Post-Racial America

Georgia Schoolchildren Will Just Have To Learn All History From Confederate Statues

We kid! Gone With the Wind will remain an option, too.

Georgia's state Board of Education this week became the latest government entity to take a firm stance against teaching about racism in schools, or at least against teaching anything that makes white Republicans uncomfortable. The Georgia Board of Ed adopted a resolution insisting that the USA and Georgia are definitely not racist places, while calling for limits on how public schools should be allowed to discuss and teach about racism.

The resolution itself — authored by National Review writer and professional culture warrior Stanley Kurtz, author of many serious works of scholarship like Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism — calls for supposedly colorblind educational practices that will not "indoctrinate students in social, or political, ideology or theory" or "promote one race or sex above another," and how could anyone possibly object to that? Like, unless you apply those concepts very selectively and in bad faith, or are actively letting Stanley Kurtz decide what is "isms," but only a cynic would suggest rightwing officials could be capable of such a thing.


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Congress

A Doktor Of Rhetoric Examines Kyrsten Sinema's Filibuster Thoughts, Breaks Own Brain

You just stop that, Kyrsten Sinema! You stop it right now!

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), who missed last week's vote on establishing an independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection, showed up in Tucson yesterday and explained she'd missed the vote because she "had a personal family matter," although she didn't care to elaborate on that in the least. We're pretty sure that's US Senate for "Fuck off, I will never explain myself and you can't make me," which is true but unsatisfying. Her office hasn't explained her absence either, but did say that had she been there, she'd have voted for the bill, which nonetheless failed because it couldn't get 10 Republican votes.

But Sinema did have a bit more to say about the many calls for her and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) to please recognize that democracy is in some pretty desperate straits these days, and that their opposition to any sort of reform to the legislative filibuster gives Senate Republicans a veto over investigating the insurrection, and over important Democratic priorities like the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, both of which Sinema says she supports, but which will never get 10 votes from Republicans. Even Joe Biden subtweeted her the other day, albeit while actually talking.

We bet you are really looking forward to the logical case she built for letting the Republicans block everything that Joe Biden wants to achieve, much of which Sinema supports as well!

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POTUS

Joe Biden Livin' On Tulsa Time

And he took a minute to jump up Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema's asses.

Difficult though it is to believe, Joe Biden yesterday became the first US president to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to mark an anniversary of the 1921 race massacre that leveled the city's Greenwood district, leaving as many as 300 Black residents dead, and thousands homeless and having lost everything. It took the centennial for a president to come. No one was ever arrested in the massacre, which was covered up by white officialdom for decades.

In his speech, Biden recounted the horror of the two-day rampage by white mobs, fueled by a false newspaper account suggesting that a 19-year-old Black man had attempted to rape a 17-year-old white elevator operator.

One hundred years ago, at this hour, on this first day of June smoke darkened the Tulsa sky, rising from 35 blocks of Greenwood that were left in ash and ember, razed in rubble. In less than 24 hours, 1,100 Black homes and businesses were lost. Insurance companies — they had insurance, many of them — rejected claims of damage. Ten thousand people were left destitute and homeless, placed in interment camps.

Biden drew applause from the crowd when he said "this was not a riot. This was a massacre." He noted that it was "among the worst in our history, but not the only one. And for too long, forgotten by our history. As soon as it happened there was a clear effort to erase it from our memory — our collective memories."

Here's the full speech:

A few highlights:

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POTUS

The Tulsa Race Massacre Was A Hundred Years Ago And Just Yesterday

Let's all watch Joe Biden talk us through our better angels.

One hundred years ago, on May 31 and June 1, 1921, upon rumor of a young Black man assaulting an elevator operator, white supremacists burned and murdered their way through the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, largely destroying what had been an island of wealth and security for Black residents. Some 40 blocks were leveled, and 20 years before Pearl Harbor, it may have been the first aerial attack on US soil.

Like most white people, I only learned of the massacre long after I was out of school, when I attended a session at an academic conference in 2001. While the history was largely not commemorated outside the Black community for much of the 20th century — and was pretty well actively covered up — it's finally gotten a belated acknowledgement in officialdom and pop culture. Many Americans learned about the massacre when it was dramatized in the 2019 HBO adaptation of Watchmen, and also when Donald Trump held a Superspreader Rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth last year, at which former presidential candidate Herman Cain most likely got the COVID-19 infection that killed him less than two months later.

The 1921 massacre had probably been brewing for years as white resentment built over wealthy Black people. But its immediate spark came when 19-year-old Dick Rowland took a break from his shoe-shine business to use the only nearby restroom for Black people, in the Drexel Building. He tripped while getting on an elevator, and either grabbed the arm of the white elevator operator, Sarah Page, or possibly stepped on her foot. She screamed, and a white store clerk accused him of attempted rape.

Page later wrote a letter saying Rowland had done nothing wrong, but by then Greenwood was long gone, along with as many as 300 of its residents killed, and thousands left homeless.

Also, it looks like we've finally turned the corner on how the event is named. When I first heard about it, it was generally called the "Tulsa Race Riot," which is deliberately vague about who was running riot. "Tulsa Race Massacre" is the far more common usage now.

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