David Brooks tries to explain ‘woke’ to the rest of us, fails miserably

David Brooks should really stop trying to explain stuff to the rest of us. While he has a specific perspective that, for some inexplicable reason, appeals to some fan base out there somewhere, he is most definitely unqualified to speak on certain topics. After the Women’s March, he wasted his words (and valuable space in the New York Times), mansplaining why the marches would do little for social change. In his not-at-all-worth reading nonsensical essay, he boiled down the entirety of the many women’s marches that took place around the country and world to identity politics and women’s issues with patriarchy. Talk about someone without a clue—this tone-deaf perspective makes him come across as if he’s never even talked to a woman before in his life.  But, not to worry, he’s not to be outdone. This week, he decided to write about what cool looks like in America today. 

The

Continue reading “David Brooks tries to explain ‘woke’ to the rest of us, fails miserably”

Massachusetts police do not have authority to detain undocumented immigrants for ICE says high court

Reuters is reporting that Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that police officers cannot detain undocumented immigrants without cause—and holding them while waiting for federal law enforcement officers is not an acceptable reason.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that doing so amounts to a fresh arrest of the person that is not authorized by state law, in the first such ruling to apply to an entire state, according to Massachusetts’ attorney general.

“Massachusetts law provides no authority for Massachusetts court officers to arrest and hold an individual solely on the basis of a Federal civil immigration detainer, beyond the time that the individual would otherwise be entitled to be released from State custody,” the court wrote in its decision.

The case in front of the court concerned a Cambodian man named Sreynuon Lunn who had been detained on a larceny case that ended up being dismissed.

Lunn, who had a

Continue reading “Massachusetts police do not have authority to detain undocumented immigrants for ICE says high court”

On this, John McCain has been a true leader

I hope Senator John McCain has many years left, and that he is able to enjoy them with his friends and loved ones. He has served our country with bravery and with distinction, and suffered a great deal for it while being held as a prisoner of war. There is no doubt that he loves America. I also hope the next person who sits in his Senate seat is a Democrat, just as I do for any seat held by a Republican.

As for McCain’s political positions on major issues over the years, I disagreed with him most of the time, although less often than some other Republicans. And yes, he brought Sarah Palin on to the national stage, something that will always be a low point in his career. Let’s not revisit those issues here, or offer a list of the damaging legislation or policies he supported. That doesn’t mean they

Continue reading “On this, John McCain has been a true leader”

Persistent redlining and employment discrimination have hurt black Americans’ chance at wealth

One of the most difficult things about trying to talk race in this country is the fact that our knowledge of and agreement on basic facts is so varied. While most of us know that the enslavement and segregation of black people gravely impacted their economic opportunity at one point in time, there is a serious disconnect about what came after.

While many black people are intimately familiar with the practice of redlining (which refers to a combination of housing discrimination and obstructive lending practices which prevent blacks from obtaining home ownership), it is difficult for others to concede the idea that wealth has been systematically denied from blacks long after segregation ended. Recent economic research not only continues to confirm the existence of redlining but also shows that redlining never went away—and is part of the reason that the wealth gap between whites and blacks remains so stark to this day. 

A new study 

Continue reading “Persistent redlining and employment discrimination have hurt black Americans’ chance at wealth”

Man accused of killing Richard Collins III is not being charged with a hate crime. Why not?

Black people in America are beyond tired of being gaslighted when it comes to talking about our experiences with racism. In case you don’t know what gaslighting is, it’s when someone manipulates or brainwashes another person in an effort to get that person to question their own reality or sanity. It is a tool of abuse and control—a power tactic designed to get you to distrust yourself and to trust your abuser instead. As black folk, our entire relationship with America is one big example of gaslighting, repeated over and over again for centuries, ad infinitum. In individual relationships, we may experience this when we work up the courage to share our humiliating experiences of racism with a cherished white or non-black friend or colleague—only to have them try to convince us that the world is now post-racial and that anti-black racism isn’t really a thing or is just the product of our

Continue reading “Man accused of killing Richard Collins III is not being charged with a hate crime. Why not?”

University of Missouri struggles to recruit students two years after protests about racial injustice

Millennials often get saddled with the reputation of being lazy and entitled, but there is little doubt that this generation is socially aware and politically active. From Ferguson to Baltimore and other demonstrations against racial injustice, young people are protesting en masse and standing up for what they believe in. This has been a phenomenon several years in the making. 

At the University of Missouri, escalating tensions about race reached fever pitch in 2015. Students were protesting that the administration hadn’t done enough to respond to a series of racist incidents on campus. This was followed by protests by graduate students who staged a hunger strike, and finally by the football team, which refused to play. That was enough to force the university’s president and chancellor to step down. But two years later, the school’s reputation has yet to recover

Freshman enrollment at the Columbia campus, the system’s flagship, has fallen by more

Continue reading “University of Missouri struggles to recruit students two years after protests about racial injustice”

Bakersfield police assault black teenage girl, stating she looks like male suspect with machete

There is a long-standing history of black women being portrayed as hyper-masculine and unfeminine. And because white supremacy thrives on this narrative, we constantly have to prove that we are worthy of dignity in comparison to our white female counterparts. While white women are given the benefit of being seen as delicate and worthy of protection, black womanhood is reviled—never allowing black women to be fully seen beyond stereotypes that label us as angry, hyper-sexual, sassy or welfare queens. These stereotypes are problematic, of course, because they rob us of the ability to be understood as complex, multi-dimensional beings. But beyond the emotional and cultural violence they pose, they also serve to put our very lives in danger.

Such was the case last month when 19-year-old Tatyana Hargrove was walking home from a store in Bakersfield, California, after shopping for a Father’s Day gift. She was approached by a police officer who claims he mistook her for a

Continue reading “Bakersfield police assault black teenage girl, stating she looks like male suspect with machete”

Arrests, tear gas after Virginia Klan rally brings out 1,000 counterprotesters

North Carolina-based members of the Ku Klux Klan held a Charlottesville, Virginia rally yesterday to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Their small rally drew over 1,000 counter protesters in response, and from there things got out of hand.

For about a half-hour, around 50 members of the Klan — some wearing hooded white robes — shouted “white power” at Justice Park as more than 1,000 people protested their presence by hurling insults, water bottles and apple cores.

The statue of Robert E. Lee is about our heritage, says the group shouting “white power” at their rally.

When it was all over there were 23 arrests and police had dispersed the crowd with tear gas. It appears the trouble began when the Klan members returned to their cars after their rally to drive back home to Not Virginia, but were followed by a large

Continue reading “Arrests, tear gas after Virginia Klan rally brings out 1,000 counterprotesters”

Right-wing media politicize murder of NYPD officer to attack Black Lives Matter, Hillary, and Obama

Not long after midnight on Wednesday morning, Miosotis Familia was murdered for being a cop. Alexander Bonds walked up to the command post vehicle where she was sitting, in uniform and on duty, and fired a bullet into her head. According to a preliminary investigation, he ran and officers pursued him. After Bonds fired on the officers, they returned fire and killed him. Bonds was a black man who had taken part in an assault on a police officer in 2001, had expressed anger on social media about police brutality—including abusive treatment he absorbed while in prison—and who had a long history of severe mental illness.

Roma Martinez, who has lived for years in the neighborhood north of Yankee Stadium where Officer Familia was killed, called her “a good policewoman.” Familia lived on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, close to the street where she died. A neighbor, Rafael Mercedes,

Continue reading “Right-wing media politicize murder of NYPD officer to attack Black Lives Matter, Hillary, and Obama”

The alt-right has an identity crisis in its movement but we will gladly help them out

It seems like the alt-right has an identity problem. It can’t figure out what it wants to be or what it wants to be called. This confusion is driving a wedge between those deplorables who identify with the label “alt-right” and white supremacist Richard Spencer who has become the face of the movement, and those who identify with the almost the exact same things he stands for but are uncomfortable publicly aligning themselves with his brand of racism and anti-Semitism. That must be deeply difficult for them, poor little things.

And before you ask, yes, they are serious. They actually see a distinction in their ideologies which is splintering the movement in two. 

During the Presidential campaign, the term came to denote several intersecting phenomena: anti-feminism, opposition to political correctness, online abuse, belligerent nihilism, conspiracy theories, inflammatory Internet memes. Some pro-Trump activists adopted this big-tent definition, allowing any youthful, “edgy” critique

Continue reading “The alt-right has an identity crisis in its movement but we will gladly help them out”

Deliveryman in New York handed a noose by customer is left traumatized, unable to return to work

When you are black in America and have to navigate living and working around non-black people, you get used to dealing with racial microaggressions—statements which are directed at members of minority groups that reflect stereotypes and racial bias. Many of these microaggressions are not actually intended to cause harm, but the impact can serve to have a lasting effect—an ever constant reminder that we are seen as different and unrelatable. Racial microaggressions are not only experienced by black people. People of color can also be the recipients of them but certain microaggressions have a different meaning for blacks because of our long and complex history in this country.

And then there are the times when we have to deal with flat-out racism in the workplace. Because so many people have been willfully ignorant as to how pervasive racism is in our society, they’d be shocked to know how commonly this occurs. Of course, racial

Continue reading “Deliveryman in New York handed a noose by customer is left traumatized, unable to return to work”

Deliveryman in New York handed a noose by customer is left traumatized, unable to return to work

When you are black in America and have to navigate living and working around non-black people, you get used to dealing with racial microaggressions—statements which are directed at members of minority groups that reflect stereotypes and racial bias. Many of these microaggressions are not actually intended to cause harm, but the impact can serve to have a lasting effect—an ever constant reminder that we are seen as different and unrelatable. Racial microaggressions are not only experienced by black people. People of color can also be the recipients of them but certain microaggressions have a different meaning for blacks because of our long and complex history in this country.

And then there are the times when we have to deal with flat-out racism in the workplace. Because so many people have been willfully ignorant as to how pervasive racism is in our society, they’d be shocked to know how commonly this occurs. Of course, racial

Continue reading “Deliveryman in New York handed a noose by customer is left traumatized, unable to return to work”

Alabama man stages mock lynching on 4th of July as reminder that not everyone in the U.S. is free

When the Founding Fathers penned the declaration that all men are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights, they were clearly not being truthful. Slavery was practiced widely in the country at that time and many of them were, in fact, slave owners. Thomas Jefferson, the author of said line, began raping an enslaved Sally Hemings when she was just 14 years old (and contrary to how history has been spun, she was not his actually mistress as you cannot be a mistress when consent is taken away from you). It has been said that many of them wrestled with the moral dilemma of slavery, but perhaps their hypocrisy is an enduring reminder of the fact that the very founding of this nation was based in inequality. Simply put, some people did not and still, do not, count. 

One man, David Sadler, is asking people to answer the question “do

Continue reading “Alabama man stages mock lynching on 4th of July as reminder that not everyone in the U.S. is free”

In Trump’s America, nooses are making a comeback to intimidate and harm black people

Being black in America is to be the product of a rich and incredibly diverse history. Our culture is vast and complex and no two black people have lived the exact same experience. However, certain stories, symbols, and their meaning are quite commonly known amongst us and evoke the same reaction—no matter our age or experience or where we live. A hangman’s noose is one of those things.

Nooses produce a visceral fear of harm in the bodies and hearts of black folk. Now, there are some people out there who continue to promote the fallacy that nooses are not symbolic of anything. After all, they look similar to the kinds of knots used in sailing, fishing, and other activities. But to continue to deny the noose’s history and meaning to blacks, in particular, is ahistorical.

Nooses are a reminder that mobs and vigilantes in this country, along with the state, executed thousands of people by hanging. And

Continue reading “In Trump’s America, nooses are making a comeback to intimidate and harm black people”

New Brooklyn art exhibit explores segregation and racism in America’s public schools

Its been 63 years since the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling in which the Supreme Court declared that separate schools for black and white children were unconstitutional. But a report released last month showed that school segregation is actually on the rise— stating that “more than one in three black students attended a school in the South that was intensely racially segregated.” The number of Latino students attending segregated schools in the South is also increasing, rising from 37 percent in 1980 to 42 percent in 2014. Despite some folks’ sadly misguided assertion that the election of Barack Obama meant that America had now become a post-racial utopia, it appears that we have hard evidence that things are getting worse and not better (and let’s not even start in on what the election of Trump means for race relations). 

While researchers and educators explore systematic racism and the impact of school segregation on student learning and

Continue reading “New Brooklyn art exhibit explores segregation and racism in America’s public schools”

How progressives talk about July 4 and our national history

I always enjoy Meteor Blades’ post about July 4, which centers on Frederick Douglass’s iconic speech, “The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro,” delivered in Rochester, New York, in 1852. The speech described the alienation slaves and African Americans in general felt from July 4 and also from America more broadly. Although the most often-quoted section discusses that sense of alienation, it is also important to remember Douglass’s conclusion to the speech:

Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from “the Declaration of Independence,” the great principles

Continue reading “How progressives talk about July 4 and our national history”

Trump ‘patriot’ accidentally shot himself at Confederate rally by resting his flag pole on his gun

Did you hear about the Civil War Part II over the weekend? Somehow, word got around among Confederate “patriot” groups that AntiFa (anti-facists) were planning to desecrate Confederate memorials like Gettysburg. Never mind there are no Confederate memorials at Gettysburg.

For their part, the Central Pennsylvania AntiFa organization made it clear they had no plans to show up and emphatically denied they ever had any intention of going to Gettysburg. 

Nevertheless, the rally cry had already gone out, the Confederate bugle sounded, and so-called “patriots” heeded the call and made their way to Gettysburg to defend their great, great, great, great grandpappy’s honor. Among the “patriots” was Ben Hornberger, a Trump supporter, who accidentally shot himself while resting his flag pole on his gun at the rally of Gettysburg:

A “patriot” who brought a revolver to Gettysburg National Military Park Saturday amid rumors of desecration of memorials accidentally shot himself in

Continue reading “Trump ‘patriot’ accidentally shot himself at Confederate rally by resting his flag pole on his gun”

Recent high school graduate shot and killed on Pennsylvania highway by angry white gunman

Biana Nikol Roberson was 18 and had just graduated high school. She was on her way to Jacksonville University in the fall and had her entire life to look forward to. Sadly, her dreams and life came to an end on June 28 when she was shot and killed on the highway by another driver on her way home from a shopping trip in West Goshen, Pennsylvania. 

In a press conference with reporters, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan confirmed that around 5:30 p.m., while traveling southbound on Route 100 in West Chester, Roberson and the suspect tried to merge into one lane at the same time. It was then, Hogan said, that Roberson’s green Chevy Malibu started to jostle with the suspect’s faded red pick-up truck. The man pulled out a gun and shot her in the head, Hogan said.

Roberson’s car went off the road into the adjacent woods. Hogan

Continue reading “Recent high school graduate shot and killed on Pennsylvania highway by angry white gunman”

Recent high school graduate shot and killed on Pennsylvania highway by angry white gunman

Biana Nikol Roberson was 18 and had just graduated high school. She was on her way to Jacksonville University in the fall and had her entire life to look forward to. Sadly, her dreams and life came to an end on June 28 when she was shot and killed on the highway by another driver on her way home from a shopping trip in West Goshen, Pennsylvania. 

In a press conference with reporters, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan confirmed that around 5:30 p.m., while traveling southbound on Route 100 in West Chester, Roberson and the suspect tried to merge into one lane at the same time. It was then, Hogan said, that Roberson’s green Chevy Malibu started to jostle with the suspect’s faded red pick-up truck. The man pulled out a gun and shot her in the head, Hogan said.

Roberson’s car went off the road into the adjacent woods. Hogan

Continue reading “Recent high school graduate shot and killed on Pennsylvania highway by angry white gunman”

Instead of wearing safety pins in solidarity, try Safety Pin Box—a subscription kit for white allies

Two days after the presidential election in 2016, I flew down to Miami where I was scheduled to work with a local labor union on diversity, equity and inclusion issues. It felt like an impossible task. The plans that I’d developed with my co-facilitators a month before had to be tossed out the window so that we could make space for people to simply grieve. The employees of the union had been working for over a year to elect Hillary Clinton and they took the loss very hard. But more importantly, they knew that a Donald Trump win posed a very real and dangerous threat to their lives and those of their loved ones. As a group of mostly women, people of color and immigrants, they were now targets and were shocked into the reality that millions of people in this country chose a xenophobic, racist misogynist as its leader—directly after electing the first

Continue reading “Instead of wearing safety pins in solidarity, try Safety Pin Box—a subscription kit for white allies”