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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Oust Ralph Northam? Most Black Voters In Virginia Wouldn’t

 I have long loved the Commonwealth of Virginia, and everything else being equal might have chosen to live there. The sheer beauty of the state’s pastoral and mountainous landscapes soothed a New Jersey boy’s heart. Walking across the University of Virginia campus along the white-pillared porticoes on The Lawn afforded me a glimpse of an ordered life I’d hardly dared imagine.

And then I met this Arkansas girl at a reception in one of Thomas Jefferson’s serpentine-walled gardens, and never looked back. We went to hear Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and the Foggy Mountain Boys at a high school gym in the Nelson County boondocks.…

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Support Criminal Justice Reform? Then You’re with Kaepernick

The most interesting part of Super Bowl LIII wasn’t watching the game; it was seeing the celebrity seas part over former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick’s ostracization from the NFL.

Megastars Cardi B and Rihanna, activist Shaun King, actress Piper Perabo, and award-winning director Ava Duvernay all boycotted the event and indicated their support for the former 49ers quarterback, many tweeting #ImWithKap. It was the usual lineup of the social justice varsity.

Not only have each of those people positioned themselves against police brutality specifically, they’ve aligned themselves with criminal justice reform generally. Kaepernick’s ban from the NFL crystallizes one of the most important aspects of reform, and it’s not simply free speech or the abuse of black bodies.

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We Seem To Need A Blackface History Month

February is the time for the ritual observance of Black History Month — a brief period when schools, government institutions and even commercial enterprises feel compelled to commemorate a handful of famous black folk who made substantial contributions to American history. It’s a gimmick, an awkward and superficial observance aimed at ameliorating the centuries spent dismissing black Americans as marginal or worse, and I don’t care for it.

But this February has been overwhelmed by some perplexing news events that give me reason to think that some black history lessons are in order. If white men in power are as cavalier about smearing black shoe polish on their faces to mock their fellow black citizens as news reports suggest, then we ought to have a serious discussion about history.…

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