When I was in law school, I was shocked to learn that many of my classmates felt that Americans couldn’t be Nazis or terrorists because we are different. Clearly, Americans can be white supremacists but, it appears that they are psychologically different. What makes them different is dehumanizing others. A recent study suggests that, to American white supremacists, white people, Americans, and men are all human. Just about everyone else, but mostly Muslims, feminists, journalists, and Democrats, are subhuman. This is the trick the Nazis used (equating Jews with rats) and slaveowners used (equating slaves with monkeys) to justify and enable cruelty. Can this knowledge help us combat this evil? Perhaps by emphasizing the universal humanity of all people we could prevent those on the edge from sliding into dehumanization?
Lots of people, but especially men, are really lonely. And lonely men are more likely to become violent, especially towards women. So it is in everyone’s interest to help men make friends. One trick: just let teenage boys know it’s actually normal to have close friendships.
If you can stomach more stories about rampant, unchecked, current sexism, read Ellen Pao’s story.
On a happier note, Peter Barnes was on the Universal Basic Income podcast talking about the carbon dividend as a foothold towards a universal income.
Don’t miss Jacqueline Patterson and Bill McKibben in conversation in Yes! Magazine. She is the inspired, insightful, wise and razor sharp director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. He’s the quintessential (and brilliant, beloved, compelling) white guy climate crusader. He’s looking to her for a vision of a just transition and she sketches the basic contours.
My phone has pretty much ruined me, I’ll admit. So, it’s not surprising, but still sad and shocking, to read that a whole young generation could have been significantly altered by the smartphone too: “More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.” The Atlantic feature is a must read for anybody who can’t tear away from the screen. h/t JCD.
You might have seen this New York Times article in today’s Daily edition but I just need to highlight it again. New research reaffirms how redlining’s racist effects lasted for decades and how it still lives on today. The Times also points out how redlining has long-term effects on family wealth, as people who weren’t able to buy a home never developed the equity that would allow their children (and grandchildren) to buy homes.
“The new research reaffirms the role of government policy in shaping racial disparities in America in access to housing, credit and wealth accumulation. And as the country grapples with the blurred lines between past racism and present-day outcomes, this new data illustrates how such history lives on.”
On the same topic, the Nation published a piece with a very descriptive (and infuriating) title, The Average Black Family Would Need 228 Years to Build the Wealth of a White Family Today. Americans develop a lot of their net worth through homeownership and that accumulated wealth is a mechanism for transmitting economic success from generation to generation (as I mentioned above). But what if institutionalized discrimination (redlining! blockbusting!) didn’t allow you to build that wealth? Plus 400 years of slavery and segregation… and current exclusionary policies that help widen the racial wealth gap. UGH.
And here’s a long read, but worth your time! The Century Foundation released a report titled An Economic Fair Housing Act, which includes an extensive discussion on exclusionary zoning, income and racial segregation. (The report even mentions Margaret’s article on Seattle zoning rules and school segregation.)
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Both the Nation piece and Century Foundation report mention the book The Color of Law, which looks at how segregation in America is the byproduct of explicit government policies—like redlining. I haven’t read it yet, so I can’t make any recommendations… but looking forward to getting my paws on a copy!
Using my authority as Sightline’s policy director, I am hereby revoking the Guardian’s license to write about sports. In an otherwise good article about the growing trend of national anthem protests related to American racism, they said that the Cleveland Browns were the first team to have white NFL players finally joining in. Not true, Guardian. Three days before that game, Seahawks center Justin Britt joined defensive end (and my second-favorite player) Michael Bennett in protest. Bennett has emerged as a remarkably forceful and thoughtful champion of progressive politics, including systemic mistreatment of people of color in the United States. After a press interview the week prior in which he said that the movement need support from white people, Britt took up the cause. (He was actually the second white player after the Eagles’ Chris Long.)
And, in what should be surprising but isn’t, an NFL lineman now officially has a more nuanced view of race than the President. Here’s what Britt told the Seattle Times:
“It was something me and my wife talked about and discussed, and we both wanted to show support to Mike,” said Britt, a native of Lebanon, Mo. “I talked to him before, made sure it was all right with him, and of course it was. I feel like what I did, I believe in it, and I’m going to continue to educate myself and try to understand why things are going on.
Added Britt: “I want to support him. I want to support what he’s standing for and his beliefs. I’m not foolish. I’m from Missouri. I get things are different in that area than it is in some other areas. I’m not against what the flag means and veterans. My dad was in the Army. I’m not putting any disrespect to them. I’m just trying to understand the issues, trying to educate myself more in that regard and showing support. I’m going to continue to understand what’s going on in the world and why it’s happening, because none of it’s right. None of it is what should be happening. I’m going to continue talking with Mike and exploring and just helping myself understand things. I’m wanted to take a first step tonight, and that’s what I felt I did.”
In another follow-up to our series on Chlorpyrifos, the New York Times recently reported, based on over 700 pages of internal agency documents that the Times obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in the weeks before making his fateful decision on the pesticide, met with farm industry representatives and promised them that he was listening to their pleas not to ban the dangerous pesticide.
In the meantime, the Environmental Working Group maintains a page advising consumers what foods to avoid if they want to protect themselves and their families from Chlorpyrifos. That same page contains a link to a petition that citizens can sign to ask retailers to stop buying and supplying foods that may contain that pesticide. Earthjustice also invites co-signers to its petition to ban not only Chlorpyrifos, but all other neurotoxic organophosphate pesticides, in the same chemical class, to protect farm workers, their families, and food and water consumers. (For that matter, there is still time to sign onto the Earthjustice petition asking EPA to retain the Clean Water Rule that the Obama administration issued.)
In another report on the “Greed and Corruption” category, the New Yorker reported on “corporate raider” Carl Icahn’s attempts to use his influence with the Trump administration for self-enrichment. Nearly a week before the article ran, Icahn announced his resignation as special advisor to the White House on regulatory reform. That same august magazine also ran a balanced profile on Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks. Among other topics, the article explained why Edward Snowden chose to release his material on National Security Agency (NSA) spying to news organizations rather than Wikileaks.