not go into brain-freeze or a national seizure at the pace of militarized police killings, racial/religious/you-name-it hatred, and the racialized rightward whirlpool of the GOP’s appeal to fearful whites.
In the latest of a spate of fatal shootings, officers of the infamous Los Angeles Police Department raced to touristy Hollywood Boulevard, where they fired 10 rounds to terminate a reportedly homeless man carrying a Swiss army pocket knife. Yes, a pocket knife. Guardian story here. Police pic of the palm-sized weapon here. The victim was white, by the way.
In Kansas City, a 15-year-old Somali Muslim was run down and killed outside a mosque by an SUV driven by a Somali Christian known to have threatened Muslims with violence.
In the much-anticipated runoff U.S. senate election in Louisiana, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu fell to Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy. Like many Dems in this midterm, in her race she fled the causes embraced by her base (at the 11th hour she sang the praises of the Keystone Pipeline and its claimed monetary payoff for Louisiana) only to prove, once again, that a weak-kneed Democrat commands increasingly little electoral appeal against an unapologetic Republican rightie. Much of the American South, thanks to white-powered districts, is now in the hands of a GOP that is laying its last big demographic bet – in an increasingly brown country – on the fears of petrified whites.
In other words, the headlines we read are racing into a blur of brazenly militarized everyday policing, unrelenting hatred and rage, and accelerated racialization of national politics.
As you may know, one of the responses on social media like Twitter and Facebook to the tragic grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, as well as to the countless stories of police abuse of power specifically against black men and boys, is for white people to contrast the treatment by cops.
The theme is for a white person to post their worst crime that they got away with, then attach the hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite.
For blacks and Latinos, a similar trope of #AliveWhileBlack calls for a person to post the most dangerous encounter with either the cops or a white person that they survived.
I believe in being grateful for the universe. It is one of the few entities with a shelf life beyond that of what can be bought, sold, or stolen. Moreover, our obscene privilege as Westerners is lethally obvious. But to hell with the manufactured gratitude of Thanksgiving™, wherein kindly advertising voice-overs urge us to count our table of blessings (and hopefully shop for some more). This excerpt from a missive by Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti rightly gives that sales pitch the finger:
Face it: Thanksgiving is depressing this year, and you don’t have to give thanks
We shouldn’t ask grieving people to plaster on a smile to make the rest of us feel better. Even if it’s the holidays.
This Thanksgiving, it’s difficult not to think about loss.
The shocker victory of Republican governor-elect Larry Hogan here in deep blue Maryland is a vivid example of how the Democratic Party is paying the price for having sold its base down the river. Here is WaPo on the physics of Tuesday’s gubernatorial Democratic unraveling here in the Free State:
With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, [expected winner Democratic Lieutenant Governor Anthony] Brown was winning handily in [heterogenous] Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and he was well ahead in the city of Baltimore. But turnout appeared fairly low in those populous jurisdictions. And Hogan led everywhere else, including in the Baltimore suburbs.
That is the gist of how Brown, the anointed successor to two-term Democratic governor and presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley, became the latest poster child for his party’s haplessness in the face of an auspiciously divisive Republican Party. Hogan will be only the third Republican Maryland governor since Spiro Agnew. The secret of the Dems’ undoing in this election? Inspire your base to stay at home while the Repubs fire up angry voters to stride into the voting booth and whack away at false enemies.
For the first time in American history, non-whites will make up half or more of the next generation, likely pushing Washington toward a bigger government — and the GOP better tone down their anti-government rhetoric if they want to win them, according to a top polling outfit.
At a briefing for congressional aides hosted by the moderate Republican Ripon Society, Pew Research Vice President Michael Dimock said that the trend among younger Americans is support for government programs and acceptance of Democratic Party policies.
“Their tendency is more liberal, their tendency is bigger government,” he said of so-called “millennials” born between 1979 and 1995. They will likely set the trend for the still-unnamed next generation.
It’s to our credit that racism is under attack among decent and honorable people these days…except in the National Football League, where it’s been institutionalized and traditionalzed for years.
The (finally) emerging debate over the Washington Redskins nickname is long overdue and a conversation we shouldn’t have to have. We should have long ago demanded the NFL force Dan Snyder’s play toy to find a nickname that isn’t a racist slur. The NFL, normally so conscious of being bland enough to appeal to every one, accepts a team with a racially offensive nickname and logo because of…well, tradition, don’tchaknow? Then again, this is the same league that soft-pedaled their concussion problem until the trail of broken bodies could no longer be swept under the rug.
Team owner Dan Snyder has gone out of his way to make it clear that as long as he owns the Redskins, the team will NEVER change its name. His argument centers on tradition, history, and his perception that not enough people are offended by the name to warrant changing it. This raises the obvious question of how many people need to be offended…and do those offended (among them Native Americans) count as “real” people? American tradition and history is rife with examples of racism and oppression (Uh…slavery?).
My question is why we need to perpetuate and glorify that on autumn Sunday afternoons. Why must we persist tolerating and condoning things like this that divide us along racial lines? Aren’t we supposed to be better than that?
A meeting between the Wyoming chapter of the NAACP and an organizer for the Ku Klux Klan over the weekend is believed to be the first of its kind.
The meeting between Jimmy Simmons, president of the Casper NAACP, and John Abarr, a KKK organizer from Great Falls, Mont., took place at a hotel in Casper, Wyo., under tight security, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
The Southern Poverty Law Center and the United Klans of America said Tuesday that the meeting is a first.
Abarr told The Associated Press that he met with Simmons Saturday and ended up filling out an NAACP membership form so he can get the group’s newsletters and some insight into its views. He said he paid the $30 fee to join, plus a $20 donation.
Certainly it is a different-looking society compared with 1963. A black man is president, for one thing, and young people in minority groups have an array of opportunities that their parents were limited to dreaming about…. “When you look at the places that were typically occupied by people who were not racial minorities, whether it’s the legal profession or the medical profession or major companies, there are now racial minorities in those places,” said Christopher Bracey, a law professor at George Washington University who writes on constitutional law and civil rights. “The changes are tangible. You can see it everywhere. Yes, there are still disparities, but there is no doubt there has been progress.”
One of the beautiful things about milestone anniversaries is the opportunity they provide for reflection and evaluation.
As we have said, Riley Cooper will be seeking counseling and we have excused him from all team activities. This is all new territory and we are going to evaluate this timetable every step of the way. He will meet with professionals provided by the Eagles during this period of time to better help him understand how his words have hurt so many, including his teammates.
If you haven’t heard of Riley Cooper by now…well, welcome back from Albania. Those of us here in America have found ourselves bombarded by the latest example of why drinking and testosterone don’t mix well. Caught on tape while at a Kenny Chesney concert and screaming that he wanted to “fight every nigger” there, Cooper is having a terrible, horrible, very bad time of late.
The question, in my mind at least, is whether Riley Cooper really is a racist, or whether he was guilty of letting too much alcohol do the talking for him. If you believe that alcohol lowers inhibitions and reveals a person’s true nature…well, what we have here is one badass racist. If you’re a bit more forgiving, you might just believe that Cooper, though exhibiting horrible judgment and ever worse public behavior, is at heart a good person and deserves a second chance.
Cooper, until this weekend deservedly anonymous on an Eagles roster populated by outsized personalities with checkered pasts (see Vick, Michael), is now the focus of a national debate. Do we forgive him and allow him to make good on his assertion that he’s not that person…or throw him away and cast him out of polite society forever?
“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” Obama said, during extensive and deeply personal remarks that lasted for 18 minutes. “And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away.”
Obama continued: “And I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.”