Tuesday, June 30, 2020
[Podcaster Rima] Fadlallah says that this is more than just using a shawarma to represent Arab Americans, but it's about the microaggressions that she feels are constantly targeted to the community. [Fellow podcaster Yasmeen] Kadouh said that Arabs in the country deal with misrepresentation and identity erasure every day, and now it's at home.
"The place that we call home and the place that houses our traditions and our community should not be the place that offends us in a way where we feel like our identities are being made fun of," Kadouh said.
Monday, June 29, 2020
“Do you even know the history of that statue?” [African-American tour company owner Don] Folden demanded, holding court after a fiery speech.
No, they don't. And even after you educate them, they still don't care. There are some pristine moments of actual white privilege chronicled in the article, so make sure to read the whole thing.
Not that education truly matters in this. You are dealing with emoting solipsists who think they have reached the pinnacle of enlightenment. Literally nothing else matters: facts, the experiences and struggles of others, the bloody examples of history, none of it.
They shriek, therefore they are.
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Friday, June 26, 2020
Memory is always about the politics of the present, but the righteous present is not always right.
Do not tear down this monument. I fully understand that protests are not forums for complexity; current demonstrations are the results of justifiable passion and outrage. It is reasonable to clear our landscape of public commemoration of the failed, four-year slaveholders’ rebellion to sustain white supremacy known as the Confederacy, even if it doesn’t erase our history. But the Freedmen’s Memorial is another matter. For those contemplating the elimination of this monument, including D.C.’s delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), please consider the people who created it and what it meant for their lives in a century not our own. We ought not try to purify their past and present for our needs.
A huge parade involving nearly every black organization in the city preceded the dedication of the monument on April 14, 1876. The procession included cornet bands, marching drum corps, youth clubs in colorful uniforms and fraternal orders. Horse-drawn carriages transported master of ceremonies and Howard University law school dean, John Mercer Langston, and the orator of the day, Frederick Douglass, a resident of that neighborhood. Representatives of the entire U.S. government sat in the front rows at the ceremony; the occasion had been declared a federal holiday. President Ulysses S. Grant, members of his Cabinet, members of the House and Senate and justices of the Supreme Court all attended.
The $20,000 used to build the monument had been raised among black Americans, most of them former slaves. A former slave woman, Charlotte Scott, had donated the first $5. The sculptor, Thomas Ball, lived and worked in Italy. The model for the kneeling slave, Archer Alexander — a former slave — was photographed numerous times and had his pictures sent to Ball. Ball believed he depicted Alexander as an “agent in his own resistance,” an assumption of course roundly debated to this day.
. . .
I think Bright's argument that we need more monuments is a superb one, and worth implementing. And in-housing it for American artists is ideal. I wish that had been done for the King Memorial, whose Chinese origins are obvious in a stern, distant sculpture more fitting for a Maximum Leader.Rather than take down this monument to Lincoln and emancipation, create a commission that will engage new artists to represent the story of black freedom from one generation to the next. Let today’s imaginations take flight. Perhaps commission a statue of Douglass himself delivering this magnificent speech. So much new learning can take place by the presence of both past and present. As a nation, let’s replace a landscape strewn with Confederate symbols with memorialization of emancipation. Tearing down the Freedmen’s Memorial would be a terrible start for that epic process.
Thursday, June 25, 2020
For the first time in the history of our people, and in the history of the whole American people, we join in this high worship, and march conspicuously in the line of this time-honored custom. First things are always interesting, and this is one of our first things. It is the first time that, in this form and manner, we have sought to do honor to an American great man, however deserving and illustrious. I commend the fact to notice; let it be told in every part of the Republic; let men of all parties and opinions hear it; let those who despise us, not less than those who respect us, know that now and here, in the spirit of liberty, loyalty, and gratitude, let it be known everywhere, and by everybody who takes an interest in human progress and in the amelioration of the condition of mankind, that, in the presence and with the approval of the members of the American House of Representatives, reflecting
the general sentiment of the country; that in the presence of that august body, the American Senate, representing the highest intelligence and the calmest judgment of the country; in presence of the Supreme Court and Chief-Justice of the United States, to whose decisions we all patriotically bow; in the presence and under the steady eye of the honored and trusted President of the United States, with the members of his wise and patriotic Cabinet, we, the colored people, newly emancipated and rejoicing in our blood-bought freedom, near the close of the first century in the life of this Republic, have now and here unveiled, set apart, and dedicated a monument of enduring granite and bronze, in every line, feature, and figure of which the men of this generation may read, and those of after-coming generations may read,something of the exalted character and great works of Abraham Lincoln,the first martyr President of the United States.. . .
Truth is proper and beautiful at all times and in all places, and it is never more proper and beautiful in any case than when speaking of a great public man whose example is likely to be commended for honor and imitation long after his departure to the solemn shades, the silent continents of eternity. It must be admitted, truth compels me to admit, even here in the presence of the monument we have erected to his memory, Abraham Lincoln was not, in the fullest sense of the word, either our man or our model. In his interests, in his associations, in his habits of thought, and in his prejudices, he was a white man.He was pre-eminently the white man's President, entirely devoted to the welfare of white men. He was ready and willing at any time during the first years of his administration to deny, postpone, and sacrifice the rights of humanity in the colored people to promote the welfare of the white people of this country. In all his education and feeling he was an American of the Americans. He came into the Presidential chair upon one principle alone, namely, opposition to the extension of slavery. His arguments in furtherance of this policy had their motive and mainspring in his patriotic devotion to the interests of his own race.
To protect, defend, and perpetuate slavery in the States where it existed Abraham Lincoln was not less ready than any other President to draw the sword of the nation. He was ready to execute all the supposed constitutional guarantees of the United States Constitution in favor of the slave system anywhere inside the slave States. He was willing to pursue, recapture,and send back the fugitive slave to his master, and to suppress a slave rising for liberty, though his guilty master were already in arms against the Government. The race to which we belong were not the special objects of his consideration.Knowing this, I concede to you, my white fellow-citizens, a pre-eminence in this worship at once full and supreme. First, midst, and last, you and yours were the objects of his deepest affection and his most ernest solicitude. You are the children of Abraham Lincoln. We are at best only his step-children; children by adoption, children by force of circumstances and necessity. To you it especially belongs to sound his praises, to preserve and perpetuate his memory, to multiply his statues, to hang his pictures high upon your walls, and commend his example, for to you he was a great and glorious friend and benefactor.Instead of supplanting you at this altar, we would exhort you to build high his monuments; let them be of the most costly material, of the most cunning workmanship; let their forms be symmetrical, beautiful, and perfect; let their bases be upon solid rocks, and their summits lean against the unchanging blue, overhanging sky, and let them endure forever! But while in the abundance of your wealth, and in the fulness of your just and patriotic devotion, you do all this, we entreat you to despise not the humble offering we this day unveil to view; for while Abraham Lincoln saved for you a country, he delivered us from a bondage, according to Jefferson, one hour of which was worse than ages of the oppression your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose.Fellow-citizens, ours is no new-born zeal and devotion--merely a thing of this moment. The name of Abraham Lincoln was near and dear to our hearts in the darkest and most perilous hours of the Republic. We were no more ashamed of him when shrouded in clouds of darkness, of doubt, and defeat than when we saw him crowned with victory, honor,and glory. Our faith in him was often taxed and strained to the uttermost, but it never failed.When he tarried long in the mountain; when he strangely told us that we were the cause of the war; when he still more strangely told us to leave the land in which we were born; when he refused to employ our arms in defence of the Union; when, after accepting our services as colored soldiers, he refused to retaliate our murder and torture as colored prisoners; when he told us he would save the Union if he could with slavery; when he revoked the Proclamation of Emancipation of General Frémont; when he refused to remove the popular commander of the Army of the Potomac, in the days of its inaction and defeat, who was more zealous in his efforts to protect slavery than to suppress rebellion; when we saw all this, and more, we were at times grieved, stunned, and greatly bewildered; but our hearts believed while they ached and bled. Nor was this, even at that time, a blind and unreasoning superstition.Despite the mist and haze that surrounded him; despite the tumult, the hurry, and confusion of the hour, we were able to take a comprehensive view of Abraham Lincoln,and to make reasonable allowance for the circumstances of his position.We saw him, measured him, and estimated him; not by stray utterances to injudicious and tedious delegations, who often tried his patience; not by isolated facts torn from their connection; not by any partial and imperfect glimpses, caught at inopportune moments; but by a broad survey, in the light of the stern logic of great events, and in view of that divinity which shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will, we came to the conclusion that the hour and the man of our redemption had somehow met in the person of Abraham Lincoln.It mattered little to us what language he might employ on special occasions; it mattered little to us, when we fully knew him, whether he was swift or slow in his movements; it was enough for us that Abraham Lincoln was at the head of a great movement, and was in living and earnest sympathy with that movement, which, in the nature of things, must go on until slavery should be utterly and forever abolished in the United States. When, therefore, it shall be asked what we have to do with the memory of Abraham Lincoln, or what Abraham Lincoln had to do with us, the answer is ready, full, and complete.
Though he loved Caesar less than Rome, though the Union was more to him than our freedom or our future, under his wise and beneficent rule we saw ourselves gradually lifted from the depths of slavery to the heights of liberty and manhood;under his wise and beneficent rule, and by measures approved and vigorously pressed by him, we saw that the handwriting of ages, in the form of prejudice and proscription, was rapidly fading away from the face of our whole country; under his rule, and in due time, about as soon after all as the country could tolerate the strange spectacle, we saw our brave sons and brothers laying off the rags of bondage, and being clothed all over in the blue uniforms of the soldiers of the United States; under his rule we saw two hundred thousand of our dark and dusky people responding to the call of Abraham Lincoln, and with muskets on their shoulders, and eagles on their buttons, timing their high footsteps to liberty and union under the national flag; under his rule we saw the independence of the black republic of Haiti, the special object of slaveholding aversion and horror, fully recognized, and her minister, a colored gentleman, duly received here in the city of Washington; under his rule we saw the internal slave-trade, which so long disgraced the nation, abolished, and slavery abolished in the District of Columbia; under his rule we saw for the first time the law enforced against the foreign slave-trade, and the first slave-trader hanged like any other pirate or murderer; under his rule, assisted by the greatest captain of our age, and his inspiration, we saw the Confederate States, based upon the idea that our race must be slaves, and slaves forever, battered to pieces and scattered to the four winds; under his rule, and in the fullness of time, we saw Abraham Lincoln,after giving the slaveholders three months' grace in which to save their hateful slave system, penning the immortal paper, which, though special in its language, was general in its principles and effect, making slavery forever impossible in the United States. Though we waited long, we saw all this and more.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Granted, athletes tend to be younger and fitter, and from what we have seen thus far, shake this off with comparatively small difficulty.
Plus, it's baseball, which has built-in distancing and limited contact between players.
All that said:
Between the schedule ramdown and the apparent spread among athletes across the sporting world, I just don't see any sports returning to action this year.
But both tabloids get their basic facts right, and the Post is right about the basics of this one: people of color are exempted from wearing masks in Lincoln (the fragments of my latest irony meter just reached escape velocity) County, Oregon.
From pages 2 and 3 of the relevant health directive:
The following individuals do not need to comply with this directive:
. . .
People of color who have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment due to wearing face coverings in public.The phrase "strict scrutiny" leaps to mind.
To be fair, let's stipulate that it is still a debated question how effective non-respirator masks can be in protecting/stopping/slowing the spread of coronavirus. And it is correct, as the directive points out, that social distancing is still more important and that even an effective mask is no substitute for that. But, on balance, it appears that masking is a helpful supplemental measure which should be used. The order certainly states as much.
What cannot be denied is that coronavirus has been especially destructive in the African-American community.
Van Jones has been ringing the bell for months about how horrible the pandemic has been. Because it has been and still is.
But now, the authorities of Lincoln County, Oregon, noting both a spike in cases and community spread, have determined that asking everyone to engage in the same health-protecting practice might somehow make some people of color feel that they are being singled out for harassment or profiling. Instead, an exemption has been offered to those who feel they might be harassed or profiled for wearing a mask.
Which, with horrible irony, will make the objector stand out even more from everyone else who is complying.
And it is sadly-foreseeable that this could cause friction within the communites between those who mask and those who object--because that's how human nature works.
And the reality is, Lincoln County is an overwhelmingly white, hardcore Democratic county on the Pacific Coast, with 0.4% of the population identifying as African-American, 1.1% as Asian, 3.5% as American Indian and 7.9% as Hispanic.
Does Lincoln County have a history of racially-harassing and profiling its minority populations? Quite possibly so--reliably Democratic local governments have some grim contemporary histories with respect to minority populations. Even when those populations themselves reliably vote Democratic.
But if so, such a history is not cited as a basis for the exemption.
And, honestly, given the dire toll racked up by this scourge, the exemption offers a vector for infection and transmission.
The virus will not be moved by paternalistic good intentions toward vulnerable populations.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
· Picture a southern man--albeit one currently married to an African-American woman--whose relevant documents identify him as "white."· Imagine him being very, very cagey in how he describes his background.· Now imagine him raising millions of dollars explicitly for black improvement.· And then picture said man repeatedly failing to deliver on the various fundraisers' promises.· And then visualize the same individual alienating the employees who work for him in these endeavors--95% of whom he describes as people of color. At least in the one that’s still in existence.· And then imagine him repeatedly pulling the plug on his efforts, all the while refusing to submit his fundraising to an independent review.· Then picture him taking credit for $22 million in fundraising he had nothing to do with.· Then imagine him telling staffers in his remaining struggling enterprise "to be your best black self."
In other words, don't overestimate his influence.