Rep Smith Leads On Police Reform

Congressman Chris Smith, House of Representative portrait

Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District is an original cosponsor of the JUSTICE Act, comprehensive legislation which was introduced in the House of Representatives on Thursday. The legislation would build safer communities by ensuring greater transparency and accountability in policing.

Read the rest of this entry » Posted: June 19th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Congress, Law Enforcement, Race | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Rep Smith: President Trump’s Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities is an Important Step Forward

Congressman Chris Smith

By Congressman Chris Smith

In signing an executive order on policing today—Safe Policing, For Safe Communities—President Trump said that “reducing crime and raising standards are not opposite goals.”

This is an important step forward.

Read the rest of this entry » Posted: June 16th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Donald Trump, Law Enforcement, Opinion, Race | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rep Smith: President Trump’s Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities is an Important Step Forward

Opinion | Racial insensitivity exists everywhere, we are not immune

Jada Tulloch and Luke Farrell, Middletown High School North seniors. Photo courtesy of Luke Ferrell

By Luke Ferrell

Middletown, it’s time that we have a conversation about race. Merriam-Webster defines a conversation as “an oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas”. Let’s “exchange” ways to make our community a better place without “exchanging” hate or negativity. I’d like to explain why even the “fifth safest city in America to raise a child” (SafeWise, 2016) cannot be excluded from hearing stories of overcoming racial adversity.

Read the rest of this entry » Posted: June 7th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Middletown, Monmouth County News, Opinion, Race | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Remove the Statue of Asbury’s James Bradley, the Jim Crow of the North

By Tom DeSeno

James A Bradley statue in Asbury Park, NJ

Let me solve America’s current war on statues.  Not just weigh in – solve it.

Whether or not to remove a statue should be governed by the “doctrine of subsidiarity.”  What is subsidiarity?   The doctrine holds, “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need.”

In other words, problems are best solved by those closest to the problem. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: September 25th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Asbury Park, Monmouth County News, Opinion, Race, Tommy DeSeno | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

What Happens When The President Uses The “N” Word?

By Tom DeSeno


“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” Juliet of the House of Capulet

Tommy DeSeno1I’ve written columns for many outlets over the past 15 years, and one practice I’ve always maintained is to spell out the whole “N” word when it is being used in an historical context, as in, “Slave owners referred to blacks as “N.” I do the same when quoting another person, as in, “He called him a “N.” I’ve also reserved the right to spell it out in condemnation of the word itself, as in, “It’s wrong to call anyone a “N.”

My thinking was that the “N” word is an insult when intended that way. I owe my American brothers and sisters with superior protective pigment the courtesy of not using that word as an insult, because it is worse than other words on the insult scale.

However, I don’t owe anyone a distortion of history. I don’t owe anyone less than exactitude when it comes to a quote, lest I be distorting history myself.

Yet every single editor I’ve had changes the spelled out word to the abbreviated “N word” before my column is published (I’m using the abbreviated “N” word now instead of spelling out the word, in recognition of Ricochet’s past practice).

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t use the word casually. I don’t use it in my own conversations and have not done so in decades. I think the only time I ever really used it was during a fistfight on the playground. There are different rules when throwing down — I would get called a cracker, a honky, etc. and I would yell out as many reciprocal remarks as I could. None of the white or black kids watching considered it racist. Afterwards, even the combatants did not. When you are in a fight, the rules of decorum are suspended. You’retrying to insult the guy you’re punching in the face.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: June 23rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Opinion, Race, Tommy DeSeno | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments »

Guess who’s coming to dinner

Over at NJ.com Star Ledger columnist John Farmer tells a tale of a dinner party he attended where he asked his fellow Caucasian guests (and hosts presumably) if they believe President Obama was born outside of the United States and if they believe he is a Muslim.  Most of the guest at the party that took place in a “pretty typical” “slightly upper-middle class neighborhood” admitted to believing that Obama is a foreign born Muslim, so said Farmer in the piece, After nearly four years of Barack Obama, is white America still uneasy with a black man in the White House?  Most of the commenters at NJ.com think the column is fiction.

How could Obama even have become president if white America was uneasy with a black man in the White House?

After four years, more Americans of all races are uneasy with that particular black man in the White House!    Herman Cain or Allen West would not make me uneasy.  Condoleeza Rice wouldn’t make me uneasy.  Colin Powell’s uneasiness makes me uneasy, not his skin color.

Farmer’s column is likely the an early indication of how the race card will be played by the left stream media in conjunction with the Obama campaign over the next four + plus months.

What will happen is “white guilt” isn’t working according to polling data come October?  What will the lefties do if Mitt Romney chooses a black running mate?

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Presidential Politics, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Race | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Black Kids In Asbury Park Shooting Each Other, Part One: Why It’s Happening

By Tommy DeSeno, also published in the April 12, 2012 edition of the triCityNews

We were warned in 1965 but failed to listen.  In that year Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of the most respected Democrats to ever live, issued a report to the Department of Labor that has become known as “The Moynihan Report.”  It was entitled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.”

Brevity requires me to get right to the paper’s thesis, simply stated therein:

The fundamental problem, in which this is most clearly the case, is that of family structure. The evidence – not final, but powerfully persuasive – is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling. A middle class group has managed to save itself, but for vast numbers of the unskilled, poorly educated city working class the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated.

Deteriorating “family structure” is the problem.  What specifically is Moynihan referring to?   The absence of a father in the Black household:

In essence, the Negro community has been forced into a matriarchal structure which, because it is out of line with the rest the American society, seriously retards the progress of the group as a whole, and imposes a crushing burden on the Negro male and, in consequence, on a great many Negro women as well.

It has to be acknowledged that the ideal situation to live in, giving the most likely chance for success of a family, is the traditional nuclear family with a father and mother supporting one another in the household.  As Moynihan points out, that isn’t a knock on other matriarchal societies.  However, when a majority in a nation is not matriarchal, and the minority is, that is devastating, even emasculating, to the male minority.

It is recognized that human situations won’t allow all to grow up in a nuclear family.  Also, since we are talking about a sample of 300 million people in America, you will be able to find some examples of children from single mother households who have done better than children from nuclear families.  That, however, is highlighting the exception while hiding the rule.

Statistics, as pointed out in The Moynihan report, reveal that the nuclear Black family with both parents in the household see their children grow up on average with higher IQs, less crime and more financial success than their single mother counterparts.

The report notes:

The role of the family in shaping character and ability is so pervasive as to be easily overlooked. The family is the basic social unit of American life; it is the basic socializing unit. By and large, adult conduct in society is learned as a child.

What role should young boys learn from their fathers?  The Moynihan Report quotes cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead:

“In every known human society, everywhere in the world, the young male learns that when he grows up one of the things which he must do in order to be a full member of society is to provide food for some female and her young.”

Moynihan adds to that:  This pattern is not immutable, however: it can be broken, even though it has always eventually reasserted itself Replicas Inflatable Cemento.

It couldn’t be clearer that the pattern among poor blacks has been toward households empty of fathers.  Unfortunately, despite the devastation it can bring to the children, fatherless Black households are growing.  Black children are learning more often than not that leaving families behind is an acceptable choice (I acknowledge the growing trend among white fathers today too).

Back in 1965 when the Moynihan Report was written, on average 36% of Black children were living in broken homes at any given moment.  That number has risen since then for both whites and non-whites, but today’s numbers for Blacks are alarming:  Nationwide 70% of Black children are born into single parent households, while in Asbury Park estimates have been as high as 90%.  The poor Black family has continued to disintegrate.

Understand, so there is no mistake, that Moynihan finds no shortcoming of the Black male or female: Genetically, the intelligence potential is distributed for Black infants in the same proportions as Icelanders, Chinese and every other group.

However, when testing Blacks alone, the pattern is clear that Black children from stable families fare far better than those from fatherless homes. 

Included in the areas where Blacks from broken homes fall short is crime.  Moynihan quotes several sources, including a study that showed 3/4ths – or twice the expected ratio – of Philadelphia’s Black juvenile delinquents came from one parent households. 

Moynihan was careful to note the outside pressures on the Black male, including segregation, alienation and prejudice in obtaining employment.  His point, however, is that the Black child from a stable family is given the emotional support to deal with it, while the child of the single parent family is often left with a hopelessness and quitting attitude based upon the actions of his absent father.

The shooting of young people in Asbury Park is not occurring to middle class children with stable homes.   This behavior was presciently predicted by Moynihan.  

So who is to blame for Asbury Park’s fatherless homes and children shooting each other?  I have narrowed it down to 35 people here in the City.   In the next issue of triCityNews, I will name names and tell you who is at fault.

Posted: April 16th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Asbury Park, Civil Rights, Economy, Education, Race, Tommy DeSeno, triCityNews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Sweeney Calls Rutgers-Camden Students and Faculty Protesters A “Lynch Mob”

Senate President Steve Sweeney called Rutgers-Camden students and faculty members who were protesting the proposed merger of their school into Rowan University a “lynch mob,” according to a post at Blue Jersey.

I wonder if Congressman John Lewis will be coming back to Trenton to slam Sweeney.  Lewis came to Trenton last week to denounce Governor Chris Christie’s “in-artful” comments about the 1960’s civil rights movement in the South when calling for a referendum on same sex marriage.

I wonder if Assembly Speaker Shelia Oliver will give Sweeney a history lesson about language that African Americans find offensive and then go on the Al Sharpton Show to talk about it.

Posted: February 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Race | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sweeney Calls Rutgers-Camden Students and Faculty Protesters A “Lynch Mob”

Racial Segregation In A Northern State. A Challenge To My Governor Christie

By Tommy DeSeno, Originally published on ricochet

I’m a bit moved today that an issue I’ve been hammering away at by my lonesome for a decade is finally getting some attention.

New Jersey is racially segregated.   Some of it is naturally occurring or of personal economic genesis. The birth of that kind of segregation requires no immoral act by mankind, though whether something should or can be done about it I leave for another debate.

Some of New Jersey’s racial segregation is state sponsored.  State sponsored racial segregation shouldn’t be, from both moral and economic perspectives. Something must be done about it.

New Jersey has the highest incomes in America, but Camden is the poorest city in America. The only way to have the highest incomes and the poorest city is to have a segregated poor.   Some of that segregation might have to do with the way public housing is built.   That might be a real issue, but that is not my issue today.

My issue is education, where state sponsored segregation is a certainty in New Jersey.   Brown v Board of Education may as well never have happened as far as the racially segregated City of Asbury Park is concerned. That is ironic since Asbury Park has a school named in honor of Thurgood Marshall, who was lead counsel on Brown v Board of Education.  Thurgood Marshall and its sister schools in Asbury Park, the High School in particular, are some of the most racially segregated schools in the country.

Let’s talk about how that happened.  Asbury Park is home to some of the poorest people in New Jersey, and while it is racially diverse, it is majority Black.  It’s only a little bigger than a square mile.  It is surrounded by other small towns, some of which rank as the wealthiest in New Jersey.  They are super-majority White. They are all tiny towns, too small to have their own High Schools. So for about 100 years, children in all the rich surrounding towns attended Asbury Park High School.

Asbury Park High ran well as a racially and economically diverse school.

In 1996 state action occurred.  New Jersey’s Commissioner of Education ruled that 15 miles away, another public school in very wealthy and very white Little Silver, NJ had a better music program than Asbury Park. Therefore, anyone who wanted to study music could be bused past their home school in Asbury Park and go to Little Silver, at taxpayer expense.

Suddenly, an unexplained outbreak of the desire to learn the oboe developed among the White students, who were instantly so musically gifted that they all passed the required audition and were accepted into the other public high school’s music program.

Over the past 15 years, they quietly allowed the rich surrounding towns to peel away from the Asbury Park School District to join districts geographically further away.

That took from Asbury Park it’s economic, cultural and racial diversity.  It left Asbury Park with just he lowest income students in the state, who for whatever reason you may wish to ascribe, happen to be Black.  To look at the class pictures in Asbury Park, you would think that in 1996 aliens abducted all the white kids, because they just suddenly disappear.

Some may not have a problem with this, but that’s only because I have yet to tell you about the money side.   If it is activist courts, social engineering and throwing money at poor schools as a magic elixir that stirs your emotions, behold:

New Jersey had a Supreme Court case called Abbott come down.  It stands for this proposition:  Poor school districts must be funded to the same level as the richest districts in the state. 

Thirty-two of the State’s 500+ school districts are identified as poor “Abbott Districts” and they receive billions of dollars in extra money from the State, because the Supreme Court says they have a “right” to everyone else’s money for being poor.

Asbury Park is one of those “Abbott” districts. It is one of the lowest performing school districts in the state.   Its budget?  About $90 million yearly.  It’s High School graduating class?  About 90 students. 

However, if we didn’t bus all those kids past the Asbury Park district and brought them back home where they live, Asbury Park would lose it’s “Abbott Designation” and taxpayers would save about $60 million in Abbott funding yearly.

Such an easy fix!  Now brace yourself for the ugly side of politics to learn why it isn’t done:

Most of the suburban White people will complain to high heaven about the money Asbury Park gets each year.  But ask them if they are willing to send their children back to their geographic home district, and they will say, “On second thought, why don’t you just keep that $60 million.”

The urban Blacks in Asbury Park are just as guilty.  While they may claim to abhor racial segregation, ask them to desegregate their school and their answer is, “And lose $60 million? No way!”

The children are caught in the middle.  They are racially and economically segregated by state action, and they know it.

Since no one’s hands are clean here, there is no reason to waste time with allegations that this happened because the White towns acted racially or the Black school was greedy.  Just fix it for the children, and the taxpayer.

I have been calling on every politician since 1996 to change that awful “music ruling” and bring the White children back to Asbury Park, or close Asbury Park and send the children to the surrounding High Schools, where each school would have to take only 15 students per grade.

I’ve never gained any traction, because no one wants to admit that Abbott funding is “segregation hush money.”

Until today.  I’m delighted that Art Gallagher, who runs New Jersey’s most prolific center-right blog More Monmouth Musings, has taken up the cause.

Art notes today that David Sciarra, Director of the Education Law Center who was responsible for bringing those Abbott cases, gave a speech yesterday lamenting the racial segregation he suddenly sees throughout New Jersey schools.

That is huge news.  I don’t care if Mr. Sciarra sees racial segregation as his organization’s fault or not.  I’m just glad he sees it.  He, of course, is on the left.  Mr. Gallagher is on the right.  For the first time in 30 years, New Jersey’s left and right identified the same problem with education: Segregation.

Art Gallagher has gained enough gravitas through his blog that he has been granted one-on-one interviews with Governor Christie himself.

I hope Art and Mr. Sciarra can get the Governor’s attention to tackle racial segregation in New Jersey schools.

Posted: May 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Race, Tommy DeSeno | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments »