Cream With Your Coffee?

As part of its MLK Jr. Commemoration 2018 OSU Newark presented A Dream Deferred: The Uncertain Future of DACA and Dreamers by Derek DeHart. It was a short, informative talk followed by a Q&A. DeHart introduced himself and his “Owner Product,” DACA Time. His power point presentation covered how it came to be, its growth and how it was funded, etc. There was even a visual with all the corporate sponsors and their size of support (kinda like a NASCAR racing suit). He covered just about everything you would like to know about DACA – the less than 20 year history, the current situation, the pro’s and con’s, etc. Analysis found the sterling presentation troubling. No, not on account of what was said, or the DACA situation, but rather on account of what was not said, and the speculative reasons for its absence. After the given history of the legislation (introduced during the Bush presidency, reintroduced several times during the Obama years only to become an executive order by that president until its vehement dismissal by the current administration) the various descriptions, pro’s and con’s as well as responses to questions were a bit too antiseptic. There was no racial undertone or component given as reasons or descriptions for the many abysmal legislative failures (especially the Obama years attempts). There was no racial reason or logic given in the responses to the questions. We were mainly to believe that “dreamers’ could be anyone from any country – pretty generic. It was as though the entire matter was primarily an administrative concern, something to be managed much as a soft ware program.  The following morning Reuter’s headlined “Trump administration bars Haitians from U.S. visas for low-skilled work” by Yeganeh Torbati. Today’s media kerfuffle’s are over whether a given personality is a “racist.” Analysis would like to point out that during the MLK years the struggle was around institutional racism. Policies and laws were deemed racist. The “conversation” (if one would like to politely call it that) was around this state of affairs being unacceptable within the constitutional framework of the U.S. And it was spoken as such, named as such. The institutions, laws and policies of the state of Alabama were openly spoken of as racist, discriminatory and demeaning. That the person of its governor was also such was somewhat secondary. The prize was changing the institutions, laws and policies. DeHart’s presentation, as well as his responses to audience questions elided race and spoke of it not at all. Why was this? Analysis proffers this from Reuter’s Magazine: The One Percent War by Chrystia Freeland 1-26-12, a very long and astute article of particular interest to students of social change and its history: “Branko Milanovic, a World Bank economist who is one of the leading students of global income distribution, writes in his latest book, “The Haves and the Have-Nots,” that it is far easier to secure funding for research about poverty than about income inequality. The reason for that is “rather simple even if often wisely ignored,” Milanovic says. “Inequality studies are not particularly appreciated by the rich.” Indeed, Milanovic says he was “once told by the head of a prestigious think tank in Washington, D.C., that the institution’s board was very unlikely to fund any work that had income or wealth inequality in its title. Yes, they would finance anything to do with poverty alleviation, but inequality was an altogether different matter. Why? Because ‘my’ concern with the poverty of some people actually projects me in a very nice, warm glow: I am ready to use my money to help them… But inequality is different. Every mention of it raises in fact the issue of the appropriateness or legitimacy of my income.”” Analysis can’t help but note that the struggle led by MLK Jr. was not introduced or preceded by a flow chart showing its inception, justification and source of funding. In turn, Analysis notes that those involved in the “conversation” spoke out and said things that today are not said (as evidenced not only by DeHart’s presentation but local group “conversations” that rely on corporate sponsorship for their very existence). In an analogous way (though he eventually regretted saying it) Malcolm X was pretty insightful: “It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What you do? You integrate it with cream; you make it weak. If you pour too much cream in, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it’ll put you to sleep.”

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