The Racial Divide on Sneakers

Jordans and Chucks come from the same originary sneaker, a canvas plimsoll from the mid-19th century. Both are named after basketball stars (one black, one white, we might note). So why is the former Jay-Z and the latter Dylan? How did the first become associated with black street culture and the second with white-dominated hipsterism? And what happens when said mostly-white hipsters decide they want to wear dunks too — as they did in the mid-2000s, for about 10 minutes?

Read more. [Image: Nike, Air Jordan]

Romney’s on the Run

Choosing a successful line of attack for a political campaign is a lot like being a doctor: You press until it hurts, then you know where to look. The Obama campaign is pressing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney right where it hurts–hard. His time at Bain Capital.

Read more of my post at 

From the Politics Blog I Ran When I Was 16


I’m a young man full of contradictions.  I love Lady GaGa and Politics and believe in equality.

Yup. Totally credible political commentator. 

Black people are so rude.

Tim Padgett of Time Magazine thinks the NAACP has a relevancy problem. He also believes they lack civility—Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was booed by the organization Wednesday in Houston after he mentioned he would repeal Obamacare if elected.

According to Padgett, the NAACP is no different than Senator Joe Wilson, who last summer shouted “You lie!” during a speech delivered by President Obama. He argues the organization is guilty of a double standard because they passed a resolution stating they would engage in and promote civil discourse. They took a pledge, for Christ’s sake.

This double standard, however, relies on the interpretation of the NAACP’s actions as uncivil rather than reacting to a sly tormentor. 

Romney, however, was civil. 

Or so Padgett seems to believe.  The mark of a civil discourse is rhetoric saturated with disingenuous statements, like this one:

 “If you want a President who’ll make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him. Take a look!”

The taunting of Romney goes completely unremarked in his essay, nor does he analyze Romney’s intentions in delivering a speech to an organization he knows to be hostile to him. Instead of critically examining Romney’s ploy, Pudgett beleives now is as a good a time as any to play the balance game! The game where you go tit-for-tat, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, the game where you rewrite history. 

Pudgett’s ill-founded desire for a balanced dialogue culimates in this statement that leaves one dumbfounded:

But he said he accepted the NAACP’s invitation because he hopes to “represent all Americans,” and even if you consider that a disingenuous sentiment on his part, it too is in keeping with a spirit of civil discourse.

…and even if you consider that a disingenuous sentiment on his part, it too is in keeping with a spirit of civil discourse.

If civility is being disingenuous, if a civil discourse is one in which being polite is more valued than being honest, then you can keep your civil bull.

I love Obama, I really do

But I always feel so conflicted as I make this declaration.  How do I love this black man who has overseen the escalation of the use of unmanned drones that have destroyed droves of brown bodies? women. children. innocents.

I place no extraordinary burden upon his shoulders, no “brotha, be Titan and hold up the entire mass that is people of color.” See, that shit is asking too much.

But I do ask, of a man who has spent time in: Indonesia, Hawaii, Kenya, New York, D.C. …Chicago, who knows who people of color from all over live, to not wipe out their children. women. innocents.

But I do ask, of this beautiful human being, with a beautiful black family, to stop the decimation of people of color in North Africa. In the Middle East.

I don’t think that’s asking too much at all.


Do we still need the Voting Rights Act?
Jeffrey Toobin’s take via The New Yorker

From the article: 

It’s a hard case. “Things have changed in the South,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., wrote in the 2009 opinion that put off the Voting Rights Act’s day of reckoning. “Voter turnout and registration rates now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.” All true, to be sure. One might also add that the President of the United States, who won office with the Electoral College votes of Virginia and North Carolina, is African-American. In this way, the United States of 2012 is an almost unrecognizable version of the country in 1965.

Bold mine.  This case essentially will hinge on whether or not the Supreme Court believes racism in America has been diluted enough to warrant the erasure of section 5. of this law—which requires states of the old Confederacy to submit changes of their voting laws to the federal government.
A lot of things have changed in America for African Americans, surely.  But, a lot of things remain the same. Black bodies are still viewed as disposable.  Black minds are still viewed as worthless—look at the state of public education. And with new laws like those requiring ID to vote—which will disproportionately impact people of color and the elderly—it’s clear that we’re less dynamic than we think here in ol’ America. 

On the front page of the New York Times today

Whites now account for 49.6% of births in the United States:

Such a turn has been long expected, but no one was certain when the moment would arrive — signaling a milestone for a nation whose government was founded by white Europeans and has wrestled mightily with issues of race, from the days of slavery, through a civil war, bitter civil rights battles and, most recently, highly charged debates over efforts to restrict immigration.

If that’s what you want to call it. 

The article goes on to highlight the gap between whites and people of color in regards to the level of education attained, largely to make the point that the fastest growing portion of the population also has been unable to receive the best education available. They don’t come out and say why—I mean, come on, it’s the New York Times.

Would a change in the demographics of America alter the dispersion of power within the country though? Does having more people of color present within a country mean that more political power, more economic power, more cultural capital will also be in the hands of people of color? 

I am wary to make such a claim.  The population of people of color in this nation has been rising steadily for centuries, our presence has been increasing yet economic and political power hasn’t quite been extended to us. Granted, the population of white people was also rising at a similar rate for much of the nation’s history.

But I think such an entrenched power structure—one where whites have a 400 year head start—will take more than babies of multiple hues to dismantle 

On the front page of the New York Times today

is an article written by Matthew Rosenberg explaining that 2012 has seen an increase of “green on blue” attacks, or Afghan army members attacking members of the US army.

You should read the article.  It’s well-written (by that I mean, hey, nice prose), but it doesn’t really answer much—at all. The article simply states a fact—US army members are being attacked more frequently by Afghan army personnel—but when get to the end of the article you arrive at a one paragraph explanation of motives saying essentially “hey, those haven’t been released yet.”

The detainee has since presumably been asked those questions. But in a reflection of the official reticence to discuss green-on-blue attacks, his answers remain shrouded in secrecy. It is not even clear whose custody he is in.

The detainee in question is the third member of the Afghan army to partake in the March 1st attack. The fact no one even knows whose custody he’s in should sound alarms to anyone reading this piece.

There is something about these attacks the public is not supposed to know which is an indication that these attacks can probably be explained by something more than, “they just went crazy” or “the Taliban got to them.”

"What part of that was the bombshell?"

Soledad O’Brien questioned Joel Pollak of Brietbart as to what’s so damn controversial about the video of President Obama speaking at Harvard—introducing the late Derrick Bell.

The Right-Wing is now attempting to dress President Obama up as a race warrior and “radical”—whatever the hell that is. But what’s most infuriating is that in this video, there is a complete retreat from the idea that white supremacy is still the order of the day. That just demonstrates how far away we are from really understanding the way our society operates and marginalizes POC.