Thursday, May 1, 2014

Brief Takes from Week's News: Race Matters

Brief takes from the week's news on race matters (and on how race matters), in light of the stories of Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling (which is to say, brief takes on the interplay of race, gender, class, and politics in American culture today):

Until the Right in this country agrees to drop its "post-racial" pretensions for a moment and makes a real effort to come to terms with the negative social effects of its divide-and-conquer "Southern Strategy" politics, we'll continue to limp along from one new dog whistle to the next, all the while enabling the plutocrats to push through their agenda even in a time of robber-baron levels of inequality.

And if those conservative, white Southern male voters ever wake up to the fact that their enemies aren’t feminazis, African-Americans or Latinos and figure out just who it is who’s really keeping them down, I’m quite sure the Democrats would be proud to have them back in the fold. Until then Bubba’s going to be the heart and soul of the GOP. He’s their problem now.

Chief Justice Roberts harrumphed in reply. Justice Scalia ridiculed her reasoning. Yet I have a hunch Sotomayor’s dissent will be read and taught in classrooms long after the names Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy have faded from historical memory.

Chief Justice John Roberts has to wonder if the universe is talking back to him after the Supreme Court last week struck down affirmative action in Michigan, relying on his fatuous 2007 declaration that "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

And so it goes in the nation with the soul of a church, this May day morning in the year of Our Lord 2014.

The graphic: a protest held against school integration in 1959 at the state capitol building in my hometown of Little Rock. The partly obscured sign in the middle reads, "Stop the Race Mixing March of the Anti-Christ." The photo is in Library of Congress's U.S. News and World Report collection, and is at Wikimedia Commons.

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