Category Archives: Current Events

President-Elect Trump, the Federal Judiciary, and Thanksgiving

By Carl Tobias

Last Friday, Donald Trump, thousands of Trump University students, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that they had settled three long running cases alleging that the school had defrauded many students. The lawsuits’ settlement resulted substantially from concerted efforts by Southern District of California Judge Gonsalvo Curiel. The jurist persistently moved toward resolution one case, which he had scheduled for trial next Monday while suggesting that the parties consider a settlement. At Thanksgiving, Mr. Trump and millions of Americans should give thanks for the dedicated service rendered by Judge Curiel and hundreds of federal judges, who assiduously labor every day to deliver justice. Continue reading

Oh California, Will You Take Me As I Am?

By Annie Buckley

The week before the world changed, I was in Nashville, Tennessee for the National Conference on Higher Education in Prisons, where I was struck by a realization that my experiences here in California were quite different from those of my colleagues in other states. The most poignant example came in a workshop I took with Reforming Arts of Georgia. The facilitators asked us to share something about the place we come from. We started with the concrete — geography, neighborhood — and gradually moved into more nuanced areas — identity, values — and, as each person shared, those who agreed with the statement or had had similar experiences moved to a new spot. Continue reading

Making White Supremacy Respectable. Again.

By Katherine Franke

Last Friday, two tweets were posted to my feed within minutes of each other. David Duke tweeted: “Bannon, Flynn, Sessions – Great!  Senate must demand that Sessions as AG stop the massive institutional racism against whites!” (Yes, I follow David Duke on Twitter — I now follow many right wing sites, I learn more from them than I do from the echo chamber of Facebook), and the New York Times tweeted out Mark Lilla’s opinion piece, “The End of Identity Liberalism.”  In the new political climate we now inhabit, Duke and Lilla were contributing to the same ideological project, the former cloaked in a KKK hood, the latter in an academic gown.  Both men are underwriting the whitening of American nationalism, and the re-centering of white lives as lives that matter most in the U.S.  Duke is happy to own the white supremacy of his statements, while Lilla’s op-ed does the more nefarious background work of making white supremacy respectable.  Again. Continue reading

The Politics of Parading

By Emmanuel Ordóñez Angulo

Almost everyone knows Oscar Wilde’s dictum that “life imitates art far more than art imitates life” — and almost everyone believes anything that escaped from Oscar Wilde’s lips. So why was almost everyone so vexed by what happened in Mexico City early this month? The city’s government organized the first-ever Day of the Dead parade very much reproducing the at-the-time fictional parade featured in the opening of the most recent 007 film Spectre. Life imitating art, by definition — or, at least, reality imitating fiction. Continue reading

A Call to White Allies

By Sophie Browner

A beautiful thing has happened. In the ten days since Donald Trump was elected as president, a new rhetoric has emerged to counter the neofascism that the people who voted him into office have seemingly normalized. On Wednesday of this week, I organized a protest with several members of my community against Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist. For those not familiar with Bannon’s background, he is the executive chairman of Breitbart News, a conservative American commentary website. To give you a sense of Breitbart’s politics, previous headlines featured on the site: “Hoist it High and Proud: The Confederatre Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage”; “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”…You get the point. Bannon refers to himself as a member of the “alt-right,” which critics have rightfully picked up as a euphemism for white nationalism. Continue reading

Election Reflections at Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago

By Hannah Harris Green

Public radio, as a field of employment, attracts a certain personality. It calls to a person who wants to be heard, but not recognized; who is interested in other people but still might be happier communicating with strangers from the isolation of a studio or behind the buffer of a microphone than meeting them at an actual social event. This makes radio networking events awkward at first; a room filled with shy, but deeply earnest, people can take a while to warm up. Continue reading

Shocked Silent

By Rubén Martinez

I write these words with a profound sense of the altered order of things, the subjectivity of rupture and woundedness that we have plunged into. I register shock, sadness, anger, pain, fear, helplessness. And also, strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, a sense of wonder, similar to the feeling that comes from walking down a street you’ve never been on before, being surrounded by a language that you don’t speak, a first encounter with a stranger. Continue reading

Why “Race Riot”? On the Need to Change a Misleading Term

By Steve Light

In memory of Thelma Foote, ever in affection and gratitude.

Among events known as race riots in U.S. history, the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, i.e. the destruction by whites of the African-American district of Greenwood, is among the most calamitous, albeit that all such events are immeasurably calamitous. But knowledge of and about this event from the moment of its occurrence until recent times was willfully suppressed in Tulsa and in the country as a whole. Continue reading