The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

October 3, 2014
by terrance
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Corporations Abandon ALEC’s Agenda, Some States Are Still Stuck With It

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt made news on Monday when he told NPR’s Diane Rheem that Google was dropping its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), because of the organization’s environmental policies — especially its climate denialism:

“Everyone understands climate change is occurring. And the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people. They’re just literally lying” Continue Reading →

October 1, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for September 30th through October 1st

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for September 30th through October 1st:

September 30, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for September 30th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for September 30th from 12:09 to 13:57:

  • 5 Habits of Highly Compassionate Men – Having compassion leads to increased happiness, freedom from gender stereotypes and better relationships with others.
  • ‘Is That Your F-ing Boyfriend? – The biggest news story in Philly for the last few days has been the alleged hate crime against a gay couple downtown by a group of twentysomethings out on the town — except Pennsylvania doesn't have a hate crime law protecting LGBTs.
  • Brooklyn Brewery war correspondents: Philip Gourevitch on coverage of Africa. (VIDEO). – Africa’s postcolonial recovery and the problem with how it’s covered.
  • Why Are So Many Black Towns Run by White City Councils? – It's not simply because blacks don't want to vote.
  • We Need Another Eric Holder – The reality of Blacks living daily fearful of an overwhelmingly white police force has not gone away. Fear of black people by white police has not gone away. Calling such things "unrest," would mean all we need in the Attorney General's office is someone who is calm. Therefore, "Guilty of being black while walking," and "Guilty of being black by driving," are issues for the next Attorney General.
  • The war on high-school history classes is a whole new level of dumb | Jeb Lund – Colorados school board and the American conservative movement in general are trying to pretend history never happened
  • Screw the national anthem – After what happened in Ferguson, I can't pretend the promise of that song extends to a black man like me
  • Single Parents Want to Be Good Parents – The growing trend of having children outside of marriage is not likely to be reversed, writes Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution, who has been studying childhood poverty for years. She has reached the conclusion that it's time to face up to that fact and help all parents become good parents. The second lesson is that parenting skills must be taught early.

September 29, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for September 29th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for September 29th from 10:51 to 11:37:

September 26, 2014
by terrance
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Demanding Justice for Dead Young Black Men

What passes for justice in police shootings, and extra-legal shootings, of young black men neither satisfies nor inspires us to “trust the system.”

In response to the epidemic of police violence that’s taken the lives of Michael Brown, John Crawford, and countless others, a coalition including Join Hands Up United, Organization for Black Struggle, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment plan a “Weekend of Resistance” in Ferguson, Missouri, October 10 – 13, to build momentum for a nationwide movement against police violence. News in three cases this week underscores the urgent need for such a movement. Continue Reading →

September 25, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for September 25th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for September 25th from 15:18 to 15:23:

September 24, 2014
by terrance
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Anger Is Still A Privilege in “Post-Racial” America

The New York Times caught hell for an article characterizing television producer Shonda Rhimes as an “angry black woman,” but anger is still privileged in “post-racial” America.

The only thing more shocking than Alessandra Stanley’s New York Times article that called Shonda Rhimes — creator of hit television shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” — an “angry black woman,” is that the piece made it into print without anyone at the New York Times realizing how offensive it would be. Stanley even described Viola Davis, star of Rhimes’ latest show “How To Get Away With Murder,” as “less classically beautiful” than lighter-skinned actresses like Kerry Washington or Halle Berry. Still, nothing raised red flags for Times editors? Not even after the “no angel” controversy?

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It’s shocking, but not surprising. Much has changed in “post-racial” America, but just as much hasn’t changed. Continue Reading →

September 23, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for September 23rd

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for September 23rd from 11:51 to 16:43:

September 22, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for September 22nd

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for September 22nd from 13:27 to 13:33:

    • GOP Defrauds Voters – The GOP is working desperately to deny the right to vote to citizens it doesn’t like. You know, poor people, black people, Hispanic people, old people, female people, especially people it believes are inclined to vote for Democrats.

 

September 19, 2014
by terrance
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Wingnut Week In Review: Return To the “Appalachian Trail”

With one bizarre Facebook post Rep. Mark Sanford (R, SC) dis-engaged his “Appalachian Trail” “soulmate,” and went from comeback kid to punchline. And that’s not even the crazy part.

Dumping someone via Facebook isn’t new. Countless teenagers do it every day. It’s just not something you’d expect from a grown man. Then again, Mark Sanford doesn’t do the expected. Back in 2009, nobody expected then South Carolina governor Mark Sanford to go MIA for more than four days over Father’s Day weekend, leaving his hapless staff to tell the media that Sanford was “hiking the Appalachian Trail.” Continue Reading →

September 18, 2014
by terrance
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Beyond Ferguson: Ending Racial Profiling In America

America must stop “following tragedy with embarrassment,” and pass the End Racial Profiling Act, before the next city that’s “one dead black teenager away from burning to the ground” catches fire.

“How many more Michael Browns will we have?”, Sen. Ben Cardin (D, Maryland) asked, at the “Ferguson and Beyond – Profiling in America” briefing on Tuesday morning. “How many more Trayvon Martins? We all know racial profiling is un-American and wrong. We also know that it is a waste of time and resources. We know it turns communities against law enforcement. But we also know it can be deadly, and therefore has to end,” Cardin said. (Full video of the briefing is available on YouTube.) Continue Reading →

September 17, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for September 17th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for September 17th from 15:18 to 15:25:

September 16, 2014
by terrance
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Young, Black, And Guilty Until Proven Innocent

The New York Times informed us that Michael Brown was “no angel.” When to be young and black is to be guilty until proven innocent, black children must be “angelic” just to be worthy of living.

The Times initially defended its “no angel” assessment of Michael Brown’s young life, which ran on the day of Brown’s funeral. National Editor Allison Mitchell said the description connected to the lead paragraph about a moment when Brown thought he saw an angel, and that the article would have been written the same way if it had been about a young white man in the same situation.

The Times eventually apologized, but the article is typical of a media pattern of treating white suspects and killers better than black victims. The pattern was so evident in the media narratives around Brown’s death, that black Twitter users responded by posting side-by-side pictures of themselves under the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, to underscore the power of the images media uses to portray black victims.

The ritual now follows every police killing — or extra-legal killing — of an unarmed black male. It starts with the formation of a narrative against the victim, as when rumors that Trayvon Martin stole the candy and iced tea found near his body spread across social media. Even video footage of Martin making his final purchase couldn’t quell rumors of his criminality. Martin’s suspension from school, marijuana use, and social media profiles became fodder to “prove” that he must have deserved to die as he did.

In Michael Brown’s case, the ritual began when Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson named Darren Wilson as the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, while simultaneously releasing video of Brown’s alleged “strong-arm robbery” at a local store moments before his death.

The construction of the narrative against Michael Brown was laid bare when the store’s owners disputed Jackson’s claims. Their attorney stated that neither the owners nor any store employee reported a robbery. (A customer inside the store called 911.) The attorney also said that any alleged theft had nothing to do with Wilson shooting and killing Michael Brown. After a barrage of criticism, Chief Jackson admitted that the alleged robbery was “not related to the initial contact” between Brown and Wilson.

Jackson said he released the video because “the press asked for it” and couldn’t withhold it indefinitely. Police came looking for the store’s surveillance video almost a week after Brown’s death, and withheld at least part of it.

Much later, the unedited surveillance video surfaced, which showed Brown appearing to pay for some items. At the register, Brown seems to realize that he doesn’t have enough money, and appears to put some items back. This prompts the cashier to step from behind the counter, apparently with Brown’s cash in hand, leading to the shoving confrontation in the video clip and still photos that Chief Jackson did release.

More recent revelations cast doubt on a narrative designed to frame Brown as a violent “thug.”

The ritual begins robbing black children of their innocence in early childhood. Research shows that people — including police officers — see black children as less innocent and less young than white children. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, showed that black boys as young as 10 are more likely than white boys to be mistaken as older, perceived as guilty, and face police violence if accused of a crime.

The school-to-prison pipeline begins in preschool, where black students are disciplined more harshly than their white classmates.

  • Though they make up 18 percent of students, black children account for 35 percent of one-time suspensions, 46 percent of multiple suspensions, and 39 percent of expulsions.
  • One in five black boys, and more than one in ten black girls have received out-of-school suspension.
  • Overall, black students are 3.5 times more likely to be expelled than white students.
  • In districts with “zero tolerance” policies, black and Hispanic students make up 45 percent of students, but 56 percent of expulsions.

Research identifies discrimination as the source of disparity in punishments, and shows that “[e]ven when they commit the exact same offense as white students, black students suffer more severe consequences.”

Michael Brown’s 98-percent-black high school seems to reflect these dismal statistics, with a suspension rate nearly 4 times the national rate of 11 percent. In 2011, nearly 45 percent of students were suspended. Against these odds, Michael Brown managed to graduate, and would have started college in a few days.

Instead, Michael Brown became just one more young black man killed by police, and posthumously judged guilty until proven “angelic.”

September 15, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for September 15th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for September 15th from 13:34 to 13:37:

September 11, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for September 11th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for September 11th from 10:33 to 12:13:

September 11, 2014
by terrance
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Repost: Gay Americans & 9/11: On A Queer Day

This is, of course, a day of remembrances. There are a handful of historic events so far-reaching that they touch just about every living person old enough to have even the vaguest understanding of their significance, and qualify as a universally shared experience — like the attacks on September 11, 2001.

If you were alive then, you probably know where you were and what you were doing when the you heard the first news reports. You probably remember the moment it dawned on you what was really happening. You remember the moment when you realized that nothing would ever be the same; when you realized that things would never be quite the same as they were when you woke up that morning. For all of us, in the span of a few minutes, life crossed over some invisible boundary that would divide our lives and our shared history into “before” and “after.” That was the moment everything became “post-9/11.”

Continue Reading →

September 10, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for September 10th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for September 10th from 15:28 to 16:52: