Aug 19, 2017

"Where racists are born"

Andrew Harnik / AP

Kim Kingsley former Politico COO, Henry Crown Fellow at The Aspen Institute, media consultant, Penn State proud — writes about her native Scranton, Pa in a post titled "My Life Lessons in Rust Belt Racism":

Anyone who knows me would say I wear my blue-collar roots as a badge of honor. This very white, working-class town and my big Irish family taught me a whole lot. My now 90-year-old, World War II veteran grandfather worked three jobs at a time — a high school janitor by morning; a railroad worker by night; and a father of nine, 24 hours a day.
Anyone sitting on a branch of this family tree learned the importance of family, faith and friendships — what it means to be loyal, what it means to have work ethic, and how to fight for the little guy.
But it's also in this town, like many white working-class cities across the U.S., where racists are born.

"After this weekend's events, former Washington Post colleague and founder of Define American, Jose Antonio Vargas tweeted:

"Dear Well-Meaning White People Who Want Nothing To Do With Alt-Right: We, people of color, cannot carry this burden. You must engage."

He's absolutely right.

Like most of the white people whose hearts and minds are on the right side of history, I'm sickened by what happened in Charlottesville. It's the same feeling I had when nine black church-goers were shot dead by a white supremacist in South Carolina, and the same feeling I had when the not guilty verdicts came down after the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, and Freddie Gray.

I spent the hours following these events "engaging," tweeting quotes from the most prominent civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin or my favorite poet Maya Angelou. My body filled up with so much rage that I felt like my retweets on a social media platform of like-minded followers would make a difference. But the right people were not listening. The right people were not reading my Twitter feed. What I hope we can do now is step away from our comfortable bubbles and get uncomfortable.

Let's really engage.

  • Let's speak up. Let's turn to our closed-minded family members who make us furious and ask them why. Let's turn to our open-minded friends and family who text you privately "can I post this?" and ask them why not.
  • Let's talk about race at the dinner table, in the office, on our social media feeds, at our evenings out with friends, or anywhere we might normally stay silent on this tough topic. We might feel like we are saying the wrong words, don't have words, or think that we will end up doing more harm than good. Let's try.
  • Let's stop patronizing businesses that we know are led by people with racists beliefs. That will surely put the issue at their front doorstep.
  • Let's not just stop laughing at racist jokes, but asking the person why it was told in the first place.
  • Let's look around, study the diversity of our workplaces and recognize our role in making it better. It's not on the handful of minority employees to create and execute a diversity plan. It's on the white people at every level across the company to take responsibility for creating a workplace of diverse people and views and for recognizing what a better company you will be for it.
  • Let's get proximate. I spent this week polling a number of family members, asking some how they ended up so open-minded growing up in our environment and asking others if they think it's possible to change. Those exchanges gave me more hope this past week than anything I've read online.

Let's begin turning the page in our country's history of racism and oppression, knowing that page will only turn if we, white people, acknowledge our role in turning it."

Read the whole thing here.

Go deeper

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

George Floyd protests: What you need to know

Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Clashes erupted between police and protesters in several major U.S. cities Saturday night as demonstrations over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black men spread across the U.S. Saturday.

The big picture: Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. cities crack down on protests against police brutality

Demonstrators gather at Lafayette Park across from the White House to protest the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Major U.S. cities have implemented curfews and called on National Guard to mobilize as thousands of demonstrators gather across the nation to continue protesting the death of George Floyd.

The state of play: Hundreds have already been arrested as tensions continue to rise between protesters and local governments. Protesters are setting police cars on fire as freeways remain blocked and windows are shattered, per the Washington Post. Law enforcement officials are using tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse crowds and send protesters home.

Trump to invite Russia and other non-member G7 countries to summit

President Trump at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Saul Martinez/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Saturday evening he would postpone the G7 summit to September and expand the meeting to more nations that are not members of the Group of 7.

Details: Trump said he would invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India to the summit, according to a pool report. "I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries," he said.