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Thursday, August 16, 2018
Leonard Pitts Jr.
This election decides who and what we are

An Election That Defines Who And What We Are

This country finds itself facing an electoral decision starker and more portentous than any in modern memory. We don’t just choose new policies on Tuesday, or even a new vision. No, we choose identity. We decide who and what we are.

November 7, 2016
Chase Coleman - what happens when white men are scared

What Happens When White Men Are Scared Of Black Men

How many times have black people bled because white men were scared? Of retribution or uprising. Of robbery or rape. Of social equality and the loss of place and prerogative. Of blackness itself.

November 2, 2016
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump reacts to balloons, confetti and electronic fireworks as he stands with his son Barron (L) at the conclusion of the final session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

For GOP, Defeat Is Not Enough

The damage to GOP credibility is profound. So the crazy must be rebuked emphatically, refuted in a way that leaves no doubt: We are better than this. That’s what’s best for the nation. Defeat is not enough. Let there be humiliation. Let there be pain.

October 28, 2016
Trump tweets, Yemen

Maybe Donald Trump Should Run For ‘Whiner-In-Chief’

“Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?” — The Coasters from “Charlie Brown” Donald Trump has a victim mentality. If the term sounds familiar, it’s because it has long been the preferred conservative riposte when black people complain of being strangled by housing discrimination, economic injustice or police brutality. The likes of Bill O’Reilly and Rush […]

October 23, 2016
Prison system

‘13th’ Offers Searing Exposé Of Mass Incarceration Of Black Men

In “13th”, the director of “Selma” draws a line from Appomattox through convict leasing, through lynch law, through the Southern strategy, through mass incarceration, through the commodification of black bodies and black misery by private prison entrepreneurs.

October 21, 2016
Guantanamo, Obama

‘Civilized’ Nation Can’t Justify Torture

Chances are you haven’t thought about Guantanamo Bay – that American gulag – for a long time. Not everyone has the luxury of forgetting.

October 18, 2016
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump greets his daughter Ivanka as he arrives to speak during the final session at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Not Every Guy Is A Piece Of Scum

Donald Trump can try to rationalize his actions, but nonchalantly boasting about sexual assault? Trump is no man. He’s just a really poor excuse for one.

October 15, 2016
Alex Jones instigates mass psychotic episodes like Comet Ping Pong conspiracy for profit

Conspiracy Theories Will Outlast Trump

But what we are seeing in Trump is something else entirely — an utterly amoral willingness to feed and exploit a frightened paranoia unhinged from anything resembling reality. That’s why ultimately, the biggest object of concern here is not Trump, but his believers.

October 12, 2016
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a church service, in Detroit, Michigan, September 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

How To Talk To Black People In Eight Easy Lessons

Today’s column is presented as a public service. It is for serious politicians both Democratic and Republican — and also for Donald Trump. The urgent need for this service has been painfully obvious for many years and never more so than today. So, let’s get right to it.

September 10, 2016
A coal-burning power plant can be seen behind a factory in the city of Baotou, in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region October 31, 2010. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo - RTSMVQ1

‘Hillbilly Elegy’: The Forgotten Americans Who Love Trump

His name doesn’t even appear in the book. But make no mistake. “Hillbilly Elegy,” the new bestseller by J.D. Vance, is, in a very real sense, about Donald Trump. More to the point, it’s about the people who have made his unlikely run for the presidency possible.

August 28, 2016
Kimberly Neal, sister of Sylville Smith, speaks at a vigil after disturbances following the police shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 14, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Sylville Smith, Racial Martyr

He was no Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice, no unarmed innocent gunned down. No, Milwaukee police say Smith was an armed 23-year old with a lengthy arrest record — drugs, weapons, robbery — who bolted from a traffic stop Saturday afternoon. They say he ran a short distance, then wheeled around, gun in hand, refusing orders to drop it. Whereupon the police officer shot and killed him.

August 18, 2016
A woman talks on her cell phone as she passes a mural of the late Freddie Gray in the Sandtown neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

Racism Pervades Our Institutions, Yet All Are ‘Innocent’

The government found that the Baltimore’s police have a long pattern of harassing African-Americans and that oversight and accountability have been virtually nonexistent.

August 14, 2016
Khizr Khan speaks during the last night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

The Khan Family Defies Trumpism

The Khan’s son, Humayun, was killed in Iraq in 2004, running toward a suicide bomber to save his men. Yet, as his father noted, if it were up to Trump, he of the hateful rhetoric, the Mexican wall and the Muslim ban, Humayun would never even have been in this country.

July 31, 2016
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks live via satellite from Trump Tower in New York City during the second session at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Battle Between Left And Right No Longer A Contest Of Ideas

Last week’s Republican conclave in Cleveland came across less as a nominating convention than as a four-day nervous breakdown, a moment of fracture and bipolarity from a party that no longer has any clear idea what it stands for or what it is.

July 27, 2016
Police officers attend a vigil after a fatal shooting of Baton Rouge policemen, at Saint John the Baptist Church in Zachary, Louisiana, July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky

Cop Killers Serve No Cause

Montrell Jackson was the only one of the eight cops killed in Baton Rouge with the maddening and paradoxical distinction of being an African-American man killed in protest of police violence against African-American people.

July 21, 2016
Theodore Belizaire plays the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo in Times Square, New York City, U.S. July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich

People Should Not Play Pokemon At Auschwitz

You would think this obvious, but apparently it isn’t. According to reports, people have been playing the game in these sacred spaces, often to the consternation of those who run them.

July 20, 2016
Activist Najee Ali, seated center, is supported by a group of black civil rights activists as they block Spring Street in front of the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles on September 30, 2015. "With Black Lives Matter being a new organization with young activists, they don't have the experience or discipline to be more effective advocates," Ali said. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Police Are Not The Problem, We Are

Another tragedy overarches the killings of police and black men last week: America’s ongoing struggle to reconcile itself along lines of race. We are still fighting over what being black means — and should mean — in a nation that ostensibly holds equality as a foundational belief.

July 14, 2016
Abigail Garcia,2, visits a makeshift memorial at Dallas Police Headquarters two days after a lone gunman ambushed and killed five police officers at a protest decrying police shootings of black men, in Dallas, Texas, U.S., July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

America Has Gone Mad And There’s No Place To Hide

As these words are written, I am on a cruise ship pulling into the harbor of the Greek island of Crete. All around me, the morning sparkles. The water is placid, the sky is clear and pale blue, our ship is embraced by gently sloping hills dotted with houses and shops. And I just turned on the television.

July 10, 2016

We’ve Failed Sherdavia Jenkins, And Others Like Her

I still remember then-Florida state lawmaker Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall weeping over your coffin, then-Congressman Kendrick Meek standing there in speechless anguish, and then-Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio deploring the violence that took you away at just nine years of age. “In our very midst,” he said, “we sit on a crisis of epic proportions” that we fail to recognize.

June 26, 2016
Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, June 18, 2016. REUTERS/Nancy Wiechec

Trumpism Won’t Disappear When He Does

The assassination of Donald Trump on Saturday would have been a new low for a political season that is already the most dispiriting in memory. It would have deprived a family of its father and husband. And it would have imparted the moral authority of martyrdom to Trump’s ideas.

June 22, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Trump addresses an audience at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta

Yes, Trump Deserves Comparison To Hitler

Once again, a clownish demagogue bestrides the political landscape, demonizing vulnerable peoples, bullying opponents, encouraging violence, offering simplistic, strongman solutions to difficult and complex problems, and men and women who bear more moral authority on this subject than I ever could see something chilling and familiar in him.

June 19, 2016
A woman throws a bouquet of flowers at a memorial for the victims of the shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

Hatred, Rhetoric And The Violence They Spawn

I don’t expect much from a mass murderer. But you’d like to think you can hope for a little — I don’t know — grace, dignity, statesmanship from a preacher and a would-be president. Is simple decency too much to ask? God help us, if it is.

June 15, 2016
Former Stanford student Brock Turner who was sentenced to six months in county jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious and intoxicated woman is shown in this Santa Clara County Sheriff's booking photo

Fix Culture That Makes A Brock Turner Possible

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network says that one woman in every six has been the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault. It’s an awesome, awful number. Think about it in terms of women you know. Think about Bonnie, Kadijah, Heather, Consuela, Sarah and Kim. One, two, three, four, five …

June 12, 2016
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan talks to reporters during an event to discuss the Republican Party's anti-poverty plan at House of Help City of Hope in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Franz Von Papen Was Wrong, And So Is Paul Ryan

In 1933, a vengeful Franz von Papen struck an alliance with Adolf Hitler, and maneuvered to have him appointed chancellor. Von Papen didn’t think much of his partner. Like most political observers, he considered Hitler a noisy buffoon. Von Papen was certain he could control him once in power.

June 8, 2016
Roots still

History Not Obliged To Make You Feel Good

Dear Snoop Dogg — You could have been honest about it. If you had, I’d still think you wrong as two left shoes, but at least I could give you points for guts. As it is, I can only shake my head in appalled wonder at your entirely gutless Instagram attack on the remake of “Roots” that aired last week on the A&E Networks.

June 5, 2016