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Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Leonard Pitts Jr.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick talks to media after the game against the San Diego Chargers in San Diego, California, U.S. September 1, 2016. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

American Protest Is An Act Of Faith

The thing is, people like them get indignant when anger over racial oppression expresses itself in street violence. Now we see they also get indignant when it expresses itself peacefully.

September 15, 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
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
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
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
A sign protesting a recent North Carolina law restricting transgender bathroom access is seen in the bathroom stalls at the 21C Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File photo

Reader’s Transgender Locker-Room Scenario Isn’t Worth The Worry

You wrote: “I have no problem with trans people of whatever biology or stage of transition in bathroom stalls, but what about locker rooms, where nudity is normal?” And Roz, the response from many readers can be summed up as follows: Relax. You have nothing to worry about.

June 1, 2016
Roots still

‘Roots’ Kindles In Us The Courage To Confront The History That Made Us

So it was on a Sunday night, the 23rd of January, in 1977. Your black friends simmered like a pot left too long on the stove. Your white friends tiptoed past you like an unexploded bomb. We had all watched the first episode of “Roots.” Now we no longer knew how to talk to one another.

May 29, 2016
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is seen between poles of a football goalpost as he speaks in Santa Monica, California, U.S., May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Pragmatism Don’t Know Bernie

Look: There is something to be said, under certain circumstances, for fighting to the last breath. These are not those circumstances. Trump awaits.

May 25, 2016
Police take a mug shot of a protester who was detained in Ferguson, Missouri, in this August 10, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files

No, Trump, Most Dangerous Place In The World Is Not Ferguson

Donald Trump is the avatar of the post-factual era. Asked
by The New York Times to name the most dangerous place in the world he’s
ever visited, Trump replied that “there are places in America that are
among the most dangerous in the world. You go to places like Oakland. Or
Ferguson. The crime numbers are worse. Seriously.” You wonder whether it’s
worth correcting him.

May 22, 2016
Trayvon Martin

George Zimmerman Takes A Victory Lap On A Dead Boy’s Grave

And someone will say, yes, but isn’t there a lively trade in all sorts of murder memorabilia? One website alone offers a signed postcard from Charles Manson, a letter from Jeffrey Dahmer, pictures of Ted Bundy. So how is this different? Funny thing, though: All those men went to prison for what they did.

May 18, 2016
Shinto priests pray at the Motoyasu River opposite the Atomic Bomb Dome at sunrise in Hiroshima, western Japan, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Should America Apologize For Hiroshima?

Last week, when it was announced Barack Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, everyone from Salon to the National Review raised two important questions: Will the president apologize for what America did 71 years ago this August? Should he? The White House says the answer to the first question is No. For whatever it’s worth, the answer to the second is, too.

May 15, 2016
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, U.S., April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

If Trump Wins, Will There Be Blood?

That question has gone conspicuously unasked as we enumerate the possible outcomes of November’s election. The potential impact on the nation’s economy, its foreign policy and its standing in the world have all been duly analyzed. But there has been little, if any, discussion of the potential for violence.

May 11, 2016
Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hold their hands to their chest as the national anthem is played at a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire January 18, 2016. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl/File photo

Republicans Are Architects Of Their Present Misfortune

What first seemed a joke, then an unsettling possibility and then a troubling likelihood, became a grim certainty last week as Donald Trump, real estate developer turned reality show ringmaster turned would-be president, won an emphatic victory in Indiana’s Republican primary — leaving Trump the de facto nominee of what used to be called, with some pride, the Party of Lincoln.

May 8, 2016
The crowd cheers as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally in Fort Collins

Bernie Nation Can’t Get Behind Hillary Clinton

The extreme left now mirrors the extreme right, each reflecting the anger and unbending rigidity of the other. And the idea that politics is the art of compromise, where everybody gets something but nobody gets everything, seems a lost artifact from a distant age.

May 1, 2016

Gov. McAuliffe Does Right Thing For Wrong Reason

Last week, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, issued an executive order restoring voting rights to more than 200,000 ex-offenders. The sweeping order applies to those who have completed their sentences and any probation or parole.

April 27, 2016