Category Archives: The Post-Racial Life

Race in the Classroom

OK…This guy was a rookie. What he should have said was all white people in America benefit from racism.

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Discussing race in the classroom: ‘Are all white people racist’?

A high school teacher in Norman, Okla. is under fire for this assertion. But how should the conversation about race relations be framed? 

One high school teacher’s bold premise – that “all white people are racist, period” – is reigniting discussion about how difficult it is to talk about race in school classrooms.

One offended student in the philosophy elective at Norman North High School in Oklahoma recorded the remark, part of a lecture about how to heal racial divides, on her cellphone last week. The student, who wished to remain anonymous, told the local NBC-affiliate KFOR that she felt the teacher was encouraging the class “to pick on people for being white.”

The controversy comes as the country is confronted with questions of institutional racism in its educational systems and police departments, police misconduct against young black men, and racial inequality. The teacher, James Coursey, appeared to try to draw his classroom into this national conversation. Some education experts applaud Mr. Coursey and others’ efforts to engage students in what can be a challenging dialogue. But they also say he could have just worded his argument differently.

“I think it was a rookie error in teaching about race,” Paul Ketchum, a professor of liberal studies at the nearby University of Oklahoma, told The Norman Transcript. “You go for the big term when the a less loaded term would be better to make it a teachable moment.”

In a statement, Joe Siano, the superintendent of the school district, agreed that the discussion could have been handled better but emphasized the subject should still be a conversation in classrooms.

“Racism is an important topic that we discuss in our schools,” said Dr. Siano. “While discussing a variety of philosophical perspectives on culture, race and ethics, a teacher was attempting to convey to students in an elective philosophy course a perspective that had been shared at a university lecture he had attended.”

In the video the student first posted to social media, Coursey starts the lecture by showing a YouTube clip about imperialism. In the video, a man uses white-out on a globe to illustrate how European influence spread across the world, as The Washington Post reported.

Coursey is heard in the recording rhetorically ask: “Am I racist? And I say yeah. I don’t want to be. It’s not like I choose to be racist, but do I do things because of the way I was raised.”

“To be white is to be racist, period,” he says.

The offended student, who said half of her family is white and half Hispanic, told KFOR along with her father they felt the teacher encouraged the “demonization” of one race over others.

More than 100 student demonstrators stood behind Coursey, organizing a walkout Tuesday. One student said the remark was taken out of context.

“We believe it is important to have serious and thoughtful discussion about institutional racism in order to change the history and promote inclusivity,” he said, according to The Norman Times.

Other educators across the country, from preschool teachers to professors, have stumbled or faced criticism about how they have tried to discuss racism. A professor at the University of Kansas was suspended last year for using the N-word in a discussion she led about instances of racism on college campuses. Some of the nine graduate students in the class filed discrimination complaints with the university against the professor, Andrea Quenette. The university dismissed the complaints, but chose not to renewMs. Quenette’s employment following the conclusion of the spring 2017 semester, according the Lawrence Journal-World.

The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., drew national media attention in 2014 by offering a “White Privilege Seminar.” Iris Outlaw, the professor of the seminar, said at the time that its purpose is to explore white privilege and other systems of oppression to help students grow. But some conservatives said it was a liberal perspective gone too far.

“This isn’t education, it’s indoctrination,” Notre Dame student and conservative campus activist Mark Gianfalla told the Daily Caller. “The problem I see with this course is that it is teaching a flawed and inherently racist sociological theory as fact.”… Not surprising, from a conservative racist. Read the rest here…


Posted by on October 21, 2016 in The Definition of Racism, The Post-Racial Life


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DC Metro Subway Police – No Food on the Trains or We Will Bust You

No food on the trains was one of the original rules of the DC Metro System. Actually, I’m glad they are enforcing this again. The Washington Metro Train System used to be the cleanest subway system in the world. Unlike NYC or Chicago, the cars are not painted over with grafitti, and until the last two years or so, you could comfortably take a seat without messing up your suit because some ass left his happy meal on the seats.

Apparently the new management at Metro has decided to clean up the trains again, in light of their numerous other problems.

Young lady deserved to get arrested. Nobody want to ride the subway sitting in your shit.

Having worked underground in Metro’s tunnels installing equipment, I can tell you it is rather nice when you reach in an electronics cabinet not having a 3′ long rat hanging on your arm when you pull your arm out unlike in NYC.

Keep it clean!

The Black Lives that matter in this case are the other riders. About 60% of all subway rides on Metro are intra-city, serving the poorest sections of the city as well as some well to do areas. People in the Southeast section of the city, where some of the poorer areas are located, depend on that train to get to work every day, go to weddings, funerals, or to shop. There is no reason they should be forced to wade through some thoughtless cretins crap along the way.

DC transit cops hauled a teenager to juvie because she had snacks

They’re not charging her in the apparent case of “contempt of cop.”

Transit police in Washington, D.C., violently arrested a young black woman on Tuesday night because she was carrying snacks.

Videos posted Wednesday do not capture the beginning of the interaction between a trio of Metro Transit Police officers and the unnamed teenager.

But they show one of the cops kicking the woman’s feet out from under her and shoving her to the ground, while she is in handcuffs. And officers in the video confirm to angry bystanders that the arrest happened because the teenager wouldn’t relinquish a bag of chips and a lollipop when they confronted her in the Columbia Heights metro station.

After the takedown, the heavy-set officer who knocked the teenager down seems to realize the rough arrest has attracted a crowd. “Have a good day, folks,” he says. “If you wanna ride the system, put your card through and go attend the trains. If not, leave the station.”

In the first video, the teenager expresses distress at how tightly they cinched her handcuffs and shouts at a second officer who starts rifling through her backpack.

“You acting like it was a four-course meal,” she says. A moment later, one of the bystanders begins to address the officers directly, telling them their actions are ridiculous. The officer who earlier knocked the handcuffed girl to the ground and a second officer in a bike helmet argue with the woman criticizing them briefly.

“Little girls break the law, little girls get arrested like anybody else. And she goes to juvenile detention and her mom comes and picks her up, that’s how it works,” the bike cop says.


Posted by on October 21, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter, The Post-Racial Life


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Rocket Man!

Just watched this bad boy launch from my deck. Could see it all the way through the second stage burnout and separation about 75 miles up and 300 miles downrange.

This is what a daytime launch looks like. I can see this lauchpad (although a bit further away). I used to have a home a lot closer, and the whole house would shake when these went off.

This is what happens when something goes wrong (About 3:30 in)…

Yeah…I have “rocket insurance” unlike this unlucky little guy –

Image result for frog antares launch

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Posted by on October 17, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life


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Native Americans Pray for the Rivers

Native Americans involved in the Environment. The Potomac River was a full on cesspool up until the early 1970’s. So bad, then President Richard Nixon ordered a cleanup, as the river would be a national embarrassment during he 1976 Bicentennial celebrations in Washington, DC. Between 1970 and 1976 substantial cleanup efforts resulted in a vastly improved river system, and gradually the native fisheries recovered….Until President Raygun loosened the laws on cleaning up sewage being dumped into the river by treatment plants. Which resulted in green algae blooms covering the water from shore to shore, Fortunately residents raising hell caused Congress to act.  Most of the river is cleaner than it’s been for over 100 years now, and all but a few sections are safe to swim in. Water from the river tapped above the city is tapped to provide drinking water.

‘Do it for the water’: Native Americans carry Potomac water on prayerful, 400-mile journey

It’s noon on a Thursday, and Reyna Davila-Day would ordinarily be sitting in her AP Human Geography class, memorizing the rivers of the globe.

Instead she’s stumbling in and out of a gully alongside a busy road, ignoring the cars and trucks that whiz past, walking as fast as her 14-year-old legs can carry her. Instead of memorizing the world’s most important rivers, she’s walking one of them: The mighty Potomac, 405 miles from its source in West Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay.

In a 13-day relay, Davila-Day and dozens of fellow participants in a Native American ritual are walking the entire length of the Potomac, praying for its return to unpolluted health. They will speak to the water, sing to the water, and pray for the water.

And now, on a Thursday afternoon half a continent away from her Human Geography class, Davila-Day is carrying the water.

“It’s us showing that the water needs to be cared for, and that we care about the water,” she says, beads clinking against the copper vessel full of a few precious pints of the river. “At school, they ask why I do it. I tell them that the water has a spirit. They’re like, ‘It does?’”

The Potomac River Water Walk began with a water ceremony — a tradition in the Ojibwe tribe — at Fairfax Stone, the 18th-century marker now located in a West Virginia state park that marks the source of the Potomac River. Participants took water from the clear pool at the start of the river and filled the copper vessel. Starting on Oct. 7, a band of Native Americans and supporters began walking that vessel all the way from the river’s clean source to its significantly more polluted end.

“We want the water to have a taste of itself. This is how you began, and this is how we want you to be again,” explained Sharon Day, the organizer of the walk and Reyna’s great-aunt.

The walkers made plans to pass through the District on Saturday — walking right past the White House — and to reach the Chesapeake Bay on Wednesday, Oct. 19. There, they’ll pour the clean water into the polluted bay.

People tend to ask Day if the walkers’ goal is to raise awareness about water pollution. Sure, awareness is nice, she responds — but that’s a paltry goal. The intent of this walk is to speak to the water’s spirit, not to a human audience.

“All the while, we’re speaking to that water. We’re telling the water how much we care about her,” Day said. “We really do support the work of other environmental groups. We believe what’s missing from most of this work is the idea that the water has a spirit, and we as spiritual people need to speak to that spirit.”…Read the rest Here

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Posted by on October 17, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life


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High School Graduation Rates in US at Record High

More kids are graduating High School in 4 years than ever before.

Nation’s high school graduation rate reaches new record high

The nation’s high school graduation rose again in the 2014-2015 school year, reaching a new record high as more than 83 percent of students earned a diploma on time, according to federal data released Monday.

The figures show gains among every group of students — including white, black, Asian, Hispanic and Native American, as well as low-income students, students with disabilities and those learning English as a second language. The broad improvement continues a trend that began with the 2010-2011 school year, when states first adopted a uniform method of reporting graduation rates.

Gaps between student groups continued to close but remained large: Nearly 88 percent of white students graduated on time, 10 percentage points higher than Hispanic students (78 percent), 13 percentage points higher than black students (75 percent), and 16 percentage points above Native American and Native Alaskan students (72 percent).


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Posted by on October 17, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter, The Post-Racial Life


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When Policing Works

A recent noise complaint to the Police in Carrollton, Texas turned out to be a pleasant surprise for the Officer –


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Posted by on October 13, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter, The Post-Racial Life


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Nick Cave’s “Soundsuits” – A Response to Racial Profiling

You have to see these to believe them – they are incredible!

The why of their creation, is a much darker story.

Stunning ‘Soundsuits’ Address The Realities Of Racial Profiling In America

“The soundsuits hide gender, race, class and they force you to look at the work without judgment.”

Artist Nick Cave’s work is best described as an explosion of color, texture and noise. Born in Fulton, Missouri, in 1959, Cave is known for his soundsuits ― wearable artworks that can be displayed as still objects or incorporated into wild performances as costumery.

Drenched in electric hues and hallucinatory patterns ― and marked by their ability to produce sound when individuals like Cave don the elegant objects ― it’s easy to view the suits as whimsical ware. But, according to Cave, the suits are anything but “fun.”

“They come from a dark place,” he explains in Episode #239 of ART21. In fact, the fashion-infused sculptures originated as metaphorical suits of armor in response to the brutal treatment of Rodney King in 1992. Cave made his first suit shortly after video footage captured the unlawful beating of King at the hands of Los Angeles Police Department officers.

The suit was simple, consisting of a sheath of twigs that rustled as the wearer moved. Cave has since created around 500 subsequent suits, many more decadent than the original. Most, if not all, reflect on Cave’s identity as a black man, confronting his experiences with racial profiling and police brutality.

Cave says that his suits represent his desire to “lash out” in response to personal experiences, as well as sorrowful moments in American history. “And if I do, lashing out for me is creating this,” he explains in the video above, gesturing toward his work. “The soundsuits hide gender, race, class and they force you to look at the work without judgment.”

The “Here Hear” exhibition of Cave’s soundsuits was previously on view at Detroit’s Cranbrook Art Museum, the museum connected with the artist’s alma mater. In a previous interview with The Huffington Post, Cave described the city he once called home as vibrant and alive, but noticeably different from when he last attended school in 1989. He was, he explained to ART21, the only minority there in 1988.

The ART 21 episode above is titled “Thick Skin,” referencing Cave’s suits’ ability to serve as “an alien second skin […] allowing viewers to look without bias toward the wearer’s identity.” Referred to as “vehicles for empowerment,” the suits stand out amid the 21st century’s array of creative political work, breathing new meaning into the possibility of addressing prejudice through visual art.


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