MLK holiday just a three-day weekend?

by Jane Briggs-Bunting

Today is a national holiday to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the famed civil rights leader.

Government buildings are closed, the post office is closed, most K-12 schools are closed and many universities cancel classes for the day.

The idea behind the holiday was so people could focus on the good works of Dr. King.

Years ago, when I was a faculty member at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, students had protested the fact that campus remained open and classes, except for two hours midday, met, as usual. Top level administrators responding to student pressure decided to change the calendar and cancel classes. The only one objecting was then-Vice President Wilma Ray Bledsoe, the only African American (and, I believe, woman) on the cabinet at that time. Continue reading

Nota Bene #119: Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet

“My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” Who said it? Continue reading

This is not about Tiger Woods. It's about Billy Payne. And Augusta National. And sexism. And racism.

You may have caught the story last week. Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne stomped the balls off Tiger Woods for … well, if you need to be told what for, then you probably don’t know who Tiger Woods is in the first place. Or Billy Payne. And you probably don’t know what the Master’s is, or where Augusta is, and you may not even have heard of “golf.” So you can safely skip ahead to the next article.

Are Billy’s remarks about Tiger true? Maybe. Probably. Are they in-bounds, given what Augusta is? Sure – why not? Continue reading

America's Negro Cracker Problem: none of us are free

Part two in a series.

There’s a rising tide on the rivers of blood
But if the answer isn’t violence, neither is your silence

– Pop Will Eat Itself, “Ich Bin Ein Auslander”

When all is said and done, nothing communicates the racism and knee-buckling stupidity of all-too-wide swaths of our nation quite like video. So if you don’t trust me to tell the truth about these folks, maybe you’ll trust their own words.

Continue reading

America's Negro Cracker Problem: Ich bin ein Auslander

Part one in a series.

Listen to the victim, abused by the system
The basis is racist, you know that we must face this

In 1991 Pop Will Eat Itself produced one of the most damning comments on racism in society in the history of popular music. “Ich Bin Ein Auslander” was specifically aimed at anti-immigrant racism in Europe, but over the past 17 years it’s been impossible for me to hear the song without mapping its penetrating, undeniable truth onto our American context. Our black auslanders aren’t recent arrivals (although many of our brown ones are), but they nonetheless remain social, political, economic and cultural outsiders, and whatever progress they may have made in the several hundred years since they first arrived in shackles, only a fool can believe that the basis is no longer racist.

I said some time back, as the presidential election lurched into overdrive, that the heavy racist stuff was coming. Continue reading

A memory from the day Martin Luther King, Jr. died

by JS O’Brien

When I first heard, I was jubilant.  For a 10-year-old white kid living in a South we all thought was under siege, hearing that Martin Luther King was dead was like hearing that Satan had converted and joined the Southern Methodist Church.  The ogre was dead.

We were safe.

Very quickly, we learned that we needed to fear again.  My county was about 50% black, and seemingly all of them were set to converge on the courthouse square of my little town.  They were then set to march down the main street and US highway that ran right past my house.

My father was away from the area, working, so my mother told me to get all the guns in the house, load them, and be prepared to protect her and my sister if they stormed the house.  I sat by the front door when they marched by.  I sat there, trembling, surrounded by my single-shot .22 rifle with the sawed-off stock to fit my skinny shoulder, the lever-action .30-.30 carbine, and the .38 police special revolver.  The safeties were off.  I didn’t know how quickly I might have to fire.  I didn’t think I could stop them, but I could take a few with me.

All they did was sing and walk.

How to use Reagan's words

Thanks to Guest Scrogue Natasha Chart for this piece.

This is how Democrats should use Reagan’s words. To give credit where it’s due, Obama’s speech this past Sunday at MLK’s own Ebenezer Baptist church lifted Reaganesque language and put it in a progressive context that I can only applaud. Emphasis mine:

… I’m talking about a moral deficit. I’m talking about an empathy deficit. I’m taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother’s keeper; we are our sister’s keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.

Continue reading