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It’s not about you, white liberals: Why attacks on radical people of color are so misguided

With anti-racism politics flaring up on the left, too many are making it personal -- when it's really about policy

In her recent post at the Nation, Michelle Goldberg attempts to place the dust-up over #CancelColbert into a broader frame of what she calls “radical anti-liberalism.” She writes:

“One of the most striking characteristics of ‘60s radicalism was its aversion to liberalism,” wrote Alice Echols in Daring to Be Bad, her history of radical feminism. “Radicals’ repudiation of liberalism was not immediate; rather, it developed in response to liberalism’s defaults—specifically, its timidity regarding black civil rights and its escalation of the Vietnam War.” Something similar, albeit on a much smaller scale, happened after Bill Clinton ended welfare as we know it, and it’s happening now, as economic misery persists under Barack Obama. There’s disenchantment not just with electoral politics, but with liberal values as a whole. “White liberal” has, once again, emerged as a favorite left-wing epithet.

She concludes that this most recent rise of anti-liberal sentiment on the left will lead to a situation in which “politics contract.”

I want to respond to Goldberg’s arguments as part of the broader set of debates that have been taking place between Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jonathan Chait in the pages of the Atlantic and New York magazine, respectively. Those debates — while mainly about the role, if any, that black culture plays in explaining widespread and continued poverty within black communities — have as an additional and important thread the role of liberal values in contemporary anti-racism politics on the left.

There are more than a few problems with Goldberg’s analysis, not the least of which is that nothing about her view seems even remotely expansive or visionary enough to halt the contracting or retrenchment of leftist politics. As noted in the excerpt above, Goldberg tellingly reduces legitimate objections to endless war (which we find ourselves in yet again) and to conservative welfare reform like that of the Clinton era, to indictments not of liberalism but rather of white liberals themselves. She makes it personal, when the arguments are clearly about policy.


…But can you do this?


He's on a roll...

Rising Seas


What? You wanted that?

Greatest Volley… Ever!

Hey, what time is it?

Oakland Spent $74 Million Settling 417 Police Brutality Lawsuits

A Catholic priest who said an officer put him in a chokehold and slammed his head into a glass door. A woman who said she shouldn’t have been handcuffed when officers arrested her.
A father who claimed officers beat him in the hallway outside of his child’s hospital room until his head was bloody. A bank robber who was shot by officers after a high-speed chase. A man whose head was slammed into something so hard that the bones in his face broke.
In each situation the Oakland Police Department was sued. And in each one, the City of Oakland chose to settle out of court rather than take the case to trial.
A review of Oakland City Attorney lawsuit data and hundreds of federal and state court cases has found that since 1990, Oakland has spent $74 million dollars to settle at least 417 lawsuits accusing its police officers of brutality, misconduct and other civil rights violations.
Oakland spends more on civil-rights police lawsuits than nearly any other California law enforcement agency, with multimillion-dollar settlements coming directly out of funds that could go to libraries, police and fire services or road repair.
Supporters of the Oakland Police Department say that high number is a reflection of the city’s willingness to settle at any cost. But Oakland Police Beat’s analysis found that the City of Oakland has successfully defended itself against many lawsuits it considers to be unfounded.


The Sure Signs of Spring...

The first seen Brødkjeksfugl in North America for 2014

With the arrival of Spring comes the arrival of returning birds to North America. One such avian species is the rarely seen Brødkjeksfugl, or the commonly called, "Biscuit Bird." First observed in 1876, by the famed Norwegian-American birding enthusiast and founder of the North American Birding Association (NMBA), Asbjørn Ambjørnsen of Owatonna, Minnesota.

The Brødkjeksfugl is recognized by its distinct lack of feathers, as it consists entirely of sourdough bread. This rare bird is the only known animal to employ the power of flight through the use of a lighter than air yeast and flour combination and a special form of aeration. The birds migrate from their winter breeding (or breading) grounds in the jungles of Guyana in late March/early April. Usually returning to North America without much fanfare. it's suspected that they have adjusted their migratory patterns to take advantage of the diversion provided by the combination of the opening of the Major League Baseball season and the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament.

Every year, the NMBA conducts a contest, called the Asbjørny Prize, where organization members vie to become the first to spot and photograph a newly migrated Brødkjeksfugl in North America during that season. The honor of winning the 2014 Asbjørny went to Myron J. Asmodel of East Liverpool, Ohio. His prize for spotting the first Brødkjeksfugl, just outside of Leesburg, Virginia, was an all expense paid vacation for two to Kumaka, Guyana, near the reputed breeding grounds of the rare bird.

Although seasoned and amateur birding enthusiasts would never think to feed any bird that they're observing, the NMBA issues a strongly worded advisory annually to never feed migrating Brødkjeksfugls whenever they're encountered. In 1975, an infamous incident in Oshkosh, Wisconsin occurred, when flocks of cannibalistic Brødkjeksfugls swarmed several bakeries in the city, attacking pastry chefs and commercial bakery workers, in a frantic search to consume freshly baked goods. It was strongly suspected that the swarm and attacks occurred as a reaction to being fed bread crumbs by unsuspecting, yet well meaning elderly people in nearby parks.

The bread crumbs, supposedly caused a form of avian rabies solely in the Brødkjeksfugls, which resulted in a massive culling of infected flocks and the loss of over 100,000 loaves of white, wheat and rye bread. The inability to make sandwiches in that part of the state, unfortunately impacted the local economy detrimentally, as sales of cheese, lunch meats, hotdogs, peanut butter, jelly and brots plummeted during that year.

The one bright spot in the aftermath of the Great Brødkjeksfugl Swarm of 1975, was the introduction of imported flour tortillas, sent to the area in bulk for the first time from Texas, California and Mexico, to compensate for the loss of bread until local production could be resumed.

This saw to an increased popularity in wraps and burritos, spawning a whole new movement towards Southwest-inspired cuisine in several Northern states. The dawn of a new era and a Tex-Mex taste explosion, the size and scope of which, has never been repeated since.
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