Dear Trump Voters,
I’ve seen a lot of you being very angry at being assumed a racist. I’ve seen you claiming you love everybody and believe your “rough around the edges” candidate really does too, and you were voting based on economics or sticking it to the establishment.
Let’s say for a minute that the rest of us take you at your word that you do not believe you are racist or hateful. Continue reading
They are at it again. The same folks in the wealthier part of Western Albany who don’t want to provide a decent building to educate our children in also don’t like that a church in their neighborhood was participating in a regional effort to help families without homes via a day time outreach program hosted in a church parsonage. Neighborhood ne’er do well and perennial candidate Joe Sullivan, pursuing his vision of segregation and protection from scary people down on their luck, managed to luck into a judge who decided to overturn the zoning decision based on a technicality about whether a parsonage is actually a house of worship. Chris Churchill at the Times Union is right that this was a bad decision; I hope Family Promise and Bethany Reformed Church do appeal.
Wow, You Said That Out Loud
But the controversy also provided a disturbing look at how many residents of wealthier, whiter, single-family-home neighborhoods seem to feel that they deserve the right to decide who can enter those neighborhoods just by virtue of owning homes there. (Yes, I read the comments, so help me God.) They are startlingly direct about it: They feel that anything serving people poorer than they are should be considered a noxious use for the purposes of zoning and banned from their “nice” neighborhood. Continue reading
Charlie Kraebel, managing editor of the Troy Record and the Saratogian had a little “showing his true colors” accident in an opinion column this weekend, in which he was mighty distressed at the launching of the Upstate NY Black Lives Matter chapter. Before you read it, I recommend having a cushion nearby for when you feel the desire to bang your head on something hard.
He has basically three main arguments: First, that black people can’t demand that cops stop killing them for no reason until crime committed by black people against other black people is eradicated. Second, that Black Lives Matter activists don’t really care about Dontay Ivy’s family, just their dastardly agenda. And third, that the Black Lives Matter movement nationally has been all about causing riots and defending “thugs.”
Let’s take these one at a time. Continue reading
On Monday, Jan 25., I joined the group of protestors who disrupted the beginning of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s state of the city speech. It was a very powerful, really well organized action, a demonstration of a community coming together and insisting on being heard. That latter bit is more important than how the mayor reacted. (Hear more from the organizers here.)
However, she did engage the crowd for a while, and a bunch of things have been rattling around in my head about what she said. I wanted to spell them out, especially for people who don’t really understand why what she said met with negative reactions. Continue reading
Want to be that one person who bootstraps themselves out of poverty and makes it, against all odds? Not if Facebook has anything to do with it. Continue reading
“Pull up your pants already.” “All these guys with their pants around their knees, waddling…”
Hey look, it’s the fashion police. Seems like everyone has something to say about sagging pants, from the president to the mayor of Dallas, who took out billboards to say it. Now Newton, N.J., is the latest town to try to ban sagging.
News flash, everyone: fashion trends look dumb. And sometimes they limit your movement in stupid ways.
But listen up close: Continue reading
Some people are a little bit upset about the city of Albany’s decision to install red light cameras.
OK, perhaps I am understating a little bit. Many people—most, from my unscientific survey, though not all, white men—are apoplectic. Continue reading
I am glad the Confederate Flag is coming down in so many places. I am also glad that the attention on it has allowed its actual history as a explicit symbol of race hatred and resistance to civil rights and desegregation, rather than a battle flag, to become more widely known. It is good that we having an opportunity to clear up the “it was about states rights” lie, even if some politicians are avoiding it.
I have been more uncomfortable with the number of people in my own social networks who have been arguing that one of the reasons that the flag should come down is that it is a symbol of treason and after all, “the South lost!” Continue reading
Grief lasts a lot longer than anger. Anger burns itself out, but grief comes in steady waves.
When I look around at the tremendous outpouring of #BlackLivesMatter activism of these past weeks, of I Can’t Breathe marches, of schoolchildren and congressional aides walking out and dying in, athletes speaking up, and beautiful acts of bravery and solidarity, I see a movement fueled by grief first. The anger is there too, of course, as it damn well should be, and it is powerful and articulate. But I see the staying power of this as being driven by a deep well of grief, and I think that’s likely part of its power. Continue reading
Don’t tell anyone, but I recently abandoned my longstanding resistance to both podcasts and NPR and binge-listened to a bunch of Planet Money episodes on a couple of bus and plane trips where I couldn’t really focus my eyes on a screen. There was one about the difference in attitudes toward absenteeism in Northern and Southern Italy. Somewhat astoundingly, the most credible argument for why there is this difference extends back hundreds and hundreds of years. Continue reading