What do the Identity Evropa banner in St. Cloud, an anti-Islam protest in Texas, and a Russian Facebook account have in common? Each of them uses social media deceptively, in an attempt to increase hatred and division in American communities.
Identity Evropa is the white nationalist group that marched in Charlotte this summer, with violence that killed one counter-protester. In St. Cloud, the Identity Evropa hate-mongers hung their anti-immigrant banner over MN Highway 23 in the dark of night, on December 23. St. Cloud police saw the banner and took it down before it saw the light of day. Continue reading
If you have spent the last five days reading and watching and thinking about Charlottesville and the quiet heroism of Heather Heyer and the blatantly in-your-face racism of Unite The Right and the stupidly incoherent racism of the president of the United States, you probably won’t find anything new here. I cannot find anything new to say, but I feel compelled to summarize facts as the president tells lies. That’s a small enough thing to do, but it seems to be all I can do to keep faith with the people who stood up to racism and hate and with a young woman whose life was senselessly taken away by that racism and hate. Continue reading
Mr. Phil. That’s what the kids at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul called Philando Castile. A parent called him “Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks.” Will he be remembered as the cafeteria supervisor who gave out hugs and food and love to “his” kids? Or will he be remembered as one more name in the unending litany of black men and women killed by police? Continue reading
American citizens have an absolute right to religious freedom – to choose and practice any religion or none at all. Today, U.S. officials target Muslim Americans in airports and haters target them in our streets and cities. This is not normal. This is un-American. We need to stand in solidarity with Muslim Americans and stop the bigotry and hatred.
Muhammed ibn Ali is the son of the late Mohammed Ali, heavyweight world boxing champion (three times), famous as well for his political stands, including opposition to the Vietnam War. Muhammed ibn Ali is a U.S. citizen, born and raised here. As a U.S. citizen, he has an absolute right to travel freely in and out of the country. Yet, when he returned to the United States with his mother after attending a Black History Month event in Jamaica, U.S. immigration officials stopped him and questioned him for more than two hours. Continue reading
In Kansas, an anti-immigrant terrorist killed one man and shot two others this week. In Florida and in Texas, arsonists burned mosques in January and February. Dozens of Jewish Community Centers have received bomb threats over the past two months, and two Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized in the past week. In each case, people have responded, fighting back against terrorism and hate. We need to acknowledge the hatred and bigotry that exists in our country. We need to name these actions as terrorism. We also need to recognize the responses of Americans rejecting that terrorism. We need to insist that we are the majority, not the haters, not the bigots, not the terrorists. This is our country, and we will not let them take it away. Continue reading
Today the bomb threat came to the Jewish Community Center in St. Paul. That’s where our children went to preschool. That’s where they learned to swim, and where we splashed and laughed together in the swimming pool. That’s where we attended plays and made friends and went to parenting groups. Do you see why this bomb threat seems personal? Do you know that this is one of dozens of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers across the country, ten today alone, dozens in the past two months? Continue reading
I’m white. You’re white, too, and you tell me, “They’re always playing the race card.” You don’t believe that race is as important as “they” say it is. You believe that discrimination might happen somewhere, some time, but not that often. Please – listen to these voices. Hear what they say. Continue reading
Police reform is simultaneously vitally important and relatively useless. Vitally significant: as Ijeoma Oluo demands, we need to work for police reform “every day like your life depends on it – ours actually does.” And relatively useless, because policing in America is embedded in and represents a culture and society that remain deeply racist and that culture and society must change or no police reform will succeed. Continue reading
We need police reform, but, bottom line: police reform is not enough. Just like passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act or the 1965 Voting Rights Act was not enough. Not enough — because reforming police practices, policies, training will not end racism. But saying police reform is not enough does not mean that such reform is not needed, not essential, not potentially life-saving. Police reform is not THE solution, but reforms are some of the necessary steps along the road to solutions. Continue reading
Never thought I’d agree with Newt Gingrich, but … today he said that “normal white Americans” don’t understand “being black in America” and that they “under-estimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk.”
“Normal white Americans” can and must try to understand more. Trying to understand is not about trying to help black people. Trying to understand is about recognizing that we are all in this together — together in this community, in this city, state, country, world. Continue reading