Michelle Obama had the audacity to say that slaves helped build the White House and the Fox News crowd flipped out. Bill O’Reilly quickly pointed out that the slaves were well-fed and had “decent lodgings.” I suppose Bill felt that them being slaves was not in and of itself problematic. The rush to downplay the First Lady’s comments shows how uncomfortable we are with our past. It is a past that FLOTUS barely scratched the surface on; she left out that not only did slaves build the White House but this entire country was in fact built on the backs of slaves. From our institutes of higher learning to the financial sector, we have enslaved Africans to thank for it all. Acknowledging that bothers us as a country and disturbs the delusion that our “Protestant Work Ethic” is the root of our prosperity. The First Lady removed one small stone from a mountain of delusion that must come down.
Yes, Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President. Yes, he is the same man who says utterly ridiculous, xenophobic and misogynistic things on the hour. No, he has never pretended to offer any substantive policy proposals to fix anything and yet here we are. Amazingly, Trump did not get here by force nor through some extortionist scheme. Millions of people actually went out to primaries and willingly voted for him. We keep pretending that isn’t true and ignoring this inconvenient fact will be our downfall. We are a nation stupid enough, ignorant enough and hateful enough to vote for this man. Defeating him this fall won’t fix that problem.
At the core of the nation’s struggle between law enforcement and police reform is the issue of race. The issue is largely black and white, quite literally. With each police shooting race flares; routinely the broad cry of “racial reconciliation” surfaces in some form as a solution to the specific problem of policing. But the rift between black communities and law enforcement cannot be solved in that way. Racial reconciliation between blacks and whites–including largely white power structures like law enforcement– in America is simply not possible and time wasted. To “reconcile” means to make friendly again. Reconciliation requires us to have been friends, have a falling out and then get back together. In the American context, when were blacks and whites ever friends? If we are to make progress on the issue of race and ultimately police reform, we must scrap the quest for reconciliation and chart a completely new course.
Philando Castile was shot dead not long after Alton Sterling. I’m angry but not towards white people or the millions that will (predictably) justify murdering these two men. I’m angry because black people are not angry enough to make a change. Our anger is sufficient to vent on social media and perhaps protest, although deep down we know it won’t change a damn thing. But are we angry enough to sacrifice and radically alter our lives for freedom? Are we angry enough that every move we make and dollar we spend will be toward black power? If not, shut the hell up and go back to watching Hulu.
I have no clue who who Mirza Teletovic is but he’ll make $10 million a year now. I can’t tell you who Evan Fournier is, either. He’s averaged only 11 points, 2 assists and 2 rebounds a game for his career but now he’ll be making $17 million annually. The NBA’s new, increased salary cap is sending salaries through the roof for players who barely bring value to their teams, let alone society.