Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Unqualified?

Reading Kevin Drum 's post on class-based affirmative action, this bit popped out at me: Beyond that, there's another benefit: for all the good it does, there's no question that race-based affirmative action has drawbacks as well. It makes employers suspicious of minority graduates, wondering if their degrees were really fairly earned. It provokes a backlash among working class whites. And it's open to abuse on a number of fronts. Class-based programs don't solve all these problems at a stroke, but they go a long way toward addressing them. [Emphasis mine] I have no doubt that this is true, but I've always found it a little odd. Even if affirmative action were little more than a glorified quota program -- which, it should be said, it isn't -- it's still the case that it only applies at the point of admission. Once in school, affirmative action doesn't give you a better class schedule, provide a more lenient curve or improve your grades; put another way, there are affirmative action...

It's the Unemployment, Stupid.

On Friday, the Obama administration released its annual mid-session budget review, which contains its short-term and long-term predictions for economic growth. The media has focused most of its attention on the White House's deficit projections -- $1.4 trillion deficits for 2010 and 2011 -- but on the whole, deficits are the least worrisome thing about the report. After all, the current deficit owes most of its size to the recession, TARP, and the Bush tax cuts. Assuming the economy grows at a healthy clip for the next few years -- as the administration does -- the deficit is expected to drop to 3.9 percent of GDP by 2015. By contrast, the administration's projections for unemployment are genuinely worrisome. For 2011, the administration expects unemployment to remain high at 9 percent and drop to 8.1 percent in 2012. From there, the White House expects 7.1 percent unemployment in 2013, 6.3 percent unemployment in 2014, and 5.7 percent unemployment in 2015. The administration doesn't...

This Is What Real Racism Looks Like.

At Balloon Juice, blogger Dennis G . links to a 2007 letter written by the Southern Poverty Law Center asking the FBI to investigate the unsolved murders of dozens of African Americans killed during Jim Crow. For each of the 74 unsolved murders, the SPLC offers a brief summary of the case. Here are a few: Banks, Isadore – Marion, Ark., 1954 Banks’ charred corpse was found chained to a tree. Black press reports speculated he was killed by whites who wanted his land. His property was later rented by white farmers. Bolden, Larry – Chattanooga, Tenn., 1958 Fifteen-year-old Bolden was shot by a white policeman. No arrests were made. Brazier, James – Dawson City, Ga., 1958 Brazier was beaten to death in front of his wife and children by two police officers. County Sheriff Z.T. Matthews was later quoted in the Washington Post saying, “There’s nothing like fear to keep niggers in line.” Daniels, Woodrow Wilson – Water Valley, Miss., 1958 Sheriff Buster Treloar, identified by four witnesses as...

A Brief Historical Interlude.

Jonathan Chait makes a very good point about Newt Gingrich 's insistence that building a mosque near Ground Zero constitutes a "double standard" that allows "Islamists to behave aggressively towards us." Here's the full quote: There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over. Chait notes that in this context, the "double standard" is the United States' tolerance and religious pluralism, which stands in contrast to the illiberalism of a country like Saudi Arabia. To Chait, what Gingrich wants to say is that since the United States is a "Judeo-Christian country," we should be allowed to prohibit Muslim places of worship, much in the same way that an Islamic theocracy like Iran would prohibit Christian or Jewish places of worship. I've always been struck by the disrespect some...

Trouble in the 5th Distict.

(flickr/ jbouie ) This has gone a little under the radar, but a new poll from SurveyUSA shows freshman Democrat Tom Perriello trailing his opponent, Virginia state Sen. Robert Hurt , by a whopping 23 percentage points. Perriello represents the 5th Congressional District, which covers most of central Virginia and reaches down into southern parts of the state. The 5th District is generally conservative, having delivered 51 percent of its votes to Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. That said, Perriello was able to squeak by in a tight race against longtime GOP incumbent Virgil Goode, ultimately winning by a slim margin of 727 votes. Since then, Perriello has become something of a liberal darling; unlike most Democrats from conservative districts, he is unapologetic about his liberal views and liberal votes, and has tirelessly crisscrossed the district to speak directly to constituents, and defend his votes on stimulus, climate change and health care reform as good...

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