Washington Babylon — August 25, 2010, 7:17 am

Race and the Courts

From Stephen Bright, in the Fulton County Daily Report:

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ third ruling that a white supervisor calling black men “boy”—as in “Boy, you better get going” and “Hey, boy”—is not evidence of racial animus was issued last week by Judges Edward E. Carnes and William H. Pryor Jr. in an unsigned, unpublished opinion. Carnes and Pryor are white men and alumni of the Alabama attorney general’s office.

The third judge on the panel, a visiting senior district judge from Ohio appointed by President Ronald Reagan, dissented. He would have upheld a jury verdict finding that Tyson Foods discriminated against a black man, John Hithon, in not promoting him to position as a shift manager at Tyson’s chicken processing plant in Gadsden, Ala., and awarding damages of more than $1 million to Hithon.

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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