Archive | February 2010

The Doctrine of Moral Inferiority (Updated)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of Brandon Q. White and him alone. They do not reflect the views of his employer, or any professional or legal organization with which he is affiliated.

What’s up fam, I hope all is well.

I want to talk about a very serious relationship topic what I am tentatively calling the doctrine of moral inferiority. This idea was inspired by conversations I have had with Black women but I believe the principles transcend gender and culture. I am going to explain the doctrine, how I think it works in practice, and conclude with a special note for my sisters.

Read More…

It’s all connected

What’s up fam
This piece is going to be a mix of various things that have been on my mind.

1.    If you haven’t noticed yet, the flurry of news surrounding Haiti relief is done. This is where the real work begins because character is what we do when no one is looking. So here we go, no more moving facebook updates, editorial cartoons, or grand speeches by political leaders. Now that no one is looking is the perfect opportunity to give more of your self. So let’s chill with the “We will never forget” slogans because if you remember and don’t do anything, what’s the point?

2.    So it appears that the Dems have decided to finally commit to using reconciliation to finish health care reform. Senate Majority Leader Reid put forth a goal of having this done in 60 days and I hope and pray Democrats get this done because it is simply unconscionable for a country flush with so much wealth to have so many people go without adequate healthcare.

3.    I wanted to share a quote that has had me thinking, “The greatest hindrance to living is expectancy, which depends upon the morrow and wastes to-day.”

-Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“On the Shortness of Life”
translated by John W. Basore, Loeb Classical Library
London: William Heinemann, 1932

In response to this quote, what expectations do you have of yourself and others?  How do you think these expectations have helped or hindered? What informs these expectations? Do you really carpe diem or are you one of those people who go through the week like a zombie expecting to truly live when get off work on Friday?

4.    I haven’t heard anything about the guy that flew his plane into the IRS building. See now if the guy was Muslim, it would be front page every day for at least two weeks. What I don’t want is more finger pointing based on race, what I want is appropriate and proportional responses based on behavior, not race.

5.   Black History month is almost over and before we move on, I just want to thank all the Black people whose efforts and names will never make it into a history book or a PBS Black History month program. I represent am 27 years of Black History but I also stand on the shoulders of giants and so many elders have pulled me aside to show guidance and encouragement. Black History did not end with Civil Rights but it will be if we don’t have a burning desire to make the world better for our kids and grand kids. How much more would those coming after us resent us for being so selfish for not fighting as if all is well.

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

p.s. I really wish I could write more fam. Law school and life make it difficult to write the more in depth pieces I used to do more often. My apologies.

Brandon’s breakdown of love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. -I Corinthians 3:14

As DC thaws out of the winterness, Valentine’s Day is on the horizon. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to break down what I have often heard to be the definitive idea of love and that is I Corinthians 3:14.

Love is patient
In the world of and email, status updates, and keeping up with the Jones’ broadly speaking, patience is often viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism and a hint of foolishness. What does patience mean though? What good is patience if it is done in bad faith? Can you be patient once good intentions turn away from love and towards proving a point? There are three qualifiers I add to this idea of patience to make sure it is proper and these are positive, persistent, and conscious.

By positive, I mean the quality of the thoughts of the person you are waiting on. Do you think highly of them or do you have resentful thoughts about why you are waiting in the first place? The resentment will spoil all of the anticipated benefits of patience. This doesn’t mean that some days will be blue, it just means that while resentful thoughts will come, you never let them stay for extended periods of time.

By persistence, I am referring to situations where there is not an agreed upon time where the patience will no longer be needed. Situations like this are doubly difficult because you will find yourself wanting to do something to break the patience. It is times like this where you build character. Anything worth its salt is worth waiting for. I have found that focusing on being a better person is a great way to transform the emotional energy that patience can exact.

As to conscious, being patient is almost always about learning something about your self and the other person and probably vice versa. So when the patient stage is over, your lessons learned will be the yardstick by which the patience will be deemed successful. I have found writing to be extremely helpful in helping me understand the lessons I need to learn from patient periods. Being conscious is not just being aware of what you are doing but why are you doing it, making sure to appreciate the complexity and gravity of the situation that has you patient in the first place. Read More…

President Obama, please stand up

President Obama,

I get it. You inherited a hodgepodge of mess from the Bush administration and have tried to clean up house. However, your signature campaign issue, healthcare reform, appears to be on life support. Lest I be misunderstood, I am a strong supporter of the public option but that has gone by the political wayside. Unfortunately, your insistence on bipartisanship ad nauseam threatens any chance of meaningful reform that could be had.

As it stands, you have called for a bipartisanship healthcare summit but you have done your due diligence re: bipartisanship. The American people realize that Democrats and Republicans do not work well together. It’s probably time to put the bipartisanship bottle back on the shelf and get some results. If the Republicans want to filibuster a healthcare plan, I say let them do it. Call their bluff and let people know that when it counts, you are willing to fight for the average American. Of course, this move would be gutsy but substantively and politically, it would be brilliant. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and the Republicans have no reason to show you love and that is all right. When all is said and done, despite the procedural hurdles of the Senate, the Democratic majorities are not so narrow that political hardball should be dismissed without consideration.

This is your moment President Obama, please seize the day.

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

The Political Lessons of Super Bowl 44

The New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl 44. Congratulations to the players, the organization, and, most importantly, Saints fans.

The story of the Saints is a classic rags-to-riches tale. The team had never been to the championship game. They had 2 playoff wins in 42 years. They were so bad that their fans wore paper bags over their head for years and unaffectionately called the team “The Aints.”


A New Orleans "Aints" fan

New Orleans has also had a hell of a ride, going from “Las Vegas of the South” to the flash point of modern government incompetence, racism, and social injustice after Hurricane Katrina. The city and its football team were ripe for a comeback.

Our Progressive movement is too. Why? We took back Congress in 2006. We took back the White House in 2008. We passed health care reform We’re working on that. We need a comeback because we’re disoriented.

It’s like we just woke up. Our eyes are open, but our vision is blurred. We know our slippers are near the bed, but we have to feel around with our toes to find them.

We reorient ourselves by becoming clear in our purpose. Let’s take a page from the Saints and make that happen. Progressive organizers, activists, and politicians can learn a lot from these World Champions about how to win this year and beyond. Here are 3 key lessons.

Read More…

No Internet Poll Taxes

My friend and colleague James Rucker wrote a piece on Huffington Post asking a simple question: Why are Some Civil Rights Groups and Leaders on the Wrong Side of Net Neutrality? I left a comment, and this post elaborates on the points I made there.

Participation, Inclusion, Equality

Democratic systems flourish when people participate. Having a voice changes people’s relationship with that system and the system’s relationship with the people.

When everyone can’t participate, the system no longer reflects the values and perspectives of the people it impacts. Barriers to entry create divisions, inequality and unfairness.

El Dorado

The Internet was designed as an egalitarian utopia: the El Dorado of the “good ideas win” ethos. Anyone with access to the net could connect with anyone else. Every idea had an equal opportunity to succeed.

When the Internet was taken hostage by telecommunications companies, they threatened this order. They limited participation online by pricing most low-income communities out of the market, creating the Digital Divide. This practice of exclusion reduced the diversity of thought online. It put the Internet on an identical path to becoming an echo chamber of pale, stale, male attitudes.

Next Stop: Poll Taxes

The redlining was round one, but the next round is more sinister. Telecoms are now considering crushing freedom of expression online by creating Jim Crow-esque poll taxes on content they consider unfit for higher-speed, higher-quality Internet connections. This assault on the freedom by private interests is as wrong now as it has ever been.

This should raise specific concern within the civil rights community. Civil rights organizations fought and won the war against poll taxes over 40 years ago. It’s alarming that they are willing to open the door for this type of discrimination in the 21st century. It’s up to us, the membership, the foot-soldiers of these organizations and of this 21st century civil rights movement, to take a stand against this disgusting discrimination.

Protecting Internet Freedom by ensuring Net Neutrality

The FCC is considering creating rules to protect Internet Freedom. Learn more about the process at Save The Internet. I testified at a hearing in December to voice my strong support of protecting Internet Freedom.

You can join the fight by demanding that Congress work alongside the FCC to protect Internet Freedom and outlaw discrimination by telecom companies.

Sign the petition today.

One Love. One II.