Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Attention Everyone: You Shouldn't Do This

From the department of poor execution: 10-year old student Nikko Burton was humiliated by his teacher during a mock “slave auction” at Chapelfield Elementary in Ohio. Burton, one of two black students in the class, was chosen to be a “slave,” while other students role-played as “masters” who inspected the “slaves” to see if they were fit for work. “The masters got to touch people and do all sorts of stuff,” Nikko said, “They got to look in your mouth and feel your legs and stuff and see if you’re strong and stuff.” Clutch Magazine reported recently that Burton was disciplined after he refused to participate, which involved “pocking prodding, and public humiliation.” Conceptually, re-creating a slave auction is an excellent way to demonstrate the inhumanity of chattel slavery. That said, the correct way to do this is by taking volunteers, not forcing the only black kids to play slave . Here's the video report from Colorlines, if you're interested:

Fiscal Restraint

For the record, it isn't a show of " fiscal restraint " to cut funding for poor kids, especially when that funding goes toward one of the few programs that devotes itself to the children of the least well-off. Head Start is not without its problems, yes, but of the policy interventions we can make into the lives of children, early-childhood education is one of the most worthwhile. Budget cuts might save a few dollars in the short term, but they would come at significant long-term cost for the country at large. Relatedly, this entire discussion over Head Start demonstrates the lopsidedness of the conversation over spending and taxes: The fight over federal spending intensified on Capitol Hill this week when two bills — the House Republican version with large cuts to Head Start and scores of other programs, and a Democratic rejoinder with far fewer trims — both failed in the Senate. As the two sides begin to bargain in earnest, it is increasingly clear that Democrats will be forced to...

Chris Christie's Curious Relationship with the Truth

Yesterday, The New York Times took a moment to note New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 's loose relationship with the truth: Mr. Christie, a Republican who took office in January 2010, would hardly be the first politician to indulge in hyperbole or gloss over facts. But his misstatements, exaggerations and carefully constructed claims belie the national image he has built as a blunt talker who gives straight answers to hard questions, especially about budgets and labor relations. Candor is central to Mr. Christie’s appeal, and a review of his public statements over the past year shows some of them do not hold up to scrutiny. The Times provides a greatest hits of Christie "misstatements": In fact, on the occasions when the Legislature granted the unions new benefits, it was for pensions, which were not subject to collective bargaining — and it has not happened in eight years. In reality, state employees have paid 1.5 percent of their salaries toward health insurance since 2007, in addition...

Paul Ryan's Strange Views on Taxes and Spending

As Budget Committee chairman, Paul Ryan has a reputation for "seriousness," which is why he's rarely challenged for saying ridiculous things like this : Many Democrats and even a few Republicans in the Senate say the only way to tackle the nation's financial problems is to address both taxes and spending. But don't expect Ryan's budget plan to include any new taxes. However, in a break with many Republicans, Ryan did open the door to higher taxes in the future, but only as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code, and only after the big benefit programs have been reformed. "If we just do a tax compromise without fundamentally fixing spending, then we're just fueling more spending," he said. "Do I believe you can get slightly higher revenues without harming jobs, and get better economic growth? Yes, I do believe that. But I don't think it's a worthwhile exercise if you don't deal with the problem and the problem is spending." Even if you view spending as the chief problem in...

Public Policy Has Consequences

In light of the terrible tsunami that has hit Japan and threatens to reach the United States, it's worth noting that -- as part of their continuing resolution -- the House GOP proposed deep cuts to the National Weather Service, which houses the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center: A bill in the House of Representatives is proposing to cut the National Weather Service's 2011 budget by reportedly 30 percent or about $126 million. The proposal is part of the Full Year Continuing Resolution Act. [...] "There is a very heightened risk for loss of life if these cuts go through. The inability for warnings to be disseminated to the public, whether due to staffing inadequacies, radar maintenance problems or weather radio transmitter difficulties, would be disastrous," said Calderone. At the risk of sounding tasteless, these things are worth pointing out . Spending cuts don't happen in the abstract, and -- in addition to harming the least-well-off -- they affect our ability to conduct needed...