“If not even an avowed socialist can be bothered to grapple with reparations, if the question really is that far beyond the pale, if Bernie Sanders truly believes that victims of the Tulsa pogrom deserved nothing, that the victims of contract lending deserve nothing, that the victims of debt peonage deserve nothing, that political plunder of black communities entitles them to nothing, if this is the candidate of the radical left—then expect white supremacy in America to endure well beyond our lifetimes and lifetimes of our children.” —Ta-Nehisi Coates on Bernie Sanders and reparations
Daniel Holtzclaw given 263 years in prison for serially raping and targeting black women.
College application season has ended and admission season is about to begin. NPR brings us a list of ways the admissions process squeezes out poor kids (and one they forgot: standardized test prep classes, which can have a hefty price tag).
I have been sadly remiss about this, sorry! So much has happened since our last roundup, and there’s absolutely no way I can remotely begin to cover everything, but here are some of my favorite interesting pieces from the past couple of weeks, including sad/absurd news, food for thought, and more.
When and how does “adulthood” begin? “All of a sudden you’re out in the world, and you have this insane array of options, but you don’t know which you should take. There’s all these things your mom and dad told you, presumably, and yet you’re living like a feral wolf, who doesn’t have toilet paper, who’s using Arby’s napkins instead.”
Tamir Rice and the value of life: “Take a moment and time yourself giving three commands, imagining a response from Tamir and making the decision to shoot. Maybe it can be done in less than two seconds. But to my mind, it strains credulity.”
Keith Chow bites back at self-hating radio host who claims the idea of an Asian-American superhero is impossible.
“The social pressure on people of color to keep the peace, not get mad, just make sure everyone keeps having a nice time…can be overwhelming, bearing down on us in so many situations we do not see coming and therefore cannot avoid. What does our dignity matter, what do our feelings amount to, when we could embarrass white people we care about?”
Cliven Bundy et al. defending their right to owe more than $1 million to taxpayers: why the local militia has taken over federal property and why the double-standard in police response to this situation, versus situations involving POC, is so absurd it’s almost laughable
Starting off the new year with some good old-fashioned American paranoia!
There is an episode of The Twilight Zone in which a normal American neighborhood is thrown into violent chaos by the appearance of a strange object in the sky. The fear that alien invaders might be masquerading as a human family causes neighbors to turn with suspicion on those they’ve known all their lives.
Like so many Twilight Zone episodes, the true monster here is Man. The lesson is that the enemy’s best weapon is the seed of paranoid doubt we harbor against those closest to us. It is a not-so-subtle commentary on McCarthyism’s hysterical campaign to root out the communist threat by encouraging citizens to denounce their friends and allies.
The communist, like the aliens in The Twilight Zone, is so dangerous precisely because its otherness cannot be easily recognized. Soviet sympathizers can look exactly like everybody else, and the possibility of their presence among us is so terrifying because it challenges our confidence in our own capacity for self-recognition. The identity of friends, spouses, teachers, and politicians cannot be trusted precisely because they look just like us. Familiarity itself becomes suspect as the mask of a dangerous otherness.
The Rabbi who spoke at the White House told the audience that his father came to the United States on the St. Louis, its last journey to the United States before making its famous “Voyage of the Damned.” As Obama said Wednesday night, now, it is other boats being turned away from potential asylum. Thus, as Jews, as people who have ourselves been turned away when seeking refuge, or have been accepted, begrudgingly and with a high tax for being who we are, we must open our doors to refugees, open our doors to the stranger as we are commanded to do each year on Passover.
Wednesday night – which happened to be both the 150th anniversary of the passing of the 13th Amendment and the fourth night of Chanukah – I stood in the White House, listening to President Barack Obama and a Rabbi (whose parents were both Holocaust survivors) talk about the origins of the holiday. Relative to Christmas, Chanukah is minor, but the story fits in with several other Jewish holidays – “they tried to kill us, they failed, let’s eat.” But I was pleased by the serious tone both the President and the Rabbi took; they both talked about the refugee and immigrant experiences of Jews, and how now, it is a different group that is in trouble, a different group to whom we must extend a helping hand. Both leaders drew a connection I often feel, between Judaism and compassion to those in need, and to hear a similar message from my president was deeply moving.
Claudia Rankine celebrates the excellence of Serena Williams: “The notable difference between white excellence and black excellence is white excellence is achieved without having to battle racism. Imagine.” As my dear friend M put it, “I love Serena. I love Claudia Rankine. I love that these women exist.”
Suffragettes Who Sucked: White Supremacy and Women’s Rights: reminding us that the phenomenon of “white feminism” (feminism that, in a nutshell, centers specifically white, mostly upper-class women while dismissing racial intersectionality) has been around for a while. The Toast compiles a list of notable feminist figures whose achievements in women’s rights had a dark side.
Register to vote.Even if you’re jaded by the political circus. Our forerunners fought long and hard to win us the right to vote. You owe it to them, and to yourself, to at least pay attention to what is happening.
Lessons from the Virginia Shooting:“the lesson from the ongoing carnage is not that we need a modern prohibition…but that we should address gun deaths as a public health crisis. To protect the public, we regulate toys and mutual funds, ladders and swimming pools. Shouldn’t we regulate guns as seriously as we regulate toys?”