Monday, June 22, 2015


Over the weekend, the social media was filled with Father's Day good wishes, photographs of people's fathers posted on Facebook, and articles and reflections on the tragic shootings in Charleston.

A couple of FB friends shared this good essay by a Civil War historian, "I Will Not Argue About the Confederate Flag," which criticizes the idea that the flag is not a racist symbol but "really" about state's rights, regional heritage, etc.

The New York Times has also reported debates about the flag: Four writers discuss the issue in a forum:

The weekend NYT had a good story, "A Hectic Day at Church, and then a Hellish Visitor Arrives."

This NYT piece, "From Ferguson to Charleston and Beyond, Anguish About Race Keeps Building," sums up the feelings of many of us. "America is living through a moment of racial paradox. Never in its history have black people been more fully represented in the public sphere. The United States has a black president and a glamorous first lady who is a descendant of slaves. African-Americans lead the country’s pop culture in many ways...It has become commonplace to refer to the generation of young people known as millennials as 'post-racial. Black culture has become so mainstream that a woman born to white parents who had claimed to be black almost broke the Internet last week by saying that she was 'transracial.' Yet in many ways, the situation of black America is dire…"

And a piece by Paul Krugman. "America is a much less racist nation than it used to be, and I’m not just talking about the still remarkable fact that an African-American occupies the White House. The raw institutional racism that prevailed before the civil rights movement ended Jim Crow is gone, although subtler discrimination persists. Individual attitudes have changed, too, dramatically in some cases. ...Yet racial hatred is still a potent force in our society, as we’ve just been reminded to our horror. And I’m sorry to say this, but the racial divide is still a defining feature of our political economy, the reason America is unique among advanced nations in its harsh treatment of the less fortunate and its willingness to tolerate unnecessary suffering among its citizens. Of course, saying this brings angry denials from many conservatives, so let me try to be cool and careful here, and cite some of the overwhelming evidence for the continuing centrality of race in our national politics…"

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