The list of what is racist keeps on growing. As Karol Markowicz writes, "Suddenly, everything is racist."
And, though you may not have noticed, this last week was an especially racist one.It's almost as if the more we improve on race relations, the more some people feel the need to create ever shifting signs of racism, even saying "All lives matter."
First, the Web site Racked.com, generally a shopping site, took on the issue of racism on Instagram. Not racist images that people might post on Instagram, mind you, but the Instagram filters themselves.
Yes, the filters that we put on our pictures to give our life experiences the necessary rosy hue are racist, because the filters allegedly lighten skin tone.
A test of the filters on my own pale, freckled skin found the opposite to be true for me. Perpetua, Hudson, X-Pro II, Lo-Fi — all significantly darken my skin while only Reyes and Sierra lighten it.
Then, at a New Orleans City Council meeting, Rudy Mills, head of a group called Remove Racist Images, pushed for removal of the fleur-de-lis throughout the city.
The fleur-de-lis, an image of a lily, was originally a symbol of the French monarchy and is closely associated with Louisiana in general and New Orleans specifically.
It’s the logo for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and was a symbol of strength for the city after Hurricane Katrina.
It’s been used for evil, sure — runaway slaves in Louisiana were branded with it — but it has a storied history and remains in many coats of arms throughout Europe.
Since then, writers in The Washington Post blamed Amy Schumer’s stand-up comedy for Dylann Roof’s murderous assault on a black church in Charleston; fictional civil-rights hero Atticus Finch is newly racist in “Go Set a Watchman,” Harper Lee’s follow-up to “To Kill a Mockingbird”; Kylie Jenner was accused of racism for her cornrow hairdo and Jimmy Carter declared that white people feel superior to people of color.
The fact is, America has come quite far on the issue of race.
When 87 percent of the population supports interracial marriage, up from 4 percent in 1958, that’s an undeniable and significant cultural shift.
It's sad that this even needed to be written, but a professor of history at NYU, Thomas J. Sugrue, has an essay in the Washington Post answering those pundits who slam the South as a region, blaming the South for our nation's social problems. Sugrue reminds us that discrimination against blacks was not confined to the South.
These crude regional stereotypes ignore the deep roots such social ills have in our shared national history and culture. If, somehow, the South became its own country, the Northeast would still be a hub of racially segregated housing and schooling, the West would still be a bastion of prejudicial laws that put immigrants and black residents behind bars at higher rates than their white neighbors and the Midwest would still be full of urban neighborhoods devastated by unemployment, poverty and crime. How our social problems manifest regionally is a matter of degree, not kind — they infect every region of the country.We can still see the results of those discriminatory practices today.
In fact, many of the racial injustices we associate with the South are actually worse in the North. Housing segregation between black and white residents, for instance, is most pervasive above the Mason-Dixon line. Of America’s 25 most racially segregated metropolitan areas, just five are in the South; Northern cities — Detroit, Milwaukee and New York — top the list. Segregation in Northern metro areas has declined a bit since 1990, but an analysis of 2010 census data found that Detroit’s level of segregation, for instance, is nearly twice as high as Charleston’s.
The division between black and white neighborhoods in the North is a result of a poisonous mix of racist public policies and real estate practices that reigned unchecked for decades. Until the mid-20th century, federal homeownership programs made it difficult for black Americans to get mortgages and fueled the massive growth of whites-only suburbs. Real estate agents openly discriminated against black aspiring homeowners, refusing to show them houses in predominately white communities.
When all else failed, white Northerners attacked blacks who attempted to cross the color line, using tactics we typically associate with the Jim Crow South. They threw bricks through the windows of their black neighbors’ homes, firebombed an integrated apartment building and beat black residents in the streets. In Detroit, to name one example, whites launched more than 200 attacks on black homeowners between 1945 and 1965. In Levittown, Pa., hundreds of angry whites gathered in front of the home of the first black family to move there and threw rocks through the windows. Racists burned crosses in the yards of the few white neighbors who welcomed the new family. That violence occurred in 1957, the same year whites in Little Rock attacked black students integrating Central High School, yet it’s that story — of racial bias in the South — that dominates our narrative of America’s civil rights struggle.
Economic segregation is most severe in America’s Northern metropolitan areas, as well, with Milwaukee; Hartford, Conn.; Philadelphia; and Detroit leading large cities nationwide, according to an analysis of 2010 census data by the Atlantic. White suburbanites across the North — even in Bill and Hillary Clinton’s adopted home town, Chappaqua, N.Y. — have fought the construction of affordable housing in their neighborhoods, trying to keep out “undesirables” who might threaten their children and undermine their property values. The effects of that segregation are devastating. Where you live in modern America determines your access to high-quality jobs (which are mostly in suburban places), healthy food (many urban areas are food deserts) and, perhaps most important, educational opportunities.Yes, of course, so much of the South's history is tainted by how blacks were treated under slavery and Jim Crow. But it is ahistorical to think that hateful racial policies were limited to the South and then to turn from that assumption to blaming the South today for social problems from racism to poverty to obesity as some pundits Sugrue points to have indeed argued.
Education remains separate and unequal nearly everywhere in the United States, but Confederate-flag-waving Southerners aren’t responsible for the most racially divided schools. That title goes to New York, where 64 percent of black students attend schools with few, if any, white students, according to a recent report by the Civil Rights Project. In fact, the Northeast is the only region where the percentage of black students in extremely segregated schools — those where at least 90 percent of students are minorities — is higher than it was in the 1960s. Schools in the South, on the other hand, saw the segregation of black students drop 56 percent between 1968 and 2011.
As someone who grew up in the Land of Lincoln but has lived most of my adult life in North Carolina, I have learned that racism can exist anywhere and the South of today shouldn't be blamed for the crimes of an earlier era. Northerners should have no attitude of special sanctity just because they are from the North. Rather we should remember the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln who established in his famed 1854 Peoria speech that he could not claim a special morality being from the North because he would likely have had different attitudes if he were from the South.
Before proceeding, let me say I think I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist amongst them, they would not introduce it. If it did now exist amongst us, we should not instantly give it up. This I believe of the masses north and south. Doubtless there are individuals, on both sides, who would not hold slaves under any circumstances; and others who would gladly introduce slavery anew, if it were out of existence. We know that some southern men do free their slaves, go north, and become tip-top abolitionists; while some northern ones go south, and become most cruel slave-masters.If you want to learn more about this pivotal speech that marked Lincoln's return to politics as he responded to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, read Lewis Lehrman's excellent book, Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning Point. I highly recommend it.
When southern people tell us they are no more responsible for the origin of slavery, than we; I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that the institution exists; and that it is very difficult to get rid of it, in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying. I surely will not blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself.
I guess that Secretary of State Kerry thinks the best way to represent the U.S. at the negotiating table is to sit still while Iranians shouted at him. And, apparently, it worked...at least for the Iranians. They forced Obama and Kerry to agree to lifting the ban on the sale of conventional weapons and ballistic missiles. All this for the pretense that the Iranian nuclear program will no longer be of danger to the region. However, as Amir Taheri points out, Obama and Kerry and other American leaders from Carter on have never understood the Iranian regime.
One key reason for misunderstanding the nature of the present regime in Tehran is the failure to acknowledge that, for the past four decades, Iran has suffered from a Jekyll-and-Hyde split personality.
As a people and a culture, Iran is immensely attractive.
Valerie Jarett, reputed to be Obama’s closest adviser, remembers Shiraz, the Iranian cultural capital and the Florence of the East, where she was born and grew up. Before the revolution, Shiraz, with its breathtakingly beautiful architecture, was a city of gardens, wine and music with an annual international art festival. How could one not love Iran through it?
Today, however, Shiraz, where John Kerry’s sister worked for years, is a scene of public hangings and floggings, with its prisons filled with political and religious dissidents.
The film star Sean Penn, acting as a part-time reporter, visited Iran and wrote laudatory pieces. He saw Isfahan, the great former capital of Iran, as something of a paradise on earth. Like Clinton he was impressed by “incredibly progressive” people he met. What he ignored was that the Islamic Republic has been top of the list in the world for the number of executions and political prisoners.
Another movie star, George Clooney, praises Iranian cinema as “the only original one” in the world. But he ignores the fact that the films he admires, seen in festivals in the West, are never shown inside Iran itself and that many Iranian cineastes are in jail or in exile.
The pop star Madonna sings the ghazals of Persian Sufi poet Rumi and admires Iran. She ignores the fact that under the Khomeinist regime, Sufis are assassinated or in jail or forced into silence.
Secretary of State John Kerry admires Iran because he knows it through his Iranian son-in-law, who hails from a pre-revolution middle-class family. He doesn’t know it is precisely such families that suffer most from Khomeinist terror and repression; this is why many fled into exile.
As a nation-state, Iran has no problems with anybody. As a vehicle for the Khomeinist ideology it has problems with everybody, starting with the Iranian people. The Khomeinist regime makes no secret of its intense hatred for Iranian culture, which it claims has roots in “the age of ignorance” (jahiliyyah).
To admire this regime because of Iranian culture is like admiring Hitler for Goethe and Beethoven and praising Stalin for Pushkin and Tchaikovsky.
This regime has executed tens of thousands of Iranians, driven almost 6 million into exile, and deprived the nation of its basic freedoms. It has also killed more Americans, often through surrogates, than al Qaeda did on 9/11. Not a single day has passed without this regime holding some American hostages.
Iran as a nation is a solid friend of America. Iran as a vehicle for the Khomeinist revolution is an eternal enemy of “The Great Satan.”
I'm with Ace about Trump's supposed qualifications for the presidency.
3. And the problem is not just this comment; the problem is that we see now that this is a habit. Someone claimed to me yesterday that Trump had "balls." I countered: He doesn't have balls, he has Money -- he's a rich guy surrounded by favor-seekers and yes-men who hasn't been contradicted since he first spat the silver spoon out of his mouth. He has the arrogance that college athletes get sometimes, that lead some of them to do horrible things -- the arrogance of knowing there will never be consequences.Trump is an egotistical, narcissistic jerk who thinks being rich is a sign that he's more intelligent than anyone else. That's why he has to brag over and over again about how rich he is and stick his name on everything. Our greatest leaders have had a streak of humility. They don't claim that they're religious and then state that they've never had to ask God for forgiveness.
I don't call that balls. Balls -- courage -- is taking on an important fight knowing there will be consequences.
This is just an elderly rich kid with a big mouth.
4. People might say, "But he can learn." I disagree. For this reason only: In order to learn, one must wish to learn; and to wish to learn, of course, one must believe that there is something important yet to be learned, something that isn't already known to one's Big, Throbbing Wonderful Ego.
To wish to learn is an act of self-abasement; it is a brave act saying "I am incomplete, I am less than I should be."
Very egotistical men do not like learning. Learning is for the weak, or the young.
Trump went to Wharton, he's always eager to tell you; he did his learning then for a couple of years. He's all done now. Now, he will be giving lessons.
5. And that last bit -- the part about a man who has little knowledge of government, except in the favor-bank sector of it -- who actively despises learning about it, well, that could be a problem.
We just had one Know-Nothing Know-It-All Princeling as President; I'm not sure I'd like to see a different variation of the breed.
"People are so shocked when they find ... out I am Protestant. I am Presbyterian. And I go to church and I love God and I love my church," he said.I'm not a Christian, but as far as I understand it, that is not the attitude that imbues the Christian faith. I wonder how Christian conservatives take his description of his beliefs. I know I set an unfair standard, but I measure potential leaders against one of the men I admire most in history, Abraham Lincoln, and the contrast in the men's humility is great. Ace is right. We've have one egotistical president today who is convinced that anyone who disagrees with or ciriticizes him is unprincipled and we don't need another one who thinks that anyone who criticizes him is an idiot.
Moderator Frank Luntz asked Trump whether he has ever asked God for forgiveness for his actions.
"I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so," he said. "I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't."
Trump said that while he hasn't asked God for forgiveness, he does participate in Holy Communion.
"When I drink my little wine -- which is about the only wine I drink -- and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed," he said. "I think in terms of 'let's go on and let's make it right.'"
It appears that Chris Rock made a similar joke about McCain in 2008 during the election in which Rock supported Obama.
“He a war hero. He a war hero,” Rock said of McCain. “He a war hero that got CAPTURED. There’s a lot of guys in jail that got captured. I don’t want to vote for nobody that got captured. I want to vote for the m*****f***** that got way.”Charming. But just because Al Franken and Chris Rock have made similar tasteless jokes and other Democrats didn't get microphones stuck in their faces to answer questions about whether they approved or rejected such lame comedy bits doesn't absolve Donald Trump. Trump glories in this sort of attention and notoriety. That might be fun for voters who are angry at politicians, but it's no way to win an election.
T. Becket Adams notes the quite different reactions among the media as they reported on two different horrific killings.
Newsrooms demonstrated remarkable caution this week and avoided speculation about the motives of Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, who went on a shooting spree in Chattanooga, Tenn., killing four U.S. Marines and injuring several more.That was quite a different reaction to the Chapel Hill shooting. There are times when the media are willing to wait for evidence and other times when evidence is not necessary. Funny how that works.
The same cannot be said, however, for how the press reacted in February when three Arab-American teens were shot and killed in Chapel Hill, N.C., over what turned out to be a parking dispute. In that case, many in media appeared to suggest that the motive was anti-Muslim sentiment.
But when news broke Thursday that there was a mass casualty event in Chattanooga, the media was careful not to jump to conclusions based on Abdulazeez's name or the fact that he was a naturalized citizen from Kuwait.
"I know we don't know the motive of this young man," MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell said during a broadcast shortly after the attack.
CNN national security analyst Tom Fuentes was also unwilling Thursday after the shooting to draw conclusions based on Abdulazeez's name, saying that he's not entirely sure whether the shooter was a Muslim.
"First of all, John, I know what the name sounds like," Fuentes said. "But we don't know it's a Muslim name. We know it's an Arabic name. We don't know what this individual was believing in, and that's what they'll be trying to determine."
CNN's Don Lemon added separately later that evening, "We still don't really know a motive here."
On Friday, NBC News' Savannah Guthrie said, "It's too early to know, exactly, what his motive is."
CNN's Chris Cuomo meanwhile said that same morning that, "we may never know the exact motive" of the Chattanooga shooter.
The press was also careful to avoid speculation over why he had targeted military recruiting centers,
In case the Planned Parenthood story has already sunk below people's notice, David Harsanyi makes some salient points.
In America, it’s illegal to donate money to a candidate without first reporting it to the government. Even then, if you give more than is permissible, you could end up in jail. In this country, you can’t add trans fats to your foods or smoke cigarettes in your own bar. Here, the Little Sisters of the Poor can’t tell the state they’d rather not buy condoms, and bakers can’t tell a couple they’d rather not participate in their wedding.And you wouldn't know it from the media, but adult and umbilical-cord blood stem cells have proven to be much more efficacious for medical procedures.
But it’s completely legal to kill an unborn baby for convenience and then sell its parts for cash....
If this were a video of some product researchers talking about the same process but describing the vivisection of a monkey or a cat for organ harvesting instead, most Americans would be justly repulsed. Yet because this is Planned Parenthood, an organization fulfilling its eugenicist founder’s goal of population control, it will be treated as just another dispute in the culture war, completely devoid of scientific and moral context.
Because this is Planned Parenthood, most of the media will frame this as a political tug-of-war rather than explore the politics and ethics of allowing Americans to terminate a life and then harvest organs. Some in the media will probably have a difficult time even comprehending why anyone would deem this much of a story at all. You’ll recall how a number of politicians and reporters struggled to explain the distinction between a run-of-the-mill late-term abortionist and Kermit Gosnell. (Answer: One has a license.)
....How many Americans are OK with this practice? We should find out. Liberals never have a problem making expansive arguments on emotional grounds. The single woman without health care tells us all we need to know about Obamacare; the lone shooter tells us all we need to know about guns laws, etc. There is simply no reason that Nucatola should not be on television ads everywhere, sipping her wine and intimately describing how abortionists squash the life out of unborn babies for money. How many Americans would accept this policy as normal?
“The other part of it,” he says, “is that I don’t think they have caught on with the more recent science. They are still working off this mindset of easier growing tissue, faster growing tissue and that’s why they’re looking for fetal rather than adult stem cells.”
“If you look at the published results, whether it’s adult stem cells and then comparing to fetal stem cells or to embryonic stem cells, when we talk about treating patients, adult stem cells are the gold standard,” Prentice continues. “And virtually all success — over a million patients now — is due to adult stem cells.”
Jonah Goldberg applies John Rawls' idea of a "veil of ignorance" to abortion.
In A Theory of Justice, he offered a thought experiment. Imagine you and a group of other people were in a kind of metaphysical limbo, tasked with designing a society from scratch. But you exist behind what Rawls called a “veil of ignorance.” You will be “born” — “placed” is probably a better word — into that society, but you don’t know where on the socio-economic ladder you will land. You don’t know whether you will be born a man or a woman, black or white, young or old.As Goldberg points out, liberals embrace this philosophical argument because it provides a foundation for redistributive justice. But not for abortion.
How would you, and others in this “original position,” want society to be arranged? The answer, according to Rawls: as fairly as possible.
Since you don’t know where you’ll land, you’d want to reduce the chances that you’d be born with a disadvantage.
But where the Rawlsian “original position” really falls apart for me is on the question of abortion. Practically, the only true “original position” isn’t in some hypothetical realm, but in the womb. And the first choice we would all have from behind the veil of ignorance is to be born in the first place....
Rawls was explicitly in favor of abortion in the first trimester and more vague about later-term abortions of the sort practiced by Gosnell and described by Nucatola. The abortion industry prefers to talk about abortions that do away with unwanted “clumps of cells” or clear out “uterine contents.” But the beings Nucatola sells for parts have hearts and lungs and livers. Clumps of cells do not.
If I were living behind the veil of ignorance and was afforded the opportunity to be eliminated in utero, I’d probably opt for getting it over with as soon as possible, before I developed pain receptors, never mind salable parts. But, again, I’d first choose to be born. In that sense, you could say I’m pro-choice.
Ashe Schow points out that the extremist approach taken today regarding sexual assault on college campuses has taken the approach that "It's better 10 innocent persons suffer than one guilty escape." That is their justification for ignoring evidence and due process.
As a matter of principle, innocent people should never be falsely accused, and rapists should always be punished — and hopefully removed from the population rather than simply expelled from a university. That isn't such an extreme idea. But in the current culture surrounding campus sexual assault, it is. Point out the holes in an accuser's story? You're a "rape apologist." Suggest that accused students be granted their constitutional right to due process? Get ready to be accused of being "pro-rape."
Michael Barone explains how Hillary's approach to the economy is based on the assumptions from 1947, the year she was born.
But laced throughout the sterile verbiage is an assumption that was more widely shared by policy elites and ordinary American voters in 1947, the year Hillary Clinton was born, than it is today, 68 years later. That is the assumption that government is capable of solving just about every problem.
You can understand why that confidence was strong in Clinton's early years. The United States had just won a world war and was facing not the widely predicted resumption of the Depression of the 1930s but the surging postwar prosperity that is still fondly remembered by many.
"We must drive steady income growth," Clinton said, as if that were as simple as popping those new automatic transmission shift levers into "D." "Let's build those faster broadband networks." Which private firms were doing until a Federal Communications Commission network neutrality ruling demanded by Barack Obama. We must provide "quality, affordable child care," as if government were good at this.
"Other trends need to change," Clinton said, including "quarterly capitalism," stock buybacks and "cut-and-run shareholders who act more like old-time corporate raiders." This sounds like a call to return to the behavior of dominant big businesses in the early postwar years, when they worked in tandem with big government and big labor — and faced little foreign competition or market discipline.
As for new growing businesses, Clinton hailed the "on-demand or so-called 'gig economy,' " but said it raises "hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future." She endorsed the Obama extension of overtime to $50,000-plus employees and said "we have to get serious about supporting union workers."
In other words, let's try to slam the growing flexible economy into the straitjacket of the rigid regulations and the union contracts of half a century ago. Everybody should punch a time clock, work the same number of hours, in accordance with thousands of pages of detailed work rules. That template hasn't produced much economic growth since the two postwar decades. But it would siphon a lot of money via union dues from the private sector to the Democratic Party.
On top of that, Clinton would expand paid family days and offer more sick leave, increased overtime pay and an ever higher minimum wage — measures that would tend to subsidize or produce non-work in an economy that has the lowest workforce participation in nearly 40 years. She would make "investments in cleaner renewable energy" — Solyndra? — and spend billions on universal pre-kindergarten even though researchers (including the Obama Department of Health and Human Services) say it has no lasting benefit.
Clinton concluded by asking some interesting questions. "How do we respond to technological change in a way that creates more good jobs than it displaces and destroys?" And "what are the best ways of nurturing successful startups outside the successful corridors, like Silicon Valley?"
"We" presumably means government, with the assumption that centralized experts can guide others to maximize production and innovation. There was some reason to believe that in 1947, when government had spurred technical innovation (the atom bomb). There's little reason to believe it if you look at the recent performance of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Personnel Management or healthcare.gov.
The problem with Clinton's "paleoliberalism" (columnist David Brooks's term) is that centralized planning just doesn't work. Government is increasingly (political scientist Steven Teles's term) a "kludgeocracy."
And Hillary Clinton's campaign is so uptight about her appearances is that they won't let her supporters talk to the media.
"Here's what struck me," said Susan Page of USA Today, "when I read the coverage in the Des Moines Register this morning. Jennifer Jacobs, who's been on your show, was covering this last night. Big demonstrations outside of young people for O'Malley and Hillary Clinton. She went up to the Clinton supporters -- these are protesters for Clinton -- and they were told they were not allowed to [speak to] a reporter."Ya think? Maybe they know the supporters can't answer questions about Hillary's many lies. Or maybe they don't want them to talk about the disappointing turnout. If the media think that they are being handcuffed now from full coverage of the Clinton campaign, perhaps they might ponder what it would be like if she were in the White House.
Page continued, "Now, why in the world would the campaign tell their own supporters who came out to campaign in favor Hillary Clinton ... these are the young people, college kids, for Hillary, and they've been told they can't talk to reporters. Why in the world would you do that?
"This raises some warning flags for Hillary Clinton campaign that is trying to control their supporters."
Saleno Zito has a perceptive column analyzing the appeal of both Trump and Sanders.
There is a disturbance in American politics. But no one in the political class seems to be pinpointing the correct source.Though, if you're angry at government and the nation's leaders, I don't see how Bernie Sanders is the answer unless your main anger is at the elites of the Democratic Party deciding things for you.
Donald Trump gets all of the credit for it from journalists, pundits and academics. They could not be more wrong.
They are looking only at the surface, seeing the response to his harangues as an affirmation of the man. If they looked beyond the cartoonish image of Trump, they would understand that the true disturbance is the frustration of Americans, not the bluster of one man.
The same goes for the surge by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont against Hillary Clinton on the Democrats' side. Clinton's other competitors — Virginia's Jim Webb, a former U.S. senator and Navy secretary, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley — are running deliberate campaigns, but they don't reflect the fire and unrest of voters on the center-left.
It is always remarkable to witness experts not understanding the field in which they are experts; even more remarkable, they still do not recognize the frustration of the masses, despite the unsettling wave elections of 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2014 that vividly affirmed populist movements against both political parties' establishments.
Americans are just tired of it all. Tired of no one speaking honestly to them, tired of being told they cannot speak honestly.
Think about this: For two administrations, Democrats, Republicans and independents effectively have been told to hold their tongues. During the Bush administration, you were unpatriotic if you criticized the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; during the Obama administration, you're a racist if you criticize the president or his policies.
And don't even think about expressing your values if those are outside the elite's standard of everyone deserving equality and fairness (unless, of course, you disagree with that elitist viewpoint, in which case hatred and character destruction are your reward).
And for something different, enjoy Justin Halpern's imaginings of Mark Cuban's email inbox.