Showing posts with label Slavery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Slavery. Show all posts

Friday, January 28, 2022

January 28: Slavery, Polarization, Moon, Pakistan, Putin

Democrats Moved the Filibuster Overton Window Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema may be the last in their party to support maintaining the procedure. .......... for activists, the long battle over voter protections hasn’t been entirely in vain: It’s fundamentally changed the center of gravity in the Democratic Party to the point where those two holdouts are likely to be the last Democrats ever elected to the Senate who support maintaining the filibuster, at least for voting rights. ............ The leading Democratic Senate challengers for 2022, even in tough swing states such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, have already indicated support for changing the rules. ......... Key party constituencies are pledging to withhold support for Democrats who do not back filibuster reform. The movement has been as striking among incumbents, including those from tough swing states. ......... If Democrats lose unified control of Congress in November, it’s not clear when they will regain it and the power to implement their new consensus on retrenching the filibuster. But it is clear that Manchin and Sinema are holding to a position that leaves them almost completely isolated in the party. “I think it is very likely they are the last two elected Democrats who support the filibuster,” Eli Zupnick, the spokesperson for Fix Our Senate, a group advocating for filibuster reform, told me. “It is no longer a tenable position to defend the broken status quo.” ........... All of this may be cold comfort to advocates smarting from last night’s defeat—and facing the prospect that

red states could have almost unfettered freedom to restrict voting rights over the next few years if Republicans regain one or both Congressional chambers this fall

. ............. by forcing the voting-rights fight to a climactic, if doomed, vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has accelerated the development of a new consensus position in the party. ......... EMILY’s List, the fundraising behemoth that supports female Democratic candidates who endorse abortion rights, said in an unusually pointed statement that it would no longer support Sinema if she maintained her opposition to changing the filibuster. ......... “Sen. Sinema’s decision to reject the voices of allies, partners and constituents who believe the importance of voting rights outweighs that of an arcane process means she will find herself standing alone in the next election,” the group wrote. ........... “If the Senate cannot even begin to debate and vote on something as foundational as voting rights, we must reform Senate rules” ........

Sinema’s Arizona colleague, Senator Mark Kelly, announced that he would support changing Senate rules for voting-rights issues “to pass them with a majority vote.”

.......... It’s easy to lose sight of how big a change this represents for Democrats. Zupnick said that when the party won the Senate majority last January, “we had a list of 10 Democratic senators who were reluctant or flat-out opposed” to changing the filibuster, or who would not commit to any position on the issue. At that time, another prominent former senator, the newly elected President Joe Biden, was openly resistant to changing the rules too. ...... “This is no longer just a progressive issue—it is a consensus Democratic position” ....... solidified the Democratic consensus on changing the filibuster by demonstrating how completely the congressional GOP has turned against virtually any federal role in protecting voters ........ The League of Conservation Voters alone spent about $52 million supporting Democratic Senate candidates over the past three elections, including nearly $4 million for Sinema in 2018. EMILY’s List recorded nearly $46 million in direct contributions and outside spending for Democrats in the 2020 election cycle and, two years earlier, was among Sinema’s biggest donors ......

Republicans need a net gain of only five seats to win back the House majority in November’s election and the party out of the White House has won at least that many in all but four midterm elections since the Civil War.

...... November, Republicans could post considerable gains in both chambers ......... by blocking any federal response to the voter-suppression legislation advancing across so many red states, the two Democratic holdouts are increasing the chances that it will be Republicans who next seize unified control of Washington.

We Still Can’t See American Slavery for What It Was . An estimated 12.5 million people endured some version of this journey, captured and shipped mainly from the western coast of Africa to the Western Hemisphere during the four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Of that number, about 10.7 million survived to reach the shores of the so-called New World. ......... “After every deduction, the trade retains its gigantic character of crime.” ....... A large majority of people taken from Africa were sold to enslavers in either South America or the Caribbean. British, Dutch, French, Spanish and Portuguese traders brought their captives to, among other places, modern-day Jamaica, Barbados, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Haiti, as well as Argentina, Antigua and the Bahamas. A little over 3.5 percent of the total, about 389,000 people, arrived on the shores of British North America and the Gulf Coast during those centuries when slave ships could find port. ..........

by 1787, most of the states of the newly independent United States had banned the importation of slaves, although slavery itself continued to thrive in the southeastern part of the country.

........ Slavery remained a big and booming business, driven by demand for tobacco, rice, indigo and increasingly cotton, which was already on its path to dominance as the principal cash crop of the slaveholding South. .......... Within a decade of the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, annual cotton production had grown twentyfold to 35 million pounds in 1800. By 1810, production had risen to roughly 85 million pounds per year, accounting for more than 20 percent of the nation’s export revenue. By 1820, the United States was producing something in the area of 160 million pounds of cotton a year. .......... spectacularly violated, objectified, disposable, hypersexualized, and silenced ........ information about the people, the humans, who actually bore the brunt of this violence. And that’s important. It is important to humanize this history, to understand that this happened to African human beings.” .........

a young man sold for the purpose of “breeding” more people.

........... to have this visual in your head of these young people, chained on a boat, not really knowing where they were going.” ..... “I actually want to understand tiny moments of violence, because that’s what I see as adding up to a kind of numbness — a numbness of empathy, a numbness to human interconnection.” .......... W.E.B. Du Bois once called the trans-Atlantic slave trade “the most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history”; a tragedy that involved “the transportation of 10 million human beings out of the dark beauty of their mother continent into the newfound Eldorado of the West” where they “descended into Hell”; and an “upheaval of humanity like the Reformation and the French Revolution.”

America Has Split, and It’s Now in ‘Very Dangerous Territory’ . Polarization has become a force that feeds on itself, gaining strength from the hostility it generates, finding sustenance on both the left and the right. A series of recent analyses reveals the destructive power of polarization across the American political system. ......... None of the wealthy, consolidated democracies of East Asia, Oceania or Western Europe, for example, have faced similar levels of polarization for such an extended period. ......... “the United States is the only advanced Western democracy to have faced such intense polarization for such an extended period. The United States is in uncharted and very dangerous territory.” ......... there are “a number of features that make the United States both especially susceptible to polarization and especially impervious to efforts to reduce it.” .............

The United States is perhaps alone in experiencing a demographic shift that poses a threat to the white population that has historically been the dominant group in all arenas of power, allowing political leaders to exploit insecurities surrounding this loss of status.

........... “The Senate is highly disproportionate in its representation,” they add, “with two senators per state regardless of population, from Wyoming’s 580,000 to California’s 39,500,000 persons,” which, in turn, “translates to disproportionality in the Electoral College — whose indirect election of the president is again exceptional among presidential democracies.” .......... aggressive redistribution policies designed to lessen inequality must be initiated before polarization becomes further entrenched. The fear is that polarization now runs so deep in the United States that we can’t do the things that would help us be less polarized. ......... a deeply polarized electorate is highly unlikely to support redistribution that would benefit their adversaries as well as themselves. ......... Interactions with more diverse out-group members pool greater knowledge, applicable to a wider variety of situations. These interactions, when successful, generate better solutions and greater benefits. However, we also assume that the risk of failure is higher for out-group interactions, because of a weaker capacity to coordinate among individuals, compared to more familiar in-group interactions. ..........

after Levi Strauss & Co. pledged over $1 million to support ending gun violence and strengthening gun control laws, the jean company became progressively aligned with liberals while conservatives aligned themselves more with Wrangler

........... the stereotypes of “Tesla liberals” and “bird hunting conservatives” ........... “cultural products are four times more polarized than any other segment.” .......... greater levels of prejudice among conservatives .......... “people high in cognitive ability are prejudiced against more conservative and conventional groups,” while “people low in cognitive ability are prejudiced against more liberal and unconventional groups.” ........ those on the extreme right and extreme left exhibited cognitive rigidity on neuropsychological tasks, in comparison to moderates. .........

the electorate as a whole is moving farther and farther apart into two mutually loathing camps.

.......... By the 2000s, party explained about 80 percent of the variance in senators’ racial conservatism and nearly 100 percent of the variance in the mass public. ......... Today, across all offices, conservative states are largely dominated by Republicans, whereas the opposite is true of liberal states.

The ideological nationalization of the party system thus seems to have undermined party competition at the state level.

................ the pool of people that run for office is increasingly extreme. ........... only 16 of the 52 countries that reached levels of pernicious polarization succeeded in achieving depolarization and in “a significant number of instances later repolarized to pernicious levels. The progress toward depolarization in seven of 16 episodes was later undone.”

Joe Manchin Thinks James Madison Is on His Side. Nope. . .

Why is Ukraine such an economic failure? . Ukraine is a middle-income country. Its GDP per capita (PPP) is somewhere around $13000, which is similar to Libya or Paraguay. That’s not terrible, but what is terrible is how Ukraine has stagnated since the fall of the Soviet Union. By the World Bank’s reckoning, Ukraine is about 20% poorer now than it was in 1990! ......... If Ukraine had experienced growth similar to that of Poland or Romania since the fall of communism, it would now have a GDP in the $30,000-$35,000 range, and would essentially be a developed country. ......... Putin’s portrayal of Ukraine as a basket case has been a key part of his justification for aggression. ........ In general, the rule for countries is that they’re poor until something happens to make them rich. Thus, many disappointing growth stories (e.g. Pakistan) can be explained simply by a lack of pro-development policy. ......... Ukraine proceeded with shock therapy, and in proportional terms it had the most to shock. ........ exporting manufactured goods is the best way to boost a country out of poverty ....... Countries that specialize in resource extraction or agriculture, or which fail to make their products competitive in global markets, tend to fall behind in the development race. ........ Poland, Romania, or Turkey — three countries that have enjoyed rapid growth and are now on the cusp of developed-country status — and you’ll see that they all export a lot of cars car parts and some electronics, with Germany and the other rich countries of Europe as their biggest markets. ....... they’ve become a sort of Tennessee/Kentucky for Europe — a cheap zone for high-value manufacturing. ........ Ukraine, and we see that it mostly exports very basic, simple, low-value stuff — food, metals, and minerals. ........ in the 2000s, Ukrainian policy tended to reserve manufacturing industries for domestic oligarchs — most of whom had gotten rich by owning Ukraine’s old inefficient Soviet-era manufacturing industries. It thus tried to discourage foreign investment in the manufacturing sector — a huge, tragic mistake. The oligarchs didn’t do much with Ukraine’s manufacturing sector; they just kept collecting their checks and allowed the sector to slowly decline. Meanwhile, the country’s leaders encouraged foreign investment in sectors like finance and real estate. .......... But Ukraine also hit another big shock right around this same time: The end of cheap Russian gas. In Soviet times Russia had piped cheap gas to Ukraine to subsidize the area’s inefficient heavy industry, and this policy basically continued after 1991. But from 2007 through 2009, Russia mostly ended this sweetheart deal, raising the prices Ukraine would have to pay for gas. This dealt a blow to Ukraine’s inefficient, oligarch-controlled manufacturing sector. In 2010 the cheap gas subsidy was partly restored when Ukraine elected a pro-Russian president (Yanukovych) who negotiated a new discount. But of course that ended in 2014 when Yanukovych was ousted and the war began. ...........

So Ukraine made a big mistake in its FDI policy, which left it vulnerable to the twin shocks of the global financial crisis and the end of cheap Russian gas.

....... it makes it hard to raise tax revenue, which forces tax rates to be higher, which forces much of the economy off the books. In 2014, Ukraine’s shadow economy was estimated to comprise a whopping 50% of the total. That in turn encourages a pervasive culture of bribe-taking and extralegal means of property protection and contract enforcement (i.e. organized crime), which exacts its own toll on the economy in myriad ways. ......... What’s good for enriching the country is not always the same as what’s good for enriching oligarchs. ....... Official corruption also inhibits good governance. The Yanukovych administration is thought to have been especially corrupt, with tens of billions vanishing from government coffers during his rule. Those kinds of “rents” reduce the leadership’s incentive to invest in public goods; why build roads and schools and export industries to make your country rich, when you can just raid its treasury to enrich your own family and depend on Russia for protection? .......... Becoming a rich country like Poland is Ukraine’s best chance for standing up to a domineering neighbor three times its size. External military threat has been a catalyst for development for countries throughout the ages, most notably Japan and South Korea. Hopefully it will do the same for Ukraine now.

Why would Pakistan grow? Bangladesh’s startling and encouraging economic growth......... countries are poor until they get rich. India and Bangladesh have been doing things that have made them grow steadily richer; Pakistan, in general, has not. ........ The average Pakistani household consumes as much as the average Indian household, and more than the average Bangladeshi household. ........ Pakistan is eating its proverbial seed corn instead of planting it in the ground. Bangladesh and India, in contrast, are planting their seed corn — foregoing current consumption in order to build productive capital and be richer tomorrow. ........ Pakistan is behaving like a lot of natural resource exporters behave — but without the natural resources. Instead of a middle-income or high-income consumption society, it’s a low-income consumption society — keeping its people barely treading water, with lots of help from external largesse. That largesse is doubtless partly motivated by Pakistan’s strategic importance; it sits at the confluence of the War on Terror and Asian geopolitics, and it has nuclear weapons that no one wants to see fall into the wrong hands. ....... the “selectorate” — is some elite subset of the populace, rather than the whole populace at large ....... If Pakistan’s leaders chose to do what Bangladesh does, and divert another 16% of its GDP to building capital instead of giving people the necessities of life, they might be kicked right out of power by a disgruntled populace. Bangladesh, with its greater political stability, is able to make the far-sighted choice instead. ......... Push-button superweapons greatly reduce the need for a state to be rich and effective — or even particularly stable — in order to maintain security from external threats. Perhaps we can see this with North Korea as well, or possibly even Russia...... the right political incentives for growth-oriented policy are not in place yet. Perhaps a long period of stable civilian rule, or nationalistic envy of Bangladesh’s success, can change the calculus.

Bangladesh is the new Asian Tiger . It's succeeding using the classic formula, and defying the skeptics. ......... Bangladesh has now surpassed both India and Pakistan in terms of GDP per capita. That’s an astonishing milestone. ........ Bangladeshi growth is accelerating, from around 5% in previous years to 7% in 2019 .......... Pakistan is mostly stagnant, languishing in poverty ........ it’s doing the very same thing that Britain did when it became the first country to industrialize, over two centuries ago.

It’s making and selling a bunch of clothes.

.......... Bangladesh has become known as a hub of the world’s garment industry. ........ This transformation through garment exports did not occur in a vacuum: the government decided very early on to promote the sector and to provide incentives to get it where it needed to be. As in many countries, an important part of that strategy entailed designing special economic zones, areas in which regulations, incentives, and basic infrastructure could be provided to ensure conditions for success. This also made it easier for FDI to engage in production… .......... Bangladesh picked a traditional labor-intensive light manufacturing industry, laid out plans for promoting that industry, and successfully built a dominant position in that industry. ............. Bangladesh ignored the dire warnings that labor-intensive manufacturing was about to be automated away, and ignored the skepticism about whether a country outside Europe or East Asia could pull off manufacturing-led industrialization, and simply powered ahead with a traditional development strategy. And dammit, it’s working. .......... Bangladesh needs to diversify into other light manfuacturing industries like toys and furniture, etc. And to really climb up the value chain, Bangladesh needs to start making electronics. ........ growth seems to have taken on something of a life of its own ......... this is still a very poor country, with a per capita GDP (PPP) of only around $5800, similar to that of Ghana or Honduras. It’s going to be many decades yet before Bangladesh can reach developed-country status ........ Bangladesh’s growth should remind us that globalization is still an incredibly powerful force for good. Access to European and U.S. export markets has been crucial. ......... far away from our bickering culture wars and policy debates, the lifting of the world’s indigent masses to the safety and comfort of material plenty is still the biggest and most important story in the world.

Republicans Think There Is a ‘Takeover’ Happening. They Have Some Reading to Do. . Congress has absolute, unbending power to regulate federal elections as it sees fit. ...... it has been strange to see Republican politicians — including some self-described “constitutional conservatives” — denounce the Democrats’ proposed new voting rights legislation as an illegitimate “federal takeover” of federal elections. ......... overall voter turnout has increased significantly since the Supreme Court undermined the Voting Rights Act in 2013. ........ There are times when the federal government needs to take election rules out of the hands of the states. Looking at the restrictions and power grabs passed by state Republican lawmakers in the wake of Donald Trump’s defeat, I’d say now is one of those times.

It’s 2086. This Is What American History Could Look Like. . President Andrew Jackson’s dueling pistols — once proof of the aggressive populism of a fighter honored in Democratic banquets and the names of generations of boys — now could not be displayed without mention of the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans for which he often fought. ........ The elections in 2022 and 2024 will help determine whether the big lie becomes the official truth. ...... more than 30 percent of respondents said they do not accept the legitimacy of President Biden’s 2020 victory, and 25 percent opposed investigating those who sought to overturn the election. .........

As curators, as historians, as citizens, we are frequently reminded that the past is a foreign country. But so is the future.

Putin Is Caught in a Trap of His Own Making . The question is on everyone’s lips. Will President Vladimir Putin go to war against Ukraine? To judge by Russia’s propaganda machine, where media moguls are predicting a victory “in 48 hours,” the answer is an emphatic yes. ........ While Mr. Putin undoubtedly regards Ukraine as little more than a Russian province, as he argued in a lengthy pseudo-historical treatise in July, it’s far from clear his aim was war. Outright conflict — as opposed to sudden swoops, covert operations or hybrid warfare — isn’t really Mr. Putin’s style. ....... It’s probable that the troop buildup in November was an attempt to force the West to relinquish any claims over Ukraine. That would be a great P.R. victory at minimal cost. ......... Instead of trapping the United States, Mr. Putin has trapped himself. Caught between armed conflict and a humiliating retreat, he is now seeing his room for maneuver dwindling to nothing. He could invade and risk defeat, or he could pull back and have nothing to show for his brinkmanship. What happens next is unknown. But one thing is clear: Mr. Putin’s gamble has failed. ....... Mr. Putin — whose instinctive cautiousness I’ve observed at close quarters for two decades — has a record of withdrawing at the first sign of real conflict. When Russian mercenaries were killed by U.S. troops in Syria in 2018, for example, he had the perfect opportunity to retaliate. Instead, Russia denied the slaughter ever took place. .......... Tellingly, Russia’s major successful military operations under Mr. Putin — the defeat of Georgia in 2008 and the annexation of Crimea in 2014 — happened when the West was looking the other way. In both cases, the world was caught unawares and Russia could complete its designs without the threat of armed international opposition. That is not the case now. ....... What’s more, there are no internal reasons for pursuing a war. Yes, Mr. Putin’s ratings are down and prices are up, but there’s no major domestic unrest and elections are two years away. ........ Russia would not be assured of victory. The Ukrainian Army is much improved, having upscaled its equipment and preparations for a ground invasion, and the Russian troops deployed near the border are most likely insufficient to conquer the country. ........... Without the usual bargaining chips — no sound economy, no superior weapons, no fanatical followers — he fell back on unpredictability. The more irrational his behavior, went the thinking, the more likely the United States would accept his demands. ....... Those demands, published in mock-treaty form in December, were in many cases absurd. ......... The core request — that NATO deny membership to Ukraine — was silly in a different way. There was no chance of Ukraine becoming a member any time soon, ultimatum or not. But that was Mr. Putin’s point: By demanding something that was already happening, Mr. Putin aimed to claim a victory over the West. ............ he could test the waters with a deniable provocation undertaken by supposedly private Russian citizens, those Mr. Putin once called “coal miners and tractor drivers.” That may be a small way to save face, but it could easily spill out of control. The risk of outright war is enormous. ...... one certainty to hold on to: Mr. Putin will never start a war he’s likely to lose.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


When W. E. B. Du Bois Made a Laughingstock of a White Supremacist Du Bois, the twentieth century’s leading black intellectual, once lived at 3059 Villa Avenue, in the Bronx. ....... not far from the Bedford Park subway station....... The first time I went to Du Bois’s old address, I wondered if I might find a plaque, but the house is gone, and 3059 Villa is now part of a fenced-in parking lot. ........ About a forty-minute walk away is the Bronx Zoo. In 1912, it was called the New York Zoological Park, and it was run by a patrician named Madison Grant from an old New York family. Though he and Du Bois lived and worked within a few miles of each other for decades, I don’t know if the two ever met. As much as anyone on the planet, Grant was Du Bois’s natural enemy. Grant favored a certain type of white man over all other kinds of humans, on a graded scale of disapproval, and he reserved his vilest ill wishes and contempt for blacks..........

in 1906 the zoo put an African man named Ota Benga on display in the primate cages.

........ Eventually, Ota Benga was moved to the Howard Colored Orphan Asylum, in Brooklyn, and he ended up in Virginia, where he shot himself....... He also was a director of the American Eugenics Society, thought “worthless” individuals should be sterilized, and considered his lobbying for the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924, which shut down most immigration to the U.S., to be one of the great achievements of his life......... And what was the special attribute the Nordics possessed that made them so unique and sacred? Grant didn’t talk about it much, but it slipped out once in a while. The secret dwelt in a mysterious substance known as “germ-plasm.” Everybody had it, but the Nordics’ germ-plasm was the best. Grant and his co-believers could apparently use phrases such as “our superior germ-plasm” with a straight face..........

At the same time that Scribner published Hemingway and Fitzgerald, it was the leading purveyor of white-supremacist books in America.

........ The Du Bois-Stoddard debate turned out to be a singular event, as important in its way as Lincoln-Douglas or Kennedy-Nixon. ........ Stoddard had written that “mulattoes” like Du Bois, who could not accept their inferior status, were the chief cause of racial unrest in the United States, and he looked forward to their dying out.......... Stoddard grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, attended Harvard like Stoddards before him, and got a Ph.D. in history. In the course of thirty-six years, he wrote at least eighteen books and countless magazine and newspaper articles......... he discovered what would become his most successful writing strategies: scaring the reader with the spectre of race war, and scaring the Nordic reader with the prospect of losing a race war........ For Stoddard, the pivotal event of recent history was the Russo-Japanese War. By his reckoning, the defeat of a “white” country (Russia) by a “colored” country (Japan) in 1905 had opened the door to disaster. ........ he predicted an imminent worldwide uprising against the “Nordic race.” “The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy” appeared in early 1920.......... the Times wrote an approving editorial: Lothrop Stoddard evokes a new peril, that of an eventual submersion beneath vast waves of yellow men, brown men, black men and red men, whom the Nordics have hitherto dominated . . . with Bolshevism menacing us on the one hand and race extinction through warfare on the other, many people are not unlikely to give [Stoddard’s book] respectful consideration........... in 1921, President Warren G. Harding declared that blacks must have full economic and political rights, but that segregation was also essential to prevent “racial amalgamation,” and social equality was thus a dream that blacks must give up. Harding added: Whoever will take the time to read and ponder Mr. Lothrop Stoddard’s book on “The Rising Tide of Color” . . . must realize that our race problem here in the United States is only a phase of a race issue that the whole world confronts........ A black columnist wrote that the news of the white race’s impending demise would probably come as a surprise to Negroes in the South......... Stoddard, in the fog of his apocalyptic musings, made some predictions. He said that Japan was going to expand its influence in the Pacific and get into conflict with the United States, that the brown people of India would throw the British out, and that the Islamic world would grow militant and begin hostilities against the West. ......... At the time of the debate, Du Bois had just turned sixty-one. He had already written “The Souls of Black Folk,” helped to found the N.A.A.C.P., organized and led Pan-African conferences, and gained tens of thousands of readers for The Crisis, the N.A.A.C.P.’s magazine, which he edited and frequently contributed to. Like Stoddard, he had a Ph.D. in history from Harvard. .......... .....On the first page of “The Souls of Black Folk,” published in 1903, Du Bois wrote, “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.” On page 1 of “The French Revolution in San Domingo,” Stoddard wrote, in 1914, “The ‘conflict of color’ . . . bids fair to be the fundamental problem of the twentieth century.” ................... in 1926, he gave a lecture before two thousand at Tuskegee University, in Alabama, informing them that the Nordic race was superior to nonwhites and that, for the good of all races, the world must continue to be governed by white supremacy. ........... .....the students “sat awestricken during the address, which terminated without any applause.”......... “The attacks that white people themselves have made upon their own moral structure are worse for civilization than anything that any body of Negroes could ever do.”.......... Stoddard outlines a solution, which he calls “bi-racialism”—a “separate but equal” setup, which he says will be based not on any inherent inferiority but merely on racial “difference.” ........ When the laughter had subsided, Mr. Stoddard, in a manner of mixed humility and courage, claimed that he could not see the joke. This brought more gales of laughter..................

Du Bois knew that the racists would be unintentionally funny onstage

........... Du Bois let the overconfident and bombastic Stoddard walk into a comic moment, which Stoddard then made even funnier by not getting the joke............ His upbeat dispatches remarked on Goebbels’s “quick smile” and the greater warmth and friendliness of Mussolini as compared to Hitler. The stories read like comedy sketches today.........

I sometimes imagine Grant or Stoddard coming back to life in New York City, looking at the many people on the street who don’t resemble them, and asking, “What war did we lose?”

............ In the late fifties, Du Bois, soon to become an avowed Communist, spent time in the Soviet Union, went to China, and met with Mao. In the sixties, he moved to Ghana, renounced his citizenship, and became a Ghanaian citizen. He died there on August 27, 1963, the day before the March on Washington............ Du Bois recognized that the keystone in the arch of oppression was the myth of inferiority and he dedicated his brilliant talents to demolish it.

The Fight to Redefine Racism a persistent but delusional idea that something is wrong with black people. The only thing wrong, he maintained, was racism, and the country’s failure to confront and defeat it.......... Amid a series of police shootings of African-Americans during President Obama’s second term, “Black lives matter” became a rallying cry and then a movement, and helped push racism to the front of the progressive conversation. ......... particularly transformative among white liberals, who are now, by some measures, more concerned about racism than African-Americans are. One survey found that white people who voted for Hillary Clinton felt warmer toward black people than toward their fellow-whites......... racism can be objectively identified, and therefore fought, and one day vanquished. He argues that we should stop thinking of “racist” as a pejorative, and start thinking of it as a simple description, so that we can join him in the difficult work of becoming antiracists. .......... “One either endorses the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist or racial equality as an antiracist,” Kendi writes, adding that it isn’t possible to be simply “not racist.” He thinks that all of us must choose a side; in fact, he thinks that we are already choosing, all the time.......... “I cannot disconnect my parents’ religious strivings to be Christian from my secular strivings to be an antiracist” ....... he now regards the speech as shamefully racist, because it blamed black people for their own failures. ......... divided the racists into two kinds, segregationists and assimilationists......... In 1834, the American Anti-Slavery Society issued a pamphlet of admonishment: We have noticed with sorrow, that some of the colored people are purchasers of lottery tickets, and confess ourselves shocked to learn that some persons, who are situated to do much good, and whose example might be most salutary, engage in games of chance for money and for strong drink.............. a “low-testing” black student and a “high-testing” white student may simply be demonstrating “different kinds of achievement rather than different levels of achievement.” This celebration of difference comes to an end when it is time to judge the educational systems themselves. .........

the idea is to judge unfair policies, while refusing to judge, as a group, the people who are subjected to them

....... many forms of racism: there is class racism, which conflates blackness with poverty, as well as gender racism, queer racism, and something called “space racism,” which is less exciting than it sounds—it has to do with the way people associate black neighborhoods, or spaces, with violence. .......

“When we try to talk openly and honestly about race,” she writes, “we are so often met with silence, defensiveness, argumentation, certitude, and other forms of pushback.” To explain this phenomenon, she coined the phrase “white fragility.”

........ Unlike Kendi, who boldly defines racism, DiAngelo is endlessly deferential—for her, racism is basically whatever any person of color thinks it is. ........ Kendi is less concerned about manners, and he strives to stay grounded in the brute facts of racial oppression.......... “Where we are from Jamaica Queens the average youth doesn’t have hope or inspiration to live.” ........requires a great part of the country to undergo a revolution in thought that took Kendi decades of study to achieve ....... the cure, he thinks, will start with policies, not ideas. He suggests that, just as ideologies of racial difference emerged after the slave trade in order to justify it, antiracist ideologies will emerge once we are bold enough to enact an antiracist agenda: criminal-justice reform, more money for black schools and black teachers, a program to fight residential segregation. ........ Kendi wants us to see not only that there is nothing wrong with black people but that there is likewise nothing wrong with white people. “There is nothing right or wrong with any racial groups,” he writes.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Unlikely Path to the Supreme Court At Harvard Law School, which first admitted women in 1950, she was one of only nine women in a class of some five hundred. In one of the first scenes in “On the Basis of Sex,” Erwin Griswold, the dean of the law school, asks each of those nine women, during a dinner party at his house, why she is occupying a place that could have gone to a man. In the film, Ginsburg, played by Felicity Jones, gives the dean an answer to which he can have no objection: “My husband, Marty, is in the second-year class. I’m at Harvard to learn about his work. So that I might be a more patient and understanding wife.” This, which is more or less what Ginsburg actually said, was a necessary lie. It was possible for a woman to attend law school—barely—but it was not possible for her to admit her ambition....... She graduated first in her class. ....... Looking for work, Ginsburg confronted the limits of the profession’s willingness to take female lawyers seriously. ....... Felix Frankfurter, the first Supreme Court Justice to hire an African-American clerk, in 1948, refused to hire a woman, even after he was reassured that Ginsburg never wore pants........ Ginsburg pursued a series of cases designed to convince the Supreme Court, first, that there is such a thing as sex discrimination and, second, that it violates the Constitution.......... Erwin Griswold, notwithstanding his resentment of women law students, eventually dubbed Ginsburg “the Thurgood Marshall of gender equality law.” ...... Marshall never had to battle African-Americans opposed to the very notion of equality under the law; Ginsburg, by contrast, faced a phalanx of conservative women, led by Phyllis Schlafly, who objected to equal rights altogether.......... the following year, the Court ruled on Roe v. Wade instead, and struck down anti-abortion legislation not on the ground of equal protection but on the ground of a much weaker constitutional doctrine, the right to privacy.........If Struck was Ginsburg’s next, carefully placed stepping stone across a wide river, Roe was a rickety wooden plank thrown down across the water and—Ginsburg thought—likely to rot. In a lecture she delivered in 1984, she noted the political significance of the fact that the Court had treated sex discrimination as a matter of equal protection but reproductive autonomy as a matter of privacy. ......... “I ask no favor for my sex,” Ginsburg told the nine men on the bench, quoting the nineteenth-century women’s-rights advocate Sarah Grimké. “All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” ....... In 1971, Chief Justice Warren Burger, on hearing that Richard Nixon was considering nominating a woman to the Court, drafted a letter of resignation......... Of the fifty-seven people she hired as law clerks, interns, or secretaries during her time on the D.C. bench, not one was African-American. Ginsburg was asked about this when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and she promised, “If you confirm me for this job, my attractiveness to black candidates is going to improve.” ....... But in her quarter century on the Supreme Court she has hired only one African-American clerk (a record that, distressingly, does not distinguish her from most of the bench). ....... Ginsburg, for all that she had done to advance women’s rights during the nineteen-seventies, was apparently not on the lists sent to the White House by women’s groups...... one gathers that the Madison Lecture was more often invoked than read ....... At one point, Clinton asked Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan to suggest a woman. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” Moynihan answered. “The women are against her” was the President’s reply. Moynihan called Martin Ginsburg and said, “You best take care of it.” ....... Ginsburg, a prominent and well-connected tax lawyer, was already running a behind-the-scenes campaign, without his wife’s knowledge. In February, 1993, he’d organized a breakfast meeting with the president of a leading women’s group in D.C. to seek her support for his plan to get his wife nominated as Solicitor General. He did not succeed. He had the same experience at a meeting in New York. In April and May, he courted the press and solicited at least thirty-four letters of support, largely from the legal academy, where Ginsburg, an excellent scholar, was widely admired. Fourteen members of the faculty of N.Y.U. Law School—people who had been in the room when Ginsburg delivered the Madison Lecture—wrote a joint letter to say that they were “distressed that her remarks at N.Y.U. have been misconstrued as anti-choice and anti-women.” ....... All spring, the Ginsburg family kept up the campaign, which involved bringing the lack of support among women’s groups out into the open, so that it could be countered. ....... The Brookings Institution fellow Stephen Hess, a cousin of Ginsburg’s, warned reporters, including the New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, that feminists were opposed to Ginsburg, and mailed them copies of the Madison Lecture. ....... Summoned to the White House on Sunday, June 13th, Ginsburg met with the President for ninety minutes. He made his decision later that day, and, after watching a Chicago Bulls game that went into three overtimes, called her nearly at midnight. The Wall Street Journal posited a rule: “When Bill Clinton is doing the picking, it’s better to be last than first.” ......... Her daughter had written in her high-school yearbook in 1973, under “Ambition”: “To see her mother appointed to the Supreme Court. If necessary, Jane will appoint her.” Ginsburg told the crowd, “Jane is so pleased, Mr. President, that you did it instead.”...... The Senate voted to confirm her ninety-six to three, with one abstention. But the idea that her appointment was uncontroversial is almost entirely a myth.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Barack Obama And Black Men In Jail

Between November 9 and January 29, or whenever Hillary's inauguration is, Barack Obama needs to commute the sentences of tens of thousands who are languishing in jail for minor drug offenses, for nonviolent crimes.

The so called War On Drugs has been white America's attempt to bring back slavery. This is the 21st century. Slavery is old fashioned. We are going to have robots.

Africa is the next China. Africa is coming along strong. Releasing black men from jail would be good foreign policy.

The racism in America's criminal justice system is a UID offense, Under the Influence of the Devil. The evil elements of law enforcement are preparing to go to hell. Why? Why would you want to go to hell? It ain't pretty down there. 

The first black man president needs to mean liberation for a few tens of thousands of black men. And he will get to see the second black president.

B for black, b for resilience.

But true liberation is in forgiveness. The black population needs to actively forgive. Together forgive. Whites repent. Blacks forgive.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Black Resurgence

I believe Barack Obama has done some concrete work on things like education, health, and more recently, criminal justice reform. The black community stands to benefit for the next generation. The positive impact will be felt. But there is something blacks will have to do on their own. Come together and weld a rich, healthy black identity through use of, exchange of spoken words.

Slavery and segregation were crimes. They are not heritage. They were somebody else's wrongs. Black folks have to go further back into the past all the way back to Africa for positive reinforcements of the black identity. There are languages, and cultures, and festivals and rituals.

Another possible movement is horizontal. Adopt Islam and become one with the Muslims on the Indian subcontinent. Islam is a religion of peace. Islam is a religion of much clarity. Islam has created a large global community. Anybody who says Indians are a minority doesn't know arithmetic.

Dalits in India and blacks in America have to cross that bridge onto another religion for fundamental liberation. For Dalits it might be Buddhism. Or Islam.

Sitting around the proverbial fire and exchanging word on experiences and just coming together to build community is a great thing. It leads to strength.

Swimmer Michael Phelps had to win a whole bunch of gold medals to achieve fame and heights where oxygen is less. And he resorted to smoking pot. It is a thin air thing. A whole bunch of young black men hit that thin air at the sea level itself. Why? Why is the emotional infrastructure so weak? The system has waged relentless attacks on the black family. But the pendulum is about to swing. The black person, the black identity, the black family, the black community can now peacefully assemble and gather strength and wealth and become whole. The continent of Africa itself is also slowly but surely gathering pace. India is the next China and Africa is the next India. The central continent is on its way to occupying a central place in the scheme of things down the decades.

The history of solar power in this country is Barack Obama talked about it a lot on the campaign trail in 2007, and today solar has achieved grid parity, it will meet 100% of the needs by 2030. There is solar power and there is black power. Similarly black folks should engage in conversation. There is power in simply talking. Black folks should talk to each other.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The R Word

Blackmon’s book describes what he calls the “Age of Neoslavery,” in which newly freed slaves found themselves entangled in a legal system built upon involuntary servitude — which included the selling of black men convicted of crimes like vagrancy and changing employers without receiving permission........ “The constitutional amendments that were supposed to free African-American slaves did something for about 10 years, then there was a North-South compact that granted the former the slave-owning states the right to do whatever they wanted,” he explained. “And what they did was criminalize black life, and that created a kind of slave force. It threw mostly black males into jail, where they became a perfect labor force, much better than slaves.” ...... “If you’re a slave owner, you have to pay for — you have to keep your ‘capital’ alive. But if the state does it for you, that’s terrific. No strikes, no disobedience, the perfect labor force. A lot of the American Industrial Revolution in the late 19th, early 20th Century was based on that. It pretty must lasted until World War II.” ....... by the 1970s and 1980s it’s going back to the criminalization of black life.” ....... “It’s called the drug war, and it’s a racist war. Ronald Reagan was an extreme racist — though he denied it — but the whole drug war is designed, from policing to eventual release from prison, to make it impossible for black men and, increasingly, women to be part of [American] society.”
Obama shared personal anecdotes about the racist double standard she had encountered as the wife of the nation’s first black president

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tibet Is Not The US South Of The Civil War Era

Sakya Monastery, Tibet. Sakya Monastery was fo...
China Focuses on Territorial Issues as It Equates Tibet to U.S. Civil War South New York Times return the boundaries of the modern nation to roughly those of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) at its height. That includes Taiwan, Tibet, the western region of Xinjiang and, by China’s calculation, Tawang. ..... In the age of empires, there were no hard and fast borders
The US civil war was about slavery and the Lincoln people were on the right side of history. China is about repressing Tibet, and the Chinese are on the wrong side of history.

The two sides in the US civil war were at war. And either could have won. Tibet today has no army that is fighting the Chinese army. The Chinese are the only force in town.
:en:3rd Dalai Lama,Image via Wikipedia

The US South wanted to break away from the rest of the US. Tibet is not seeking to be a separate country.

And to expect Obama to sympathize with China on this question is beyond ridiculous. Because Obama is black - he is actually biracial - he is much more likely to empathize with the repressed Tibetans. And he does.  
The future is a plural China that is integrated with Taiwan, and is a federal, democratic, multi-party state.


China Tibet Watch
Tibet Will Be Free
China Likens Tibet Policy to Abraham Lincoln « DC Progressive 
A Tibetan Solution For Tibet « Tibettruth's Blog 
“Tibet will Rise Again”? « Last Row 
Shock: PRC Racism 
::: The Travel Photographer :::: China's Tibet: Desmond Kavanaugh 
Drop Zone Only: Obama: Prosperous China strengthens all nations 
China – China berates Dalai Lama visit to area near Tibet – San ... 
Global Voices Online » Bangladesh: Chinese Pressure Censors Tibet ... 
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