a Boston police detective who was paid $403,000. In fact, 98 of the top 100 highest earners were employees of the police department.

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A White House not worthy of respect

Americans believe that the president of the United States is due the greatest show of respect. Political commentators and the media have been trying to be deferential despite Donald Trump’s bizarre views and inappropriate conduct. But finally the lid is off. Sen. Bernie Sanders declared that Trump is a fraud. This statement by a highly regarded senator enables the public to criticize the president without being attacked for impropriety.

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An affront to Boston’s black history

David Jacobs decided to appropriate the Boston Guardian name when he found it inadvisable to continue publication of his Boston Courant under that legend. Any copyright protection of the Boston Guardian had expired, but Jacobs was nonetheless informed that the Guardian had special historical significance. Now every week there will be another desecration of the special status of Trotter’s Boston Guardian. Certainly Trotter’s protest against racial defamation ranks up there with other early Boston oppositions to injustice.

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Time to stop killer cops

Despite great public awareness of the violence between the police and unarmed blacks, the incidents continue. President Trump seems to have great sympathy for the police as does his attorney general designate, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Chances of blacks prevailing in criminal prosecutions against offending police officers are slim.

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America’s political schizophrenia

For many citizens, the issue of Russian hacking has not been satisfactorily resolved. Congress has agreed to investigate the matter further. Lewis has established a reputation for courage and integrity. Just as he stood tall on the Edmund Pettis Bridge on Bloody Sunday (March 7, 1965), Congressman Lewis stood alone to preserve the integrity of American democracy.

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Trump defies presidential standards

During the recent campaign for president, critics often expressed concern that Donald Trump was not presidential enough. For many people a certain dignity and decorum were required for the job. Nonetheless, Trump understood the necessity of appealing to the “ignored” and “overlooked.” He did not want to be identified as one of the “elite” who looked down upon the working class folks. Unfortunately, many of Trump’s constituents tolerate a laxity in the requirements for president that could damage democracy.

Banking on local talent

In a great move for the citizens of Boston, the directors of Eastern Bank have voted to elevate Robert Rivers, the former Eastern Bank president, to chairman and CEO. The move had been anticipated for a year with the expectation that Quincy Miller would be available to assume Rivers’ former duties as president. Miller was formerly the Massachusetts state president of Citizens Bank.

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A failure of white privilege

Political pundits have not yet offered an acceptable explanation of why many of those who had voted for Barack Obama would years later vote for Donald Trump. Perhaps the answer lies in the failure of white privilege to function as expected. There is a mistaken assumption that white privilege must always involve racial discrimination.

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A winning attitude key to black business success

During 2016, the spirit of entrepreneurship seemed to blossom in Boston’s black community. The Bay State Banner helped to fertilize this growth with publication of a business magazine entitled Banner Biz. The year before the Banner sponsored two “Pitch in the City” events to induce young entrepreneurs to develop the ability to present their ideas in an effective manner. Even many of those with no plans to start a business are now aware of the importance of the development of wealth by blacks.

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A patriotic resolution

In the past, Americans have been casual about their involvement in political matters unless an election is underway. This year, during the coming period of dynamic change, your New Year’s resolution must be to remain politically active in order to preserve the democratic culture.

Upscale white nationalism presents new threats

As leader of the “birthers” who challenged Barack Obama’s legitimacy, Donald Trump rose to prominence among white nationalists who hailed his election as president. The alt-right are conservatives who alternatively oppose racial diversity. It is critical for other citizens to confront the racial views that will divide the nation.

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American consumers victimized by banks, corporations

There is a strong sense that American culture is becoming increasingly more predatory, a proposition that is at odds with the spirit of Christmas.

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Trump’s presidential con job

There seems to be no limit on the price that some whites are willing to pay for the delusion of white supremacy. And Trump, the consummate conman, knew just how to pick their pockets.

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