Lowrey: Defund the Police. Um…

Annie Lowrey, writing for The Atlantic:

America badly needs to rethink its priorities for the whole criminal-justice system, with Floyd’s death drawing urgent, national attention to the necessity for police reform. Activists, civil-rights organizations, academics, policy analysts, and politicians have drawn up a sprawling slate of policies that might help end police brutality, eliminate racist policing, improve trust between cops and the communities they work in, and lower crime levels.

A more radical option, one scrawled on cardboard signs and tagged on buildings and flooding social media, is to defund the cops.

Lowrey’s discussion of defunding police forces isn’t a call for dissolving them, but rather divesting them of the activities that lead to over-policing, over-incarceration, and the deaths of innocents. Defunding is not the way to go; the other options already on the table, also mentioned, are. We should do all of those things.

The rest of the article embodies an unflattering comparison of America’s priorities to those in our similarly-situated allies. Our culture, as exemplified by where we spend our money, is out of whack. The good news is that we can repair it.

#policing #criminalJustice #incarceration

Egger: Does it matter if Trump is a ‘real’ racist?

Andrew Egger, writing for The Bulwark:

You see how ludicrous the proposition is by how it requires racism to be defined down to an impossibly narrow set of attitudes and behaviors: If he’s such a racist, why isn’t he calling for genocide or burning crosses on the White House lawn? As if anything short of marching in a tiki torch parade doesn’t count as real racism. 

But let’s posit that Trump is not, in this sense, a “real” racist; that his use of racist tropes and racially inflammatory rhetoric are only political maneuvering that he thinks will give his poll numbers a jolt. The question is: What difference does it make?

Whether racism is overt or inferred by its result: What’s the difference?

#Bulwark #AndrewEgger #trump

Kaepernick, Nike, and Betsy Ross’s flag

Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox:

The sneaker was supposed to go on sale this week for $140, and Nike had already shipped it to retailers when it made the decision. Kaepernick took issue with the sneaker’s design, which featured 13 white stars in a circle, referencing a Revolutionary War-era version of the American flag (commonly known as the Betsy Ross flag). This early version of the flag, he argued, is pulled from the era of slavery and doesn’t warrant celebration.

Kaepernick’s sincere, years-long public rejection of overt and systemic American racism is rightly applauded, but this is an example of taking a good idea too far. That an unrelated symbol of early America emerged from the long era of white oppression of blacks is no reason to reject it. We’re not talking statues of Civil War heroes or Lee’s battle flag, here. The Ross flag is in no way connected to white supremacy.

The first symbol of American independence and unity, the Ross flag was also the first to recognizably survive into the modern era. It should be part of any celebration of the nation’s founding.

Kaepernick’s rejection of the flag from a product he endorses is his business. Nike’s rejection at his urging is not only ridiculous, but it’s also bad business, to boot. The shoes were already in retailers’ hands.

#Kaepernick #racism

Serwer: The illiberal right throws a tantrum

Adam Serwer–The Atlantic:

Undetectable in the dispute on the right is any acknowledgment of the criticisms of liberal democracy by those who have been fighting for their fundamental rights in battles that are measured in decades and even centuries; that the social contract implicitly excluded them from the very rights white Christian men have been able to assert from the beginning. Perhaps to do so would be to acknowledge the fundamental immaturity underlying the American Orbánists’ critique: that what they describe as a crisis of liberal democracy is really just them not getting exactly what they want when they want it.

Smart analysis of the religious Right’s shit-fit over the evaporation of white men’s long-running prerogatives.

America’s social order is changing, both by inclusion and attrition. No wonder the far Right rails against immigration, justice and equality for marginalized people, and even learned scientific knowledge. They attempt nothing short of the triumph of ignorance; that’s the only means available for preserving something whose time has passed.

#americanConservatism

Legacies of shame

Joshua Zeitz–Politico:

In Germany, you won’t see neo-Nazis converging on a monument to Reinhard Heydrich or Adolf Hitler, because no such statues exist. The country long ago came to grips with the full weight of its history. But you’ll find Nazis and Klansmen in Virginia, circling a statue of Robert E. Lee, a traitor who raised arms against his own country in the defense of white supremacy.  

How do we explain to the descendants of his victims—fallen Union soldiers and widows, and so many million slaves—that Robert E. Lee doesn’t deserve the same eternal infamy as Eichmann or Heydrich?

America has yet to honestly face the heinous practice and legacy of its white supremacy.

#whiteSupremacy #confederacy #treason #lee

Privileged

Kyle Korver, The Players’ Tribune:

What I’m realizing is, no matter how passionately I commit to being an ally, and no matter how unwavering my support is for NBA and WNBA players of color….. I’m still in this conversation from the privileged perspective of opting in to it. Which of course means that on the flip side, I could just as easily opt out of it. Every day, I’m given that choice — I’m granted that privilege — based on the color of my skin.

Pitch-perfect, Korver’s essay is perhaps the most lucid explanation of white privilege by a white guy I’ve encountered. Every paragraph conveys self-aware, first-hand understanding of the culture of whiteness in America.

If you’ve any doubt about the systemic nature of bigotry or the long-term effects of four-hundred years of ethnic-based mistreatment, you owe yourself the education of reading this. Everyone else should read it, too.

I, like Korver, believe that.

#NBA #privilege #bigotry #race

Abrams: Identity politics strengthens democracy

Stacey Abrams, writing in Foreign Affairs magazine:

The marginalized did not create identity politics: their identities have been forced on them by dominant groups, and politics is the most effective method of revolt.

Abrams’ cogent essay goes to the heart of contemporary progressive politics. People long relegated to lesser-class status in American culture, employment, and economics have, at last, reached critical political mass. Witness their diverse representation among 2019’s incoming Democratic House majority and in statehouses across the country.

The hypocrisy, now, of criticizing these community’s embrace of the identities long held against them represents a last gasp as the wave of minority status laps over the old guard’s heads. We are witnessing their fearful recognition of the rising brown wave in American politics, a movement backed by inexorable demographic shift.

Abrams’ essay counters popular conservative contentions point by point. It’s worth a read.

#identityPolitics #StaceyAbrams #progressive