February rambling: Perseverance

Chick Corea

perseveranceShe counted ballots in a pandemic, and he killed two people. Guess who gets treated like a hero?

One county, worlds apart: Bridging the political divide.

Weekly Sift: Why You Can’t Understand Conservative Rhetoric

Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Fixing our Democracy.

Trust Is The Coin Of The Realm.” by the late former secretary of state George Schultz.

Detailed interactive map of the 2020 Election.

How 100 years of Democratic rule have shaped the city of Albany.

How I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs.

Texas

Rick Perry and the Hard Libertarian Formulation.

How the Bush family turned off the lights.

El Paso Heeded the Warnings and Avoided a Winter Catastrophe.

Ted Cruz is feckless.

Perseverance needed

Fascist insurgency persists with the merging of QAnon, militia movements, white extremists. They spread new conspiracy Trump will be president again on March 4, so Trump’s D.C. hotel nearly triples its rates.

History Will Find Trump Guilty.

How the Proud Boys Pitch Themselves to People of Color.

Health  and wellness

COVID-19 Is Ravaging Local Newspapers, Making it Easier for Misinformation to Spread.

John Green: I Predicted the Pandemic (over and over and over again).

The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship

Second COVID-19 Shot Is a Rude Reawakening for Immune Cells. Side effects are just a sign that protection is kicking in as it should.

I’m getting good at this grief thing.

Tony Bennett’s Battle With Alzheimer’s

Embrace the nap

Assemblage

How to be a  genius

Bill Mahar gives the Baldy Award to policy wonk Henry Waxman.

17 years ago, Jason West, mayor of New Paltz, NY set the groundwork for the 2011 marriage equality law by presiding over same-sex marriages in his community.

“When in Doubt, Do Something.” Harry Chapin in Recent Media.

Jaquandor reviews the 1994 film What Happened Was… 

After GM poked fun of Norway in Super Bowl ad, Norway painfully hits back.

The Curse of the Buried Treasure

The Hollywood Con Queen Who Scammed Aspiring Stars Out of Hundreds of Thousands.

Missed: He flew to Paris to surprise his girlfriend. She flew to Edinburgh to surprise him

Larry Flynt paid me $1,000 to keep my clothes ON.

She traded her way from a bobby pin to a tiny house in 6 months.

JEOPARDY!

Alex Trebek’s family donates his wardrobe to charity.

Brayden Smith 

The guest host schedule.

Now I Know

Frederick Douglass  Is Not Amused. The Hunger Stones.  When Ziggy  Should Have Zagged. The Little Bit of Sun That Cost a Half-Million Dollars.  In the President’s Dog House.  The Search For Life on Earth.

Black History Month

Black Futures Month

Jacob Lawrence painted Black America for Black people — not the white gaze.

Jim Crow Filibuster

The history of overalls

Caste book supplement.

Lift Every Voice and Sing, A Celebration of African American Music – Sounds of St Olaf.

MUSIC

With God on Our Side – The Neville Brothers.

Who’s Yellen Now? – Dessa.

Marjorie Taylor Greene – Randy Rainbow.

I Won’t Dance -Willie Nelson ft. Diana Krall.

Tribute to Pops and Ella – Leonard Patton with Rebecca Jade.

Sixteen Tons – Geoff Castellucci.

Psychedelic Jazz Guitar – Boogaloo Joe Jones, 1967 album.

Sweet Blindness – The Fifth Dimension and Frank Sinatra.

A video analyzing in extreme detail Lady Gaga’s rendition of the national anthem at the inauguration. (ht/ch)

Coverville

1344: Cover Stories for Alicia Keys, Neil Diamond, and Phil Collins.

1345: Justin Timberlake Cover Story and Delvon Lamarr Interview. 

1346: Cover Stories for Gene Pitney and Feist. 

1347: Stone Roses Cover Story and the 50th Anniversary of Tapestry

Chick Corea

Obit and photo tribute and Remembrance and video link.

Redlining and The Color of Law

author Richard Rothstein

Redlining.HOLC_map_AlbanyA few months ago, CBS News did a piece on redlining. That is the discriminatory practice in which “a mortgage lender denies loans or an insurance provider restricts services to certain areas of a community, often because of the racial characteristics of the applicant’s neighborhood.”

More amazing, though, was the report in February 2021 when CBS’s Tony Dokoupil reflects on how “his family benefitted from government housing policies that were denied to Black Americans.” And he spoke to some of the neighbors with whom he grew up. One said, essentially, that what’s past is past and we’ll do better in the future.

The problem is that the wealth gap shows “evidence of staggering racial disparities. At $171,000, the net worth of a typical white family is nearly ten times greater than that of a Black family ($17,150) in 2016.”

It’s rather like running a 10K race, with the competition already at the 9K mark. It’s impossible to catch up.

The issue is not just with redlining. I’m in the midst of reading an important book entitled The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. It shows in excruciating detail that the segregation in American cities is de jure rather than de facto. It is the deliberate product of “systemic and forceful” government action, and so the government has a “constitutional as well as a moral obligation” to remedy it.

More than the month

This is why I support, more than ever, Black History Month. Not that it should be limited to February. Indeed, black history should be “taught in all schools—especially those with a small Black student population.” I’ve heard a number of times people trying to create racial awareness, only to receive pushback in their work or organizational environment. “We don’t have that many minorities here.”

My perception is that a lot of people think they know about slavery. They may be oblivious to rebellions or underestimate the brutality, but it’s on the radar. The period after the Civil War from Reconstruction to the imposition of the Black Codes, Jim Crow, and lynching, is less familiar. Stories about Wilmington, NC, and Tulsa, OK, for instance, are just now being heard in the broader population.

And of course, at least some kids have heard about MLK, Rosa Parks, and Jackie Robinson.

But the systemic governmental and institutional (banks, unions, real estate agents) forces that limited the creation of wealth in the black community in the 20th century have been largely a hidden phenomenon.

The maps don’t lie

Check out, for instance, Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America. It shows maps from all over the country reflecting the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation policies between 1935 and 1940. The areas in red were considered economically “hazardous.” The map shown is of Albany, NY, with Arbor Hill, West Hill, and the South End in red. (Note the city actually points more to the northwest.) But it’s hardly unique. Search YOUR city.

“HOLC assumed and insisted that the residency of African Americans and immigrants, as well as working-class whites, compromised the values of homes and the security of mortgages. In this they followed the guidelines set forth by Frederick Babcock, the central figure in early twentieth-century real estate appraisal standards, in his Underwriting Manual: ‘The infiltration of inharmonious racial groups … tend to lower the levels of land values and to lessen the desirability of residential areas.'”

I may write about the book The Color of Law. Or I may let my friend Alison do so since I know she took nine pages of notes when she read it.

This month, the House of Representatives held hearings on H.R. 40 – a bill that would set up a commission to examine the institution of slavery and its impact and make recommendations for reparations to Congress. Note the effects of slavery did not end in 1865. Jim Crow segregation and enduring structural racism are endemic to our society.

To My White Friends Who Know Me

The Anti-Racism Task Force

Deborah L. Plummer posted To My White Friends Who Know Me on Medium. I related to it a lot, although I intentionally forged a different path.

She is self-described as a “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging professional.” I tried to consciously avoided roles such as being an affirmative action officer. It’s not because I thought it was unimportant. My father served that function, among others, as a vice-president of J.A. Jones Construction in Charlotte, NC. And he was involved in civil rights starting back in his days in Binghamton, NY. Still, I found that some people, mostly white, but a few black folks as well, thought that such positions reeked of tokenism.

This is why we are having a moment in America. As Plummer noted: “I have a lot of White friends. Obviously, they have always known that I am Black. The amount of melanin in my skin hasn’t changed… They have claimed me as their Black friend.

“Yet, during this time of aggressive push for racial equity, most of my White friends are now just seeing and experiencing me as a Black person. Having witnessed a startling, violent 8 minutes and 46 seconds of video, they now see me and other Blacks as the recipients of systemic racism. They understand that the murder of George Floyd represents the weight of how Blacks in the United States have been treated for decades, and they struggle not to see themselves as participants in anything vicariously related to what Derek Chauvin did.

They try to be supportive

“My White friends are now on an emotional roller coaster as they read Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste. They are making personal racial equity to-do lists and signing up for accountability partners after reading Ibram X. Kendi’s How To Be An Antiracist…” I feel the need to keep up myself!

“They know, acknowledge, and make no excuses for the fact that Trump is racist and are genuinely horrified by his long history of racism.” (Finally!) “They know that race is strongly correlated with voting preferences and that the vast majority of Trump supporters are White. They are afraid of the disparate impact on me and other BIPOC if Trump is reelected and are actively working to prevent that from happening.”

This is especially true. “My White friends are apologizing to me for things they said, might have said, or could have possibly said that did, could have, or might have smacked of racism. They are doing mental rewinds of situations where they showed me support.” Yes, some of that. “And writing mini memoirs sent to me in emails as proof that they really are and have been antiracist pre-George Floyd. Some of their stories I vividly remember, and some stories I do not recall at all.” Yup.

Time has come today

Perhaps I didn’t talk enough about race to my white friends prior to the end of May 2020. I hadn’t avoided the issue. Maybe Probably I thought they just wouldn’t understand. Perhaps I underestimated them. Or, quite likely, circumstances have allowed a conversation where I didn’t see an opening previously.

Even things I wrote about before, like Tulsa in 1921, which I wrote about in 2016, seem to have a new resonance. Before it was, “Oh, that a terrible thing,” but a singular event. Now it’s seen as part of a systemic flaw in the country. There is a line that runs from slavery to Jim Crow to mass incarceration, which I discussed in 2014, BTW.

At church, I have been involved in Black History Month events for over a decade. (Some people say I’m in charge of it, but I vigorously deny it.) The Anti-Racism Task Force, of which I am NOT a member, has been running adult education at church, via Zoom, all summer, and will continue to do so once a month going forth.

This reminds me of a story, but that’ll have to be for another time.

Feb. rambling: Jealous of a dog

Republicans sending mailer labeled Census ahead of official forms

Want Your Personal Data? Hand Over More Please.

‘Barbaric’:8 Million Americans Have Been Forced to Start Crowdfunding Campaigns to Cover Medical Costs and When Medical Debt Collectors Decide Who Gets Arrested.

A new study shows Medicare for All will save Americans billions and prevent thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Is Coronavirus Panic Sending Us Back to the Days of Racist Quarantines? and COVID-19 from the CDC.

Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder.

How to Spot Fake News.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Modi and Disney blocks episode critical of India’s PM.

Facing Undeniable Reality of Climate Change, Deniers Now Argue It’s Not That Bad.

The folks on Fox & Friends really HAD referred to Fred Rogers (AKA Mr. Rogers of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) as an “evil, evil man.”.

FBI: The Most Perpetrated Cybercrime Is Not Getting What You Paid For.

Socialists Will Never Understand Elizabeth Warren, part of a long intellectual tradition that’s gone forgotten in the West: pro-market leftism.

What’s Wrong With a Decision-Making Convention?

National Marriage, Divorce Rates Both Declined in the Last 10 Years.

John Oliver: Quest For U.S. Citizenship Culminated In An “Utterly Petrifying” Citizenship Test.

How Google Got Its Employees to Eat Their Vegetables.

Generations of Handwritten Mexican Cookbooks Are Now Online.

How to Leave Your Lover with Lemons.

World’s oldest married couple celebrates 80th Valentine’s Day together.

Hugging Is A Very Great Spiritual and Emotional Boost.

Katherine Johnson’s NASA bio and the NPR obit.

RIP Kellye Nakahara.

Donnybrook

After impeachment, passing most of the checkpoints on the way to authoritarianism and Accelerating Corruption and Autocracy.

John Kelly Finally Lets Loose.

Family Of Pardoned Felon Gave Heavily To Him and The Trouble with His Clemencies and Pardons.

Jealous of a dog and its positive press.

State Department Struggling on Diversity.

Republican Party sending mailer labeled census ahead of official forms.

Black History Month

“The past is all that makes the present coherent” – James Baldwin

Seeing Black History in Context.

Silent Work in Elmira: Letters from the Wilbur H. Siebert Underground Railroad Collection

Tulsa plans to dig for suspected mass graves from a 1921 race massacre.

The Legacy of Mildred Johnson Edwards.

Backwards, Forwards.

Now I Know

Cheese You Can Bank On and The Feud Over the Top of the Mountains and How to Brew Cleaner Water and The Fake Cold Moment of the Cold War and The Man Who Covered Up An Eruption and This Isn’t His Fight Song.

MUSIC

No Rules For Donald – Randy Rainbow.

The Jeffersons Theme Song, lyrics by Jeff Barry and the late Ja’net Dubois.

Africa by William Grant Still.

Coverville 1296: Peter Gabriel Cover Story III and 1297: The Smokey Robinson & The Miracles Cover Story II.

Hiawatha Overture by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Seventy-Six Trombones– Ambassadors of Harmony.

Sketches of Spain – Miles Davis.

Mama Africa featuring Andrew Tosh.

Touch The Hem of His Garment, plus pop hits by Sam Cooke.

Till There Was You – MonaLisa Twins.

Caroline – Julian Neel.

50 Drug-Addled Albums.

The 100 best guitar albums of all time.

Black History Month: Skin Deep

Seven ideas to help Boston become a more welcoming place to all

Bring Black History Month to the classroom by teaching your students about the work and lives of influential African-Americans

Presbyterian Church USA resources to understand and combat racism

The arc of history bends towards justice quote originally came from Theodore Parker

Celebrating the Afro-Puerto Rican ‘Father of Black History’ Arturo Schomburg

Jimmy Durham, Victoria soldier

In 1887, African-American cane workers in Louisiana attempted to organize—and many paid with their lives

Fredi Washington negotiated bigotry and made her way in the movies; the black celebrity from Hollywood’s Golden Age who revealed the complexities of passing for white

When cops raided a hip 1970s London cafe, Britain’s Black Power movement rose up

AND EVEN TODAY

From online troll to white supremacist leader: exposing the lie behind one man’s rise

Cheap White Whine: Racism, Affirmative Action, and the Myth of White Victimhood

Racism, fundamentalism, fear and propaganda: An insider explains why rural, white Christian America will never change

Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV Statement on Leaving His Church after Speaking Out against White Supremacy at MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS

Defiance In The Cold Sunshine: The Martin Luther King March overshadowed by racist profanity

Banned – Reports of Voter Suppression Tactics Pour In From Alabama Election

I used to lead tours at a plantation; you won’t believe the questions I got about slavery

Owning My Racism: a sermon given at First Parish Church in Billerica, MA on January 14, 2018

Boston. Racism. Image. Reality. A better Boston? The choice is ours; the final installment of The Boston Globe Spotlight Team’s series on race showcases seven ideas to help the city become a more welcoming place to all

MUSIC

Skin Deep – Playing For Change and Buddy Guy; the song includes over 50 musicians from coast to coast featuring Tom Morello, Billy Branch, Chicago Children’s Choir, and Roots Gospel Voices of Mississippi

Shakedown – Valerie June

Jumpin Jive – Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers; from the movie “Stormy Weather” (1943)

Black Pearl – Sonny Charles and Checkmates, Ltd.

Quincy Jones Has a Story About That