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News and Events

news and events relating to our issues.

LDP president touted as a modern-day Paul Revere

 Chemical leak alerts insufficient, north BR resident tells panel
 MIKE DUNNE- : August 19, 2005- Section: News-Page: 23 A 
 A woman who lives near the North Baton Rouge industrial area said that  emergency notification of residents who may
                           be imperiled by chemical leaks needs to be improved.  Stephanie Anthony told the parish emergency response commission on Wednesday
                           that she has never received a phone call from the automated Community Alert system designed to send messages to areas potentially
                           affected by emergencies such as a chemical leak.  Anthony told the commission, composed when ExxonMobil had a sulfur dioxide leak on July 25, that, like many residents, she went outside to hear a warning from a loudspeaker that told people to go inside, close the windows and doors and stay inside until the all-clear is given.   She said she lives in a leaky frame house
                           and that she doesn't believe in "shelter in place." She also said the accident occurred while children were out of school and were playing.

 "It was a nice day. A lot of people were outside," Anthony said.   As a sort of modern-day Paul Revere, Anthony
                           said she got into her car and drove around, telling people that
                           they should go inside and wait  for officials to say the emergency was
                           over.     Officials from the Baton Rouge Fire Department and industry briefly discussed that release and two other chemical accidents that occurred since the commission last met.   Howard Ward, a Fire Department spokesman, said because the release was from a flare, high in the air, officials believed there was no off-site impact.

incident as a high-level accident, Ward said. He earlier said it
affected about 100 homes in a half-mile radius of the plant. ExxonMobil's Dee Pidgeon said Ward's short description was accurate and he had nothing to add. Both seemed to think the release was not worth spending more time on - as did the rest of the commission. Anthony

arrived at the meeting after those reports.   Anthony said
                           she also was concerned because the siren system was telling people
                           it was an emergency, but when she tuned to the Emergency Broadcast
                           System station, WJBO-AM, she heard nothing but a talk show 
dedicated to the acquittal of pop star Michael Jackson on charges of child molestation.   "When an accident occurs, everybody needs to be on the same page," she  ...........................................................................................................
Our business is expanding!

Darwin resolution stripped, then
passed by Louisiana House or Representatives

> 5/8/01 5:04 PM
BATON ROUGE, La. - The state House of Representatives agreed that it detests racism but refused to brand the father of evolution a racist, paring down a controversial
resolution that initially focused on Charles Darwin.
"I think condemning racism is something we can and
> should do without controversy, but to embark on an
> academic debate on interpreting the work of Darwin is a mistake for this body and detracts rather than adds to
our condemnation," said Rep. Loulan Pitre, R-Cut Off, proposing the amendment Tuesday. The House approved the amendment 65-28, removing all references to Darwin, but saying the Louisiana Legislature condemns racism, Adolf Hitler and the concept that some races are inherently superior to others. House members unanimously approved the amended resolution, sending it over to the Senate for debate. "That takes away from the core of
> the resolution," said
Rep. Sharon Broome, D-Baton Rouge.
Broome blamed the media for
misguiding the debate and
taking the
focus off her original intent. She
said she had been
"The press has had their heyday.
They have misinformed,
they have
misguided, and may have indeed
suppressed information as
it affects
this resolution," Broome said.

The original resolution said the
Legislature rejects
racist Darwinist
ideology. It said Hitler exploited
the racist views of
Darwin and those
influenced by Darwin to justify the
extermination of
millions of Jews
during the Holocaust.

"There is such a storm of protest
around this resolution
that obviously I
have touched on a deeper nerve,"
Broome said. "Why don't
people want
to face the simple historic facts I
have placed before

Broome said the resolution was
designed to combat
racism, pointing to
specific passages from Darwin's
books "On the Origin of
Species" and
"The Descent of Man and Selection in
Relation to Sex"
which referred to
"civilized races of man"
exterminating and replacing
"the savage races."

Opponents, including several
scientists, said Broome was
Darwin's books and history. They
argued it was a ploy by
creationists to
edge evolutionary teachings out of

Creationists adhere to religious
beliefs that God
created man while
Darwinists believe man evolved from
simpler forms of
Gov. Mike Foster called Broome's
resolution "weird" and
said it wasn't
likely to get much more legislative
support after it
left the House
Education Committee.

Foster's spokeswoman, Marsanne
Golsby, said the national
attention and
ridicule the resolution gathered for
Louisiana was bad
for business
development and overshadowed
education improvements in
the state.
Broome said stripping the resolution
of reference to
Darwin cuts off the
opportunity for critical thinking
and debate.
"Where does Charles Darwin have so
much power over us?"
asked. "I'm certainly not trying to
suppress academic
freedom. I'm
certainly not trying to say let's
not talk about Darwin
in the classroom,
but... we need to tell them the
whole story."
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, said
it was not the Legislature's place to interpret Darwin's writings. The resolution would not create law
and doesn't require
approval from
the governor. It states an opinion
or belief of the
> Legislature.

Stephanie Anthony
La. Democracy Project (
4070 Fairwoods Drive Baton Rouge, La. 70805
(225) 356-9030 voice
We want government to make sense & democracy to reign supreme


The cycle

May 19, 2001

Breaking the Cycle of White Dependence:
A Call for Majority Self-Sufficiency

By Tim Wise <>

I think it's called `projection.' When someone
subconsciously realizes that a particular trait applies to
them, and then attempts to locate that trait in others, so
as to alleviate the stigma or self-doubt engendered by the
trait in question.

It's a well-understood concept of modern psychology, and
explains much: like why men who are struggling with their
own sexuality are often the most outwardly homophobic. Or
the way whites during slavery typified black men as rapists,
even though the primary rapists were the white slaveowners
themselves, taking liberties with their female property, or
white men generally, raping their wives with impunity.

I got to thinking about projection recently, after receiving
many an angry e-mail from folks who had read one or another
of my previous commentaries, and felt the need to inform me
that people of color are "looking for a handout," and are
"dependent" on government, and of course, whites.

Such claims are making the rounds these days, especially as
debate heats up about such issues as reparations for
enslavement, or affirmative action. And this critique is a
prime example of projection, for in truth, no people have
been as dependent on others throughout history as white

We depended on laws to defend slavery and segregation so as
to elevate us, politically, socially and economically. We
depended on the Naturalization Act of 1790, to make all
European immigrants eligible for nearly automatic
citizenship, with rights above all persons of color. We
depended on land giveaways like the Homestead Act, and
housing subsidies that were essentially white-only for many
years, like FHA and VA loans. Even the GI Bill was largely
for whites only, and all of these government-sponsored
efforts were instrumental in creating the white middle
class. But it goes deeper than that.

From the earliest days, "whites" were dependent on the land
and natural resources of the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
Since Europe offered no substantial natural riches from its
soil, European economic advance and expansion was entirely
reliant on the taking of other people's land by force,
trickery or coercion. That, my friends, is dependence.

Then these same Europeans relied on slave labor to build a
new nation and to create wealth for whites; wealth that was
instrumental to financing the American Revolution, as well
as allowing the textile and tobacco industries to emerge as
international powerhouses. From 1790 to 1860 alone, whites
and the overall economy reaped the benefits of as much as
$40 billion in unpaid black labor. That, my friends, is

Though apologists for black oppression enjoy pointing out
that Africans often sold other Africans into slavery, this
too indicates just how dependent whites have been on black
people: having to pay and bribe Africans to catch their own
and deliver them to us so as to fatten the profits of
European elites. We couldn't even do that by ourselves.

Then whites were dependent on Native peoples to teach us
farming skills, as our complete ineptitude in this realm
left the earliest colonists starving to death and turning to
cannibalism when the winters came in order to survive.

We were dependent on Mexicans to teach us how to extract
gold from riverbeds and quartz -- critical to the growth of
the national economy in the mid to late 1800's -- and had we
not taken over half their nation in an unprovoked war, the
emerging Pacific ports so vital to the modern U.S. economy
would not have been ours, but Mexico' s. That, my friends,
is dependence. Then we were dependent on their labor in the
mid 20th century under the bracero program, through which
over five million Mexicans were brought into the country for
cheap agricultural work, and then sent back across the

And we were dependent on Asian labor to build the railroads
that made transcontinental travel and commerce possible. 90%
of the labor used to build the Central Pacific Railroad in
the 1860's were Chinese, imported for the purpose, and
exploited because the railroad bosses felt they could better
control them than white workers.

In fact, all throughout U.S. labor history, whites have
depended on the subordination of workers of color; by the
marking of black and brown peoples as the bottom rung on the
ladder -- a rung below which they would not be allowed to
fall. By virtue of this racialized class system whites could
receive the "psychological wage" of whiteness, even if their
real wages left them destitute. That too is dependence, and
a kind that has marked even the poorest whites.

The plantation owners in the South were surely dependent on
blacks, and for more than field labor. We relied on black
women to suckle and care for our children. We relied on
blacks to build the levees that kept rivers like the
Mississippi from our doorstep. We relied on black girls to
fan our sleeping white ladies so as to ensure their comfort.
We relied on blacks to do everything from cooking, to
cleaning, to making our beds, to polishing our shoes, to
chopping the wood to heat our homes, to nursing us back to
health when we fell ill. We prided ourselves on being (or
aspiring to be) men and women of leisure, while black and
brown folks did all the work. That, and a lot more, is
dependence; and yet we still insist they are the lazy ones.

And northern industrial capitalism relied on black labor
too, especially to break the labor militance of white
ethnics by playing off one group of workers against the
other. That also, is dependence.

During the civil war, the armies of the Confederacy relied
on blacks to cook for the troops and to make the implements
of war they would use in battle; and likewise, the Union
relied on black soldiers -- around 200,000 of them -- to
ultimately win the war. That too, is most assuredly

And white dependence on people of color continues to this
day. Each year, African Americans spend over $500 billion
with white-owned companies: money that goes mostly into the
pockets of the white owners, white employees, white
stockholders, and white communities in which they live. And
yet we say black people need us? We think they are the
dependent ones, relying as we assume they do on the paltry
scraps of an eviscerated welfare state? Now let's just cut
the crap. Who would be hurt more: black folks if all welfare
programs were shut down tomorrow, or white folks, if blacks
decided they were through transferring half-a-trillion
dollars each year to white people and were going to keep
their money in their own communities?

Or what about the ongoing dependence of white businesses on
the exploitation of black labor? Each year, according to
estimates from the Urban Institute, over $120 billion in
wages are lost to African Americans thanks to discrimination
in the labor market. That's money that doesn't end up in the
hands of the folks who earned it, but rather remains in the
bank accounts of owners. That my friends, is dependence.

Our dependence on people of color even extends to our need
to have them as spokespeople for our ideologies and agendas:
thus, the proliferation of high-profile conservatives of
color who bash their own people for us, so we don't have to
do it alone. Ken Hamblin, Clarence Thomas, Larry Elder,
Walter Williams, Linda Chavez: all of them, walking,
talking, lawn jockeys, shining their lights for white
supremacy. And oh yes, our need for them is most certainly a
form of dependence.

Then, we rely on still more people of color to help further
the agenda of white dominance: namely Asians, whom we
proclaim to be "model minorities." "See how hard the Asians
work,' whites love to say, `why can't blacks be more like
them?" Of course, we fail to mention the staggering poverty
among Southeast Asians; or the fact that the most successful
Asian sub-groups came to this country with both business
experience and usually college educations; or the fact that
despite hard work, Asian Pacific Islanders still earn
between 11-26% less than their white counterparts, even when
their qualifications are equal. Never mind all that: the
model minority myth has a power all its own, and is one more
way in which whites have become dependent on those who are

Indeed, I am beginning to think that whites are so dependent
on people of color that we wouldn't know what to do without
them. Oh sure, some neo-Nazis say they would love to try,
but in reality I doubt they could make it. If there were no
black and brown folks around then whites would have no one
to blame but themselves for the crime that occurred; no one
to blame but themselves when they didn't get the job they
wanted; no one to blame but themselves when their lives
turned out to be less than they expected. In short, we need
people of color -- especially in a subordinate role -- as a
way to build ourselves up, and provide a sense of self-worth
we otherwise lack.

To be sure, our very existence as white people is dependent
on a negative: to be white has meaning only in terms of what
it doesn't mean. To be white only has meaning in so far as
it means not to be black or brown. Whiteness has no
intrinsic meaning culturally: can anyone even articulate
what "white culture" means? Not our various European
cultures mind you -- which do have meaning but have been
largely lost to us in the mad dash to accept whiteness and
the perks that come with it -- but white culture itself.

In workshops I have asked white folks and people of color
what they like about being black, white, or whatever they in
fact may be. For African-Americans the answers always have
to do with the pride they feel, coming from families who
have struggled against the odds, fought injustice,
persevered, and maintained dignity in the face of great
obstacles. In other words, to be black has internal meaning,
derived from the positive actions and experiences of black
people themselves. Variations on the same theme tend to be
expressed by Latinos, Asians and Indigenous peoples as well.

But for whites, if they come up with anything at all, it is
typically something about how nice it is not to have to
worry about being racially profiled by police, or how nice
it is not to be presumed less competent by employers, or
discriminated against when applying for a loan, or looking
for a home. In other words, for whites, our self-definition
is wrapped up entirely in terms of what and who we aren't.
What it means to be white is merely to not be "the other."
And for that to have any meaning whatsoever there first must
be an "other" against which to contrast oneself.

And that is the most significant dependence of all.


Tim Wise is a Nashville-based antiracist writer, lecturer
and activist. He can be reached at <>.

Copyright (c) 2001 Tim Wise. All Rights Reserved.

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