Saturday, February 21, 2009

"Certainly we are an America ardently "conversing" about it year-round. What Holder wants is not a conversation but a conversion."

The indispispensable John McWhorter, on Eric Holder's "nation of cowards" comment, with regards to our conversation (or lack thereof) about race. My view is not only that Holder's words were an inappropriate way of making a legitimate argument, but also that he is too harsh, even on the substance. McWhorter handles this better than I could:

This idea of a "conversation" (conversion) on race forever just out of reach is interesting in an intellectual sense. However, all evidence is that the only conversation that's going to happen already is. It is a sometimes messy exchange, conservative and liberal going head-to-head, gradually settling on a centrist position.

Namely, racism must be reviled, the government can do things to help people, but much of what ails black people today is too abstractly connected to racism for whites to feel guilty about it anymore. That centrist position is no longer heresy among an ever-growing number of blacks or whites, and is underscored by a black man running the United States.

Yeah. The fact is, we've been having a conversation about race for a while now, and there is of course a lot more tht ought to be addressed. but I suspect Holder's beef is that we're not havig the one he would like us to have.

Read the whole thing.

HT: Jac

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"That a part of my family started Jim Crow is kind of a load to carry, " she said. "I wish I could change that."

That's from Phoebe Ferguson, the great-granddaughter of Judge John Ferguson, who ruled against Homer Plessy in the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson. The descendants of Plessy and Ferguson met in New Orleans, to remember the historic event of Homer Plessy's act of courage:

People often think that his ancestor held some responsibility for the legalized segregation known as "separate but equal, " said Keith Plessy, 52, a longtime New Orleans hotel bellman whose great-grandfather was Homer Plessy's first cousin. In actuality, Homer Plessy boarded that train as part of a carefully orchestrated effort to create a civil-rights test case, to fight the proliferation of segregationist laws in the South.

Keith Plessy first learned about his relationship to the case from his teachers at Valena C. Jones Elementary School, who called him to the front of the room as they discussed the case. But his textbooks simply listed the name of the case and its result: a half-century of "separate but equal" schools, drinking fountains and buses.

Phoebe Ferguson, 51, a documentary filmmaker, left New Orleans in 1967 but moved back after discovering her great-great-grandfather's role in the infamous legal fight.

Judge John Howard Ferguson ruled against Plessy from his bench in Orleans Parish Criminal Court. The judge was born in Massachusetts and had strong ties to abolitionists, she said. So she doesn't think he was a racist.

Still, Phoebe Ferguson can't quite get over the powerful impact his decision had on the black community, which would endure a half-century of government-sanctioned segregation.

"That a part of my family started Jim Crow is kind of a load to carry, " she said. "I wish I could change that."

Read the whole thing.

HT: Althouse

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Etta James vs. Beyonce (and Barack Obama)

This is all still in the gossipy stage at this point, but the word on the street is that Etta James was not at all pleased about Beyonce singing the song she made famous, "At Last, " at the Inauguration. Based on her rant though, something tells me the real focus of her ire lies elsewhere:

"You guys know your president, right? You know the one with the big ears? Wait a minute, he ain't my president, he might be yours, he ain't my president," James told fans during a Seattle concert last week.

"You know that woman he had singing for him, singing my song -- she's gonna get her a-- whipped. The great Beyonce...But I can't stand Beyonce," she added. "She has no business up there, singing up there on a big ol' president day...singing my song that I've been singing forever."

I think her real issue is Obama. For some reason, she has beef with Obama. I suspect she didn't want Beyonce singing her song, but I don't think she's mad at Obama because Beyonce sang at his Inauguration, rather I think she's mad at Beyonce, because she sang at his Inauguration. She started off by dissing Obama, renounced him as her President, and didn't mention his name.

It's as if she saying, "You sang my song there? For that guy?"

Again, this is all gossip at this point, but I think Etta James has ought with our new President. Ideology? Disgruntled Hillary voter? Just doesn't care for the guy? Who knows.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Pajamas Are Back In The Drawer?

Apparently, Pajamas Media, the mostly-right wing blogging outfit is going belly up, and there's a whole lot of wailing, and gnashing of teeth going on, along with the schaudenfreude. Roy Edroso over at the Village Voice is having all kinds of fun chronicling this thing, and I think offers up the coolest, snarkiest, smackdown I've seen in a while (you'll need to read the comments for the context):

Keep this under your hat, but the Voice sells ads and uses the money to pay us. That's capitalism, comrade, and as much as you and I dislike it, it's the deal we're stuck with. (The Voice also saves money by "crowdsourcing" other editorial functions, so thanks, Nikki, for the proofreading!)

The thing is, PJM has embraced, with a few notable exceptions, full-on, right-wing anti-Obama attack mode, culminating in the ascendancy of celebrity journalist/one-man-ego-trip/righty icon JTP as their special reporter for Israel. Waging war on the MSM is one thing, but it does help to make sure you can pay your bills first, you know? No gloating here, though. Besides, they do have a few really good bloggers who still work there.

Read the whole piece. You won't regret it.

HT: Althouse