“That Conversation about Race” category archive
Jorge Reina Schement, a vice chancellor at Rutgers University, recalls his summer job working on a loading dock when he was a student. Here’s a snippet; follow the link for the rest:
One night, after the break, I noticed that I was the only one on the dock. I looked around to see several men running down the dock yelling for me to freeze. They pushed me against a wall and demanded my name. I held my breath as they looked at me. Then, they turned me loose and ran down the dock. I felt frightened and shaken as I watched them disappear.
I ran to the front office, where I was told that immigration – La Migra – had swept all the loading docks. When I asked about my fellow workers, I received a shrug. Later, I asked the boss why they didn’t take me. He laughed and replied, “You don’t look like a Mexican.” I was a light skinned Mexican-Italian born in Texas. My first lesson about deportations: Skin color matters.
One could argue that “skin color matters” is an unstated founding principle of the United States, just as the 3/5ths rule was a stated one. The 3/5ths rule is gone (at least formally), but skin color still matters.
From the land of gracious living: Deneen Brown writes of two historians who are trying to compile a complete listing of ads still extant for runaway slaves in the ante bellum South.
A web search for “runaway slaves ads” will turn up a number of sites with actual historical facts that the New Secesh want to pretend don’t exist.
I must have broken this post when I was troubleshooting the sidebar issue.
Leonard Pitts, Jr., excoriates Attorney-General Jeff Sessions’s intent to somehow emasculate consent decrees governing how certain police departments treat Not White persons. A snippet:
These decrees are agreements for federally monitored reform of training, policy and procedure of troubled cop shops. They are in effect in 14 cities, including Ferguson and Cleveland. Four other cities – Miami is one – made agreements to reform without federal oversight.
In a memo released last week, Sessions worries about tarring police with the actions of a few “bad actors.” Yet DOJ investigations repeatedly found that, far from being isolated events, police abuse – unlawful stops, searches, harassment and beatings targeting African-American citizens – were endemic to the very culture of these departments. They were not flaws in the system. They were the system.
Elie Mystal comments on Attorney-General Sessions’s decision to abolish the the National Commission on Forensic Science, created by President Obama just a few years ago to raise standards for forensic science. In the light of the work of the Innocence Project and similar groups, those standards seem sorely in need of raising, or maybe of being created in the first place(PDF from Virginia Law Review). Here’s an excerpt from Mystal’s post:
Of course, a higher standard for forensic science really only helps people who committed no crime. Sessions isn’t about that. If you look like a criminal, Sessions wants you in jail, somewhat regardless of your actual culpability. The Commission, for instance, wanted the F.B.I. to stop overstating the scientific reliability of crime scene hair tracking. Turns out that’s not as good as it looks on CSI. But you know how prosecutors think: they already know who did it, the burden is on the criminal to not get caught if he’s really innocent.
Responding to a recent kerfuffle about white privilege and its effects on the local economy, Tim Hurley writes with sensitivity and perception of his own experience, as a white man, of white privilege. I commend the article to your attention. Here’s a bit:
There is no Klan robe in my closet (or my grandfather’s), but there is racial bias inside of me. Not because of my race or because I am a Southerner, but because I am a human. And, throughout my life – from Mississippi to North Carolina to California – teachers, policeman, employers, and others have given me the benefit of the doubt because I am white. And I have done the same for them.
This is how we can contribute to the systems of white supremacy without any swastikas or pointed hoods. It is an insidious part of our daily lives, regardless of creed or ideology. You can be a Democrat, a Republican, a liberal or a conservative and contribute to a culture of white supremacy. The actions can be ugly and intentional or small and unthinking – judging the name on a resume, overlooking certain students in a classroom – but the cumulative impact is devastating . . . .
Dick Polman thinks Trump’s border wall is a non-starter for many reasons. Here’s one of them; follow the link for the rest.
But the biggest problem is that most Americans don’t even want the wall. Turns out – and I know this comes as a shock – that the enthusiasm for walling us off from Mexico was largely confined to the subset of citizens who flocked to Trump’s rallies. Turns out that when it comes to wall spending, most of us are actually fiscal conservatives.
Trump’s proposed budget calls for a $1.5-billion down payment on the wall. According to a new national poll released today, only 28 percent of Americans like the idea. And 58 percent do not.
Solomon Jones watches Jeff Sessions bring back the good old days.
Sessions’ decision to order a broad review of federal agreements with dozens of law-enforcement agencies is nothing short of an attack on black and brown people. After all, those agreements were necessitated by systemic police abuses targeting minority communities. Attempting to pull out of those agreements – most of which have already been approved in federal court – delivers an indisputable message: Black lives don’t matter to the Trump administration.
Read the rest.
Many years ago, I read in one of Bennett Cerf’s books a story about a European author who was visiting the United States in the days of Jim Crow; it was so long ago I can’t remember who the story was about.
He was in a bus station with a friend when he needed to use the restroom. He headed towards the door labeled “Colored” (I’m old enough to remember doors labeled “Colored”).
His friend, somewhat panicked, said, “That’s for colored people!”
He answered, “I am colored. I am pink.”
In The Roanoke Times, Virginia Tech history professor Peter Wallenstein explains how Southern states favor of “states’ rights” except when they are not.
In these parts, there have been several instances of black persons imprisoned for minor, almost miniscule crimes, dying in jail from neglect, with this being perhaps the most unspeakably egregious case.
Meanwhile, a rich white banker convicted of bribery and bank fraud gets a “Get Out of Jail Free” card because he has high blood pressure.
The editorial cartoonist for my local rag is not amused.
I’m a Southern Boy. I grew up under Jim Crow and went to segregated schools, as I have mentioned from time to time in these electrons. I had ancestors who owned slaves. My degree is in history with a concentration in U. S. Southern.
As I’ve added experience to my studies, I have more and more concluded that race and racism are constant undercurrents (and sometimes overcurrents) in American politics, however energetically white Americans try to pretend otherwise.
A half century ago, Richard Nixon’s odious Southern strategy caused the Republican Party to morph into the party of racism and bigotry.
Nixon thought that he could use Southern bigots and racists to cement his power (that worked out very nicely, did it not?); now, half a century later, his strategy had come full circle and the powers that he invited into his party have consumed it. Bigotry and racism are fundamental elements underlying Republican polices and positions, central elements to their campaign strategies.
This week, the results of Nixon’s decision to open Republican doors wide to racists played out quite publicly in Republicans’ failed attempt to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, the health care law that Republicans chose to refer to as “Obamacare,” for reasons that Atrios summed up brilliantly yesterday so I don’t have to.
In The Seattle Times, Rabbi Daniel Weiner reflects on the recent anti-Semitic vandalism of his synagogue, in which the words, “Holocau$t is face hi$tory,” were spray-painted on its wall. He responds to persons who believed that he unfairly blamed Donald Trump for the deed. Here’s an excerpt (emphasis added):
Though employed by both sides of the political divide, the stigmatic label “fake” has become most associated with our current Commander-in-Chief. A few in the community felt that I had unfairly indicted President Donald Trump, carelessly invoking a causative link between this hateful act and the man himself. But as I endeavored to scrupulously point out, I saw a correlation, not causation. Yet that correlation evokes grave concerns that transcend who actually had their finger on the spray can.
There has been much documented about the intersections between Trump associates and the “alt-right” — a cleansing euphemism for white supremacy. Trump’s actual regard for vulnerable populations, Jews among them, is inconsequential to his intoning of the classic “dog-whistles” of anti-minority tropes. If he is truly aware of the implications of his words, it is troubling. If he plumbs the abyss out of mere political expediency, it is equally dangerous, displaying a reckless disregard for truth and propriety unworthy of the office he currently holds.
When you blow a dog-whistle, don’t be surprised when the dogs respond.
The discussion does not accept the poll’s result uncritically, but does dig into the methodology and possible flaws in the poll.