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Melvin B. Miller

Stories by Melvin B.

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Too much collateral damage in war on drugs

Despite the substantial expenditure of funds, it is estimated that no more than 10 percent of the illicit drug traffic is interdicted. There is an ongoing debate, about whether we have lost the war on drugs.

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Racial conflict obscures common concern over wealth

The Confederate flag was removed in Columbia on July 10, 2015. At that time the wealth and income disparity in America was as great as during the Great Depression of the 1930s and, with their greater population, the number of white Americans living in poverty was almost twice the number of blacks. Let the fall of the flag mark the date when Americans of limited income began to work together for the general good.

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Trouncing Trump

The riposte to Donald Trump’s remarks by the Hispanics was so effective, African Americans should now look beyond the tired strategies for protest that were developed in the civil rights era.

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The Charleston massacre: A symbolic act of racial hatred

It was no accident, according to Sanders, that Roof drove 120 miles to launch his attack on June 17, exactly 193 years later to the day that Denmark Vesey’s revolt was crushed. Before he pulled the trigger, Roof is reported to have said, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go.” Roof left one person alive to tell the story. The intention was to strike terror in the hearts of African Americans.

Meaning of Texas’ Juneteenth lost in Boston

Juneteenth was originally a celebration for Texans. Efforts to extend it beyond the Lone Star State create a historical conundrum. The date that should be celebrated for the legal abolition of slavery in America is Dec. 6, 1865, for the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

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Obamacare: Health insurance for all Americans

In a dispositive 6-3 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court recently rescued 6.4 million Americans in 34 states from the loss of their health insurance. The Affordable Care Act, derisively referred to as Obamacare by its opponents, included language that would deny benefits to those otherwise eligible but who had purchased their insurance from the federal marketplace instead of state-owned exchanges.

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The challenges to successful fatherhood

For many black men, Father’s Day was a time for poignant memories rather than unbridled joy. Life in America for many blacks is challenging and full of frustration. The standard for attaining full manhood always seems just beyond reach, and black males are frequently blamed for many of society’s ills. Also, the criminal justice system is unjustly severe. A recent study by USA Today finds something that blacks have always observed — there is a “staggering disparity” in the arrest rates of black men across the country.

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Police brutality fuels growing anger

Reports about police brutality against blacks are now so common that even fervent advocates of aggressive law enforcement are beginning to question police behavior. The once common attitude was to assume that the person victimized by the police had broken the law and thus deserved such mistreatment. Even many blacks had acquired that point of view. But now modern video technology has made every citizen a witness to the violent incidents. The recent killing of Usaamah Rahim in Boston foretells some of the perils to society created by excessive police aggression.

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A valued investment in African democracy

The decision of the U.S. State Department not to extend funding for the African Presidential Center (APC) at Boston University could be financially fatal for the organization and thus be at odds with the policy of major nations to increase their international presence.

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A protected class of criminals

Corporations are endowed with the rights of an individual under U.S. law, but often enable individual wrongdoers to escape punishment for malfeasance. What kind of system of justice does the nation have when felons can defraud the world, essentially with impunity, because they control enormous wealth?

Baltimore prosecutor sets higher standard for police conduct

Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby’s grand jury indictment against the six police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray demonstrates that district attorney’s can secure justice in cases against police.

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Bernie Sanders candidacy pushes Democrats to left

The political campaign has begun to elect the successor to President Barack Obama. It is still much too early to engage the interest of the voters, the decisive election is not until November 2016. But before then, the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders should arouse considerable press coverage. While most campaigns are between Democrats and Republicans of varying stripes, Sanders is an avowed democratic socialist who is running as a Democrat.

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Job market still tight for black college graduates

The economy has improved so the unemployment rate for young college graduates has declined, but unemployment is still too high for black graduates.

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The erosion of public confidence in police

With high profile police killings of unarmed blacks increasingly publicized through cell phone videos, the public may no longer be willing to support the exorbitant salaries many officers earn.

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No justice, no peace

The Baltimore protests, and the violent police incidents that precipitated them, raise important questions about racially discriminatory policing.

Police violence: A corruption of public service

For some time the nation has been concerned about police violence against black men. Since the police officers involved were the white minions of a white government, it was assumed that the incidents were simply racial oppression. Then came the recent death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black citizen of Baltimore.

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There are some who stood up

During the civil rights era, outstanding black athletes were often called upon to use their celebrity for the cause of racial equality. For various reasons, some failed to answer the call, but those who did attained heroic stature. The consequences for speaking up were often quite severe, and it is appropriate that those of us who benefited from their courage should hold them in great esteem.

Bringing back Dudley

At a time when men of their vintage would be seeking greater leisure, Cecil and Kenneth Guscott have just launched a major real estate development project for Dudley Square.

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It’s time to build black wealth

America is suffering from a substantial wealth gap. A small number of residents control a disproportionate amount of the nation’s wealth. With the publication of “The Color of Wealth in Boston” report, the issue of wealth disparity took a shocking twist. This study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston found that while white households in Boston had a median wealth of $247,500, African American households averaged close to zero.

Forrest County: An early battle for voting rights

Little attention has been given to the role of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in exposing the egregious discrimination in the voting rights of blacks.

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Uncovering white privilege

A recent Australian experiment documented preferential treatment whites receive, a rare glimpse at the seldom studied but pervasive privileges afforded whites.

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Race: A diversion from America’s real problems

Americans should begin to talk diplomatically with one another to discover a way to end this debilitating racial conflict for the good of the country.

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A hostile environment for black business success

Efforts by blacks to achieve economic success in the United States have historically been met with violence, underscoring a longstanding animosity toward black business

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The beginning of a black business boom?

The racial wealth gap in America will never diminish significantly without a major increase in the growth of black ownership in businesses.

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Systemic injustice

The recently published U.S. Department of Justice report on the Ferguson, Mo. police department was shocking even to tough law and order conservatives.

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A billboard to honor founder of Ku Klux Klan greeted marchers at Selma "Bloody Sunday" event

Those who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" were greeted with a billboard to honor the founder of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Construction Development in Boston is booming and Massport plans on diversity playing a central role.

Massport expects full participation in designing, construction, equity, business tenancy as well as jobs with their $700 million construction projects.

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Disrespect for nation’s president is un-American

Rudy Giuliani’s criticism of President Barack Obama was so beyond the pale that it failed to provoke thoughtful comment. However, one could perceive in Giuliani’s attitude an impending social danger for the nation.

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A silent assault on personal security

While news media have focused attention on the U.S. government surveillance uncovered by Edward Snowden, corporations have attained unprecedented access to personal data in recent years.

Searching for Boston's New Superintendent

Is an open forum the best method for this high level position?

When colleges want a new president, the usual procedure is to select a committee of knowledgeable trustees and others to conduct a search.

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A snow job by the Mayor's office

New ruling against place holders will provoke an avalanche of criticism

There seemed to be no rational plan to cope with the unprecedented volume of snow.

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A legacy of terror

The Equal Justice Initiative has recently issued an academically rigorous report on the historical and sociological implications of the odious practice of terror lynching that sustained the national policy of white supremacy.

The consequences of prolonged neglect of MBTA

When things go wrong, the immediate reaction is to blame someone for the problem. Finding the culprit seems to be more important than curing the crisis. With the collapse of Boston’s public transit system because of the mounting snowfall, the media quickly asserted that the inconvenience was caused by the alleged incompetence of the MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott.

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Delayed diversity in the NHL

The New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory provides an indication of the value of racial diversity. Without consideration of race, the team management selects players on the basis of talent and availability. Then through practice and team discipline, the players become a united gridiron force on game day. Other professional sports teams — football, basketball and baseball — have a similar approach, but black players have not been prominent in hockey.

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A new challenge to fair housing

It would be truly oppressive for the Supreme Court to rule that the government cannot establish incentives to achieve the goal of racial integration in housing. The nation recognized in 1968 that segregated housing is contrary to the principal of equal rights. The Fair Housing Act would be an unacceptable remedy if it failed to curtail the further implementation of segregated housing, even if it was inadvertent.

The affluent have always had a disproportionate impact on politics

Billionaire Koch brothers plan super fund of almost $900 million to finance candidates

The top 1 percent may control the money, but each citizen has only one vote. The 99 percent still outnumber them.

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Preserving black artists in Roxbury

It is more important than ever to support Museum of National Center of Afro-American Artists

For many years Boston has enjoyed a flourishing community of African American artists. However, the recent death of John Wilson, there is a realization that we are losing too many of the prominent elders of the art world.

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The perennial practice of police abuse

The Magna Carta, executed at Runnymede, England in 1215, was the precedent for the Bill of Rights and the right of judicial review that are so critical to Anglo-American jurisprudence. Yet protests against police violence in America continue 800 years later.

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Police violence is about more than broken windows

Americans must be willing to adopt imaginative programs to end the police victimization of black men.

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An attack on black progress

Gov. Charlie Baker has selected Ronald L. Walker II to join his administration as secretary of Labor and Workforce Development. An objective review of Ron Walker’s resume would determine that he is uniquely qualified for that post. As co-founder and president of Next Street Financial, Walker has developed a company to provide financial and consulting services to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. However, The Boston Globe has challenged that selection.

More than ever, education is the key to success

Academic achievement was always respected by African Americans. Even in the days of slavery, education was desired, although it was often unattainable. Black commitment to the importance of educational achievement should now be stronger than ever.

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New York police defiantly turn away from civility

New York police officers violated basic laws of civility when they protested during New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s formal condolences to the family at the funeral of their fellow officer, Rafael Ramos, who was murdered by a deranged killer.

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Edward Brooke blazed trail for black progress

Sen. Edward W. Brooke will always remain a hero to the veterans of the battle for civil rights. He was keenly intelligent, extraordinarily gracious and endowed with natural and persuasive oratorical skills. Brooke set a standard for competence which very few can attain. Keywords: Edward Brooke obituary, Edward Brooke and the Civil Rights Movement, Roxbury, Gov. Christian Herter and U.S. Sen. Leverett Saltonstall, black Republicans

Rage: the product of a violent culture

As the assassination of the New York police officers indicates, non-violence is not an infallible effort.

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The death of courtesy

At the end of December it’s time to develop New Year’s resolutions to correct the foibles of the prior year. In order to do this, there has to be an objective assessment of one’s flaws. However, the capacity to perceive personal shortcomings may be greatly diminished in this age of egocentricity.

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Building wealth, even in the season of giving

At a time when many are focused on spending, it’s more important than ever to focus on building wealth.

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Rush to condemn Cosby premature

The uncorroborated complaints of sexual impropriety by Bill Cosby arouse the distressing memory among elders of similar past claims against black men.

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Racism: A scientific delusion

Many Americans consider as racist acts both the shooting death of the unarmed Michael Brown and the failure of the grand jury to indict his killer, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Such incidents of police abuse occur all too frequently. Racism has been a human affliction for centuries.

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Equal protection from the law

Police shootings of unarmed blacks in recent months have shone light on racial disparities in the American criminal justice system and pervasive police brutality.

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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