President Barack Obama signed a bill Friday that modernizes the terms used for minorities.

By: Madison Park, CNN

President Barack Obama

(CNN) The federal government will no longer use the terms “Negro” and “Oriental” after President Barack Obama signed a bill into law. The official terms will be African-American and Asian-American. Welcome to 2016.
In a rare show of bipartisan support, the measure H.R.4238, passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and the Senate earlier this year. Obama signed it into law Friday. The measure updates the terms the U.S. federal government uses to describe minorities, including American Indian to Native American and “Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent” to Hispanic.
Here’s what the bill states: Office Of Minority Economic Impact.—Section 211(f)(1) of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7141(f)(1)) is amended by striking “a Negro, Puerto Rican, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or is a Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent” and inserting “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, a Pacific Islander, African American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Native American, or an Alaska Native”.
“The term ‘Oriental’ has no place in federal law and at long last this insulting and outdated term will be gone for good,” said Rep. Grace Meng of New York, who sponsored the bill.
Meng, a Democrat from Queens, encountered the term while doing legislative research and had sought to eliminate its usage from government terminology.
“Many Americans may not be aware that the word ‘Oriental’ is derogatory. But it is an insulting term that needed to be removed from the books, and I am extremely pleased that my legislation to do that is now the law of the land,” she said in a statement.
Meng had similarly pushed a law that eliminated the use of the word when she served in the New York Legislature in 2009.
The H.R. 4328 bill had 76 cosponsors, including all 51 members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. One of the original cosponsors included Rep. Ed Royce, a California Republican.
“Our country is a rich tapestry of cultural backgrounds, and Americans of all backgrounds deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” he said in a statement.

Follow the money: Minority vendors raise questions about government advertising spending

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA News Wire
Contributing Writer)

NNPA President Ben Chavis addresses Capitol Hill press  conference

NNPA President Ben Chavis addresses Capitol Hill
press conference (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

The federal government spends about $1 billion on advertising services, but history continues to show that small businesses and local and minority-owned media companies are mostly left out. On Wednesday, March 23, as part of its ongoing series on Supplier Diversity, the FCC’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities hosted a roundtable discussion on diversity and government advertising practices. Moderated by Thomas Reed, the director of the FCC’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities, the event also included commentary from James Winston, the president of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Melody Spann Cooper, Steve Roberts, Sherman Kizart, and other experts from the broadcasting industry who examined the federal government’s interaction with diverse communities and how current advertising practices reach those same communities.
“We wanted to have a more laser-like focus on federal advertising. The congressional research service has found in recent years the federal government spends close to $1 billion annually on advertising services,” Reed said in opening the roundtable discussion.
“The focus of the meeting is an examination of how, where, and in many instances, why this money, these dollars, are being spent and how we might begin to expand the pool of vendors who assist the government and getting out the message,” he said.
While public documents reveal who is spending the money, they don’t always reveal who is on the receiving end of those contracts, Reed added. “Experience tells us that local media, small companies, women and minority-owned media are not well-represented,” he said.
The meeting was viewed as a critical beginning step in minority-owned media being considered when the federal government and its agencies seek to advertise.
Earlier this month, leaders from the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Association of Hispanic Publications – which combined publish more than 600 newspapers to over 30 million readers – were joined by D.C. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton in calling for an examination of government advertising practices.
It’s widely understood that government advertising covers a variety of subjects, Reed said, noting public service announcements, federal job openings, competition for federal contracts, and even the sale of surplus government property.
He said federal agencies use numerous platforms to educate the public about their core services including using television, radio, and now, increasingly, social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. However, the lack of advertising by federal agencies in Black media can be felt in radio as well, Winston said.
“We find ourselves very challenged to maintain the success of our existing stations. Your success depends on getting advertising dollars and, in 2012, the Congressional Research Service did a report that at the time showed that the federal government agencies were spending about $500 million a year on commercial advertising,” Winston said. “That number is now closer to $1 billion and the report showed that the largest commercial advertiser in the federal government is the Department of Defense. And, so we’ve found that a great deal of money is being spent but there’s very little information about where that money is going.”
Winston added: “The agencies pretty much do the same thing, they all have major contracts with one huge advertising agency, usually a ‘Madison Avenue’ advertising agency.”
Kenyata Wesley, who represented the Department of Defense during the discussion, said she attended to help explain the procurement process and to help minority media members to better navigate the acquisition process.“We do have a very robust media program, about $300 million spent in the media community,” Wesley said. “Hopefully, we can walk away with solutions.”
Chanel Bankston-Carter, the director for the Department of Veterans Affairs, said her agency is committed to working with veteran-owned and small businesses, and they’re looking at opportunities for procurement. She said the roundtable is “Truly an opportunity to share ideas, strategies and come together to develop a partnership that will benefit the small business community.”
“My sole purpose is to work on procurement opportunities for the small business community,” Bankston-Carter said, noting that the Veterans Affairs is the only federal agency that has a verification program. “There are times advertising has opportunities to be more diverse and we do have a lot of opportunity for marketing and advertising and we do use that. So, I would just love to say that we are open.”
During the conference, Reed reiterated the purpose of the sit down.“It’s not to indict, but to gain a better understanding of the process, why federal advertising dollars are not more broadly spent and how women and minority-owned media companies can improve government advertising to underserved communities,” he said.
The conference was held just two weeks after Norton joined the call for more accountability in government advertising spending with minority-owned publications. “I’m requesting a report from an objective arm of the federal government, the GAO. We’re asking them to conduct a study of the federal agencies whose outreach is to people of color,” said Norton on Friday, March 11.
“We don’t want our federal agencies to forego their mandate and responsibilities. There is a mandate to engage small businesses. We want to discuss if that is, in fact, taking place. There’s no more authentic or trusted way to do so than to engage the Black and Hispanic Press.”Norton and the accompanying Black and Latino publishers said no one can accurately pinpoint a dollar figure of what the federal government spends.“We have no sense of the numbers,” Norton said. “If you don’t even know what they do, you can’t know what they spend. We want to know how much they spend and with which press. We don’t even know if they have a strategy.”

Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs’ was government sanctioned terror on Black people

war-on-drugs

People protesting the War on Drugs

Last week, a quote from Richard Nixon’s former Chief Domestic Advisor John Ehrlichman surfaced, confirming a disgusting truth that’s been well known by Black folks for several decades: the war on drugs had nothing to do eradicating a drug epidemic. Instead, it was a ploy to hide for the intentional targeting and decimating of the Black community. Ehrlichman states: The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.
I’ve always believed the “War on Drugs” was a hoax from the very beginning, thus I felt a wide range of emotions reading this quote. I’ve seen my own community ripped apart by enforcement of draconian drug laws. I know people who are currently serving sentences related to the same drug that, now increasingly legal, is being used to make white folks and the government wealthier.
And still, America’s embarrassing incarceration rates and disparities, painstakingly outlined in Michelle Alexander’s now legendary book The New Jim Crow are merely a fragment of the aftermath of Nixon’s vicious war on black folks. When the highest levels of government, in the now incontrovertible spirit of genocide, decide to decimate a community, the ripple effects will be unending.
Consider first: all wars need soldiers. The soldiers in Nixon’s phony war have been police officers, chiefs, prosecutors and judges- all law enforcement officials tasked with carrying out inherently racist order. Much of the now well-documented problem with how law enforcement officials interact with communities of color can be traced to the war on drugs. Despite the fact that drug use in our country has always spanned broadly across lines of race and class, our entire system and everyone in it were necessarily taught to view urban communities as being rife with criminals and addicts needing to be cleansed.
None of this was  possible without Nixon perverting another broken system for his destruction campaign: mainstream news media. Plastering implicitly anti-black propaganda on major networks with regularity is how America was taught to view urban centers – and the black people living there – as deserving of war.  The war’s soldiers, therefore, are to be supported with a similar blind deference as we are taught to give our military. (A comparison which, of course, helps us justify equipping the police like they’re in combat).
The kind of racist reporting Nixon expressly requested from mainstream media outlets didn’t end with Nixon’s shameful exit from the White House; four decades later, it remains a staple of what American’s consume daily. Just Google news anchor Wendy Bell and see what people who control the messages on your TV screens think of black people.  Hell, media bias is the reason this news of Nixon’s war against black communities (read: treason) wasn’t a front page headline.
This is bigger than detestable police and biased media, however. Like with any unjust war, there are economic implications – in this case, in excess of a trillion dollars spent destroying the very community that ironically is one of very few domestic racial groups terrorized by the government that hasn’t received any sort of reparations. There are social implications, namely that what follows from unjustly incarcerating black people at alarming rates, a majority of them men, is a decapitation of the black family unit that spans generations.
And there are lasting community implications, the most startling of which is that the blighted neighborhoods that are most impacted by the terror of the war on drugs – pillaged by Nixon’s soldiers and stripped of many of their bread winners – are part of the communities across the nation being actively identified “development.”  Gentrification is a brand of renovation that forces the removal of black families for economic reasons– and it didn’t appear out of thin air.
So remember that the next “conspiracy” you hear being repeated by hundreds of thousands of marginalized people probably isn’t a conspiracy at all. The next time you hear that a useful social initiative is just too expensive, be reminded that we wasted more than $1 trillion over 40 years taking out Nixon’s perceived enemies.  And the next time people try to convince you that drug abuse in black communities is a criminal issue, tell them to extend the same courtesy given to white communities and call it what it is- a healthcare issue.
Nixon wasn’t the first criminal to commit crimes against his own citizens; our government has perpetrated criminal atrocities against communities of color before, from the Tuskegee Experiment to Japanese Internment Camps.
Lies and deceit are nothing new.  But this time, when you go to the polls, remember Nixon’s “War on Drugs.”  Then act accordingly.  The stakes are too high to let another lie go unchecked.