Hi RLD Family, I hope everyone had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. I’ve rounded up interesting pieces that I have been reading from around the web. Give them a read, and share your thoughts! The links are in the heading titles.
Senator Sessions is the new President’s pick for Attorney General. If confirmed by the Senate, he will replace Loretta Lynch. What disturbs me is the casual racism that was seen in some of his comments while serving as a United States Attorney in Alabama. As a USA, how can you even fathom that joking about the KKK is ok, even as you are prosecuting them? I get that as prosecutors/law enforcement, we often have a dark sense of humour to deal with the horrors we see regularly. But this comment shows a lack of judgment.
If he truly made the comment of calling a grown African American man “boy” — this hearkens back to the old days of Jim Crow and the 60’s– a reminder to “stay in your lane”.
Lastly, if he truly believes that the ACLU & NAACP force civil rights down the throat of others — how will that affect civil rights issues that are brought before him, possibly by these organizations, as Attorney General? The Attorney General runs the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Will they lay idle for the next four years?
A racist doesn’t necessarily say racist things daily. Some do. One can hold racist views and be polite. The true measure of a person is seen when the person is tested. A senate committee found his judgment too lacking to be a federal judge. In many ways, Attorney General is an even more critical position. Attorney General Lynch was more than qualified, but went through what can only be described as a hellified confirmation process. I hope that the Senate will do their job and seriously scrutinize Senator Sessions to determine if he is fit for this role.
In another example of casual racism — an African American police officer retired, and decided to join a new department. He found casual racism in this new assignment — such as officers referring to an area as the “n-word hill”, and using racial slurs in conversation, without even thinking it would be offensive. When the officer sought to make it a teaching moment by challenging the norm, he lost his position.
We must never stop challenging racism when we see it. Racism must not be the new normal.
In response to the spike in hate crimes in New York since the election, Governor Cuomo has created a special unit in the police department. He will also set up a legal defense fund for immigrants who cannot represent themselves but have been harmed. Finally, he will be meeting with college students to remind them that New York is their home, and it should be a safe place for them. Governor Cuomo is a major reminder of how local politics matters. Your state and local officials set the trend; foolishness can be the order of the day in Washington, but at home, our elected officials can choose to set a different standard. I applaud the Governor’s efforts, and challenge others to do the same.
In today’s beacon of hope — an avowed white supremacist changed his views as a result of education, and getting to know the people he hated. His family had home schooled him, isolating him so that he can be indoctrinated into their way of life. He was an heir to a racist throne. It was a long process, fueled by his intellectual curiosity while away at college — but he renounced his connection to racism, and publicly stated that he no longer agrees with his family’s views.
I have always believed college and the military are great equalizers in this country. No one is born racist; and with mingling as well as education, the fallacy of race supremacy can fall.
Last night saw the passing of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Some view him as a tyrant; others view him as a freedom fighter who defied the United States. I say “it’s complicated”. I firmly believe in the saying “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter“. He may have started with good intentions — that of liberating his people and bringing about change (sound familiar?) but he got lost along the way. This could be the ultimate case of “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. There are those that love him, and those that loathe him. Presently, celebrations are being held in the streets of Miami, with no signs of stopping. In the early days, Castro sent troops in an effort to liberate many African nations from colonial rule; but he was supporting Communist insurgents, not democracy. He was close to Nelson Mandela, a man who I greatly admire; but as I reflect on some of the inner turmoil in the African National Congress (ANC) where those who were viewed as traitors had burning tires hung around their necks, it is critical to note that the struggle for freedom is rarely a clean business. The poverty of those who remain in Cuba, as well as those who lost loved ones without so much as a trial is a terrifying part of the story. I know that this is a sensitive topic for my Cuban brethren, so I support whatever emotions they are feeling right now.