What I Look at on the Internet

Merriam-Webster on the 4th of July

annfriedman:

Last year a non-American asked if I consider myself patriotic. After many ums and ahs and caveats, I said yes. I told him that I feel about America the way I feel about family: I didn’t choose it, I can’t control or endorse everything it does, but I do love it.

This is an important 4th of July distinction:

pa·tri·ot·ism: love that people feel for their country

na·tion·al·ism: a feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries

jin·go·ism: the feelings and beliefs of people who think that their country is always right and who are in favor of aggressive acts against other countries

Patriotism doesn’t ask that you establish a hierarchy and rank your country above others. Patriotism doesn’t demand your pride or even your loyalty. Patriotism doesn’t require aggressive demonstrations of your power. Patriotism is just love. And that, for all of America’s flaws, is something I feel.

Last Night I Saw Ta-Nehisi Coates Speak at Sixth&I

The Event: (video of the event)

Just days before the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Ta-Nehisi Coates, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, will sit down with Jeffrey Goldberg to discuss Coates’ provocative June cover story making the case for reparations. The product of nearly two years of reporting, the piece argues that a debt has accrued after centuries of slavery – a debt that has only been deepened by segregation, discrimination, and racist housing policies that persist to this day.

… This hour-long interview will focus on Coates’ reporting journey, why he focused his investigation on Chicago’s West Side, and what the public response to his story says about the country’s readiness to contend with the consequences of our history of racism.​

Points he brought up that made me think:

  • One point that he was very insistent on, that I appreciated, was that everyone has their role to play in a democracy. He explained his role as a journalist to research and introduce/publicize ideas, the role of activists to build movement, and then the role of politicians. I thought it was a very interesting way of thinking about it — everyone having their own niche and playing their own role — and I think I agree with it.
  • This point particularly came across for politicians. That while they are human beings with their own personal feelings and experiences, they are representatives of their location and all the people in it and the history of it. This was in particular to people like Mayor Nutter telling black boys to pull up their pants.
  • "We’ll give you slavery, but now we need to address the terrorism of the 20th century"
  • When people keep pointing out how much better black people are than they used to be, that is a moot point. So are almost every group of people (women and voting, poverty isn’t an immediate death sentence, etc). So, if the bar is are you better than you were 100 years ago, then there is no need for any domestic policy.
  • We don’t even know how much we don’t know — this is a case for a large study to be done, and for how much so many people who are debating this (or so many other issues) actually don’t know enough to be having these debates. This is especially the truth for white people — the privilege of ignorance.
  • He states that retributions would be paid out by the government — I agree that it shouldn’t just be every white person handing every black person a check, but.. (see questions)
  • The comparison to the retributions paid by Germany came up (and how some of the money was used to be terrible to Palestinians). Through this context, he made the point that the point is retributions to right a past injustice and that what happens next, if unjust, does not negate the justice that preceded it. I don’t necessarily agree with this. I think it is really complicated and I want to think about it more.
  • His answer to asking if he still likes/is proud of the US was wonderful - this is home, you have to love it, and work to make it better
    Critical Love as patriotism is very important to me
  • He also addressed questions of feasibility and practicality really well - “this is a nation of innovation… the country that created the atom bomb and the erie canal..”
    If this was something that people wanted to be done, this country could do it.

My Questions [if I had been able to ask them]:

  • The focus of the piece is on housing policy because the players are mostly all still alive and there would be more clear retributions and amounts evident. However a lot of terrible things that have been done to African Americans are still within this or the past generation. There are people still alive today that were at the lynching picnics. It’s not a mystery of who they are, there are tons of published photos. Can punishing those crimes not be a part of retributions? Is there a statute of limitations on murder? Is reversing the history of selectively enforcing the law retributive? Or is this just a completely different topic and can be addressed with “retributions will not fix everything, but they will fix some things”?
  • Also, companies that profited or were founded off of the backs of slave labor? Like the entire cotton industry? Or all of these companies and individuals that he discusses in the article who held the housing contracts? Should they not pay direct retributions?
  • Ta-Nehisi clearly did a lot of research and wrote an incredible article. This is bringing an idea I knew very little about (as did many) to light and the forefront of many discussions. However, he has only been working on this for about 4 years. He may not be the person to answer these questions. Who is? Who are the leaders on this who have been working or studying this for decades? I know they exist, but who are they and what do they think?

What I need to do next/look into:

  • The Debt (book, 1999)
  • Current rent to own policy and how it relates to contracts and furthers racism?
  • What is the story he mentioned of Woodrow Wilson firing all blacks?
  • Blacks and unemployment and social security policy?
  • 1864 Lincoln Inauguration Speech - read it
  • Henry Weinsteck on Washington on Slavery (book)
  • Steven Glass Taxi Cab article on race
  • Wilkinson book
  • McPherson article on “southern race”
  • Find answers to my questions

This article and this event have made me think a lot and taught me a lot about a subject I knew very little about. It can’t stop here. Now is the time for self-education and I need to not just forget this a week for now.

It is as though we have run up a credit-card bill and, having pledged to charge no more, remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear. The effects of that balance, interest accruing daily, are all around us.

The Case for Reparations | Ta-Nehisi Coates | The Atlantic | May 21, 2014

The peril of hipster economics

"Lee tells me he has his own plan to try to mitigate the negative effects of gentrification, which he calls "50-50-20-15". All employers who launch businesses in gentrifying neighbourhoods should have a workforce that is at least 50 percent minorities, 50 percent people from the local neighbourhood, and 20 percent ex-offenders. The employees should be paid at least $15 per hour."

And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate… I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we aren’t moving wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who loves has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.

—Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go From Here?, delivered at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, August 16, 1967.

normalheart-history:

After most performances of the 2011 Broadway run of The Normal Heart, you could find Larry Kramer outside the theater, handing out this leaflet. 

normalheart-history:

After most performances of the 2011 Broadway run of The Normal Heart, you could find Larry Kramer outside the theater, handing out this leaflet. 

(via thispopculture)

Mass murderers want glory and fame. Somehow, we need to stop giving it to them.

shortformblog:

The first—and last—word on Elliot Rodger, as written eloquently by Ezra Klein:

Learn more about the victims over this way.

nprbooks:

NPR’s education team hand-picked more than 300 commencement speeches dating back to 1774 and compiled them into a database that’s searchable by name, school, year and theme.

Here, to whet your appetite, is a selection of commencement quotes from writerly types. If you like what you read, there’s plenty more where that came from.

This is really great. I love commencement talks, they are almost always so positive and pretty different from the typical thing that the person says.

(via npr)