Black Incarceration: The Law Enforcement Assistance Act, the Rockefeller Drug Laws, Mass Encarceration and More

(05-29-2018, updated 07-16-2018)  The history of crime in inner-city black neighborhoods and the response by law enforcement over time have seemingly made it a chicken-egg matter. Seemingly. I explained how inner city  black neighborhoods came into being to begin with. From the start cities responded to crime in black neighborhoods differently than in white areas.

The Racial Wealth Gap: Two Reports on Income and Asset Disparity

(05-27-2018, updated 08-02-2018) So segregation held African Americans back until the Civil Rights Movement. But there has been no institutional racism since, so they have no excuse for being less well off today, do they? And what about poor white people? Well, it just so happens that two recent reports dispute the myths about the wealth gap between whites and people of color.

Black Slavery: The Source of White Real Estate and Power

(05-16-2018, updated 07-08-2018) To discuss race and real estate, we must go back the beginning of white land use in America. Slavery gave the white South land ownership, labor, currency, collateral and political clout. The wealth and power of the large plantation owners -- the richest and largest property owners in the country --depended entirely on the number of slaves they owned.

Racial Discrimination in Housing

(05-1-2018, updated 07-08-2018)  How Segregated Housing Policies and Redlining Led to Racial Housing Disparity. How did we get to so many impoverished black neighborhoods, especially inner-city neighborhoods? It wasn't inevitable. A brief history of black housing. 

Racial disparity in America: How Do Whites Hold Blacks Back?

(05-07-2018, updated 07-11-2018)  Institutional Racism, Past and Present. A question I saw on Facebook, "What have whites done, since slavery, to prevent blacks from succeeding? Why do we owe them anything?" This series explores centuries of institutional racism, the many creative ways that whites have systematically excluded blacks from the American dream.

Book Bans and Gag Rules and Fox, Good Grief!

(10-29-2017, updated 07-11-2018)  Propaganda, Censorship and Other Suppression of Dissent. The fascist attitude: if you're not for us, you're against us and therefore an enemy of the state. Suppression of opposition is key. Book bans, book burning, press censorship, etc. The flip side of government suppression of dissent is government propaganda. Distorting facts and history to create a convenient story to force-feed to the masses.

Totalitarianism in America: Nothing New

(10-21-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Totalitarian governments don't acknowledge individual liberties. Everyone must support the state. No dissent, democratic elections, freedom of speech, or a free press. North Korea is a totalitarian state, as are theocracies like Iran and Pakistan. In a theocracy the leaders' holy book is the supreme authority, not democratically created laws. American Christian extremists want this as well.

America Is the Greatest Country in the World!

(10-03-2017, updated 07-11-2018) How Language Shapes Americans' Attitudes Toward the Outside World. "America is the greatest country in the world."  If you're born in America you've heard it all your life. This  kind of nationalistic language is not just an innocent expression of patriotism -- it stifles curiosity, it prevents necessary dialogue about serious issues and it even leads to xenophobia.

Charlottesville: Patriotism versus Malignant Nationalism

(09-05-2017, updated 07-12-2018)  Optimists still think that the white supremacists in Charlottesville were outliers, or that this is when everything changes. I'm not that optimistic. Too many Americans can't distinguish between patriotism and nationalism, let alone malignant nationalism. Or why that's important. To many outsiders America already lives with "a very quiet kind of fascism". I've always felt that America is primed for a fascist takeover. I'm sure most readers will still think, even after Charlottesville, that I'm overreacting, But I don't think I am.

Are You a Racist? When White Privilege Equals Racism

(08-31-2017, updated 07-12-2018)  Also, My Own White Privilege and a Peek at Life While Black in Trump Country. Topic: white privilege and responsibility for racial disparity in the Trump era. Am I a racist? Are you a racist? Many whites say they're not racist, but neither are they responsible for race problems they didn't cause. Here are my thoughts, about Dutch responsibility, my personal privilege and responsibility, and a few shocking encounters.

American Re-education: America After Trump

(08-15-2017, updated 07-12-2018)  How To Bring Effective History Education To American Public Schools. So, Charlottesville happened. Trump is to blame, as well as all Trump supporters. It was 100% predictable. Only the willfully ignorant didn't see this coming. "Wir haben es nicht gewuβt" hasn't been a valid excuse since 1946, and neither is not knowing what that means.

A Misunderstood Muslim Ban and a Mistaken Identity Murder

(02-25-2017, updated 07-12-2018)  Trump's Muslim ban on refugees from majority Muslim countries that isn't a Muslim ban and the attack on three Men from the Middle East who were from India. No refugees from the banned countries have killed anyone in America in at least twenty years. American extremists, on the other hand, have murdered, injured and harassed plenty of Muslims in America.

The Safety Pin: I Pledge Intolerance to Bigotry

(12-01-2016, updated 07-13-2018) Bullying bigots beware: I'm an obese middle-aged white bitch and I'm not afraid to use it. I pledge intolerance to bigotry. I will wear a safety pin as long as Trump is president.  I will wear it as a warning to any bullying Trump supporter. I won't stand by and do nothing.

Last Chance: The Electoral College

(11-15-2016, updated 07-13-2018)  Wake up, America! This is not alarmism -- you have one last shot at preventing fascism in America. The only reason I could see for super-delegates was to prevent an anti-Constitutional train wreck, but they wimped out. You have a second chance with the electoral college. If it doesn't throw Trump out, that's it. America will have committed the biggest fuck-up in history.

The Days After the 2016 Presidential Election

(11-13-2016, updated 07-13-2018)  Trump is the president-elect and five days later we're still reeling.  Well. The 2016 presidential election came and went. This is day five since Trump was elected to be the next president of the United States, and realizing that all three branches of government will be Republican come January. There will be no checks and balances. 

Trump’s Muslim Registration and Identification Plans

(11-20-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  What Americans should learn in History class: Just because something starts off small doesn't mean it's not a big deal. In an interview on NPR a few people discussed Trump's Muslim registration and identification plans. One person immediately brought up the Holocaust. Another thought it wouldn't hurt anyone to just register Muslims and require a Muslim ID.

Sixteen States Declare They Will Refuse Syrian Refugees

(11-16-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  Where is our compassion? France and America are promising to basically bomb the blazes out of ISIS and at least sixteen American states have already said they don't want any Syrian refugees, including Texas, where I live. Because some terrorists might enter the country disguised as refugees. 

Officer Slam’s Sea of Troubles and Authoritarian Arguments Against the Abused Student

(11-01-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  Both the police force and the school were okay with letting Ben Fields loose on kids, and so, apparently, are many others. The Spring Valley High School SRO had two lawsuits filed against him, for excessive violence and for targeting black students. Were these the first ever incidents that he was perceived as violent and racist? It's possible. But one his nicknames was Officer Slam.

What Do We Want Our Schools To Do? Discipline Or Teach?

(10-29-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  When and why did it become acceptable to have Officer Slam in school? And why is discipline seen as the be-all, end-all in American public education? If you had asked me last week what a school resource officer was, I wouldn't have known, but my guess would have been someone who was somehow involved in directing students to the appropriate resources for whatever they needed, be it the school library, the counselor, a local college, whatever. But no, SROs--School Resource Officers--are police officers who have been placed in public schools "to keep the students safe".

Spring Valley High School Student Violently Arrested in Class

(10-28-2015, updated 07-14-2018) If you're black in a public high school in South Carolina, using your phone in class can be extremely dangerous. When a sixteen-year-old girl at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina was caught with her phone, the teacher told her to hand it over. She refused. The teacher then ordered her to go to the principal's office. She refused.The teacher called the assistant principal, who then told her to leave the classroom. She refused. So the assistant principal sicced the cop--excuse me, I mean School Resources Officer Ben Fields--on her.

Kim Davis and the Syrian Refugees: Both Are Matters of Religious Fundamentalism

(09-28-2015, updated 07-14-2018) The U.S. fights the Taliban and ISIS, but if Kim Davis had her way, America would be a theocracy like most countries in the Middle East. Both Kim Davis and ISIS look to ancient books--the Bible written mostly in the Bronze Age and the Koran in the early Middle Ages--for their moral justification of exclusion, hatred and violence.

The Confederate Flag Will No Longer Fly at the South Carolina State Capitol

(06-22-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  But they're still careful not to offend the folks who are proud of their Confederate heritage. Southern politicians are falling over themselves in their haste to leap over the fence or off the fence, so they're on the record as having been on the right side of history. Only just in time, but hey, at this point, who's counting hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries?

Reduce Police Shootings, Revoke the License to Kill

(12-10-2014, updated 07-14-2018)  Considering how much emphasis is placed on firearm training, why not train the police to aim for the shoulder or leg? In my opinion, the police policy of allowing officers to use lethal force any time they feel threatened needs to be revisited. The notion that any time someone reaches in their pocket, officers can empty their clips into that person is just ridiculous.

Police Killings, Militarization and the Absence of the NRA in Ferguson, Missouri

(08-22-2014, updated 07-15-2018)   An untrained police force does not serve the public, it's a danger to the public. Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Demonstrations against police violence have been going on since, which the police met with tanks and army gear. They aimed military-grade weapons at the town's citizens.

The Meridian Race Riot of 1871: the Failure of the Rickety Reconstruction Era

(03-25-2014, updated 07-15-2018)  The Meridian riot of 1871 illustrates the battles between freed blacks and the KKK and other white supremacists in the South during the Reconstruction era. And now for the piece of Southern history I've been working up to: the Meridian race riot of 1871. A sad and horrific part of black history, and the perfect illustration of the pathetic ending of the Reconstruction era. 

The Reconstruction Era :Federal Army Presence and Carpetbaggers and Black Representatives in Government, Oh My!

(03-24-2014, updated 07-15-2018)  Then federal army leaves, the KKK wins, the Jim Crow era begins, and the Reconstruction Era is forgotten. After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, white Southerners imposed the Black Code, so blacks were free, but had no rights. In 1866 the Radical Republicans came into power in Congress, and they came down on the South like a ton of bricks.