He was late for his first official duty — a press conference. Of course he was. As fellow 2016 inductee Shaquille O’Neal joked, “You’re talking about the Hall of Fame?” Allen Iverson, straight outta Hampton, does it his way and always has. Scarcely six feet tall, barely 165 pounds, he was the scrawny, ornery heart of the 76ers from his 1996 first-overall draft pick, leading the team on that thrilling 2001 ride to the NBA Finals against the Lakers. He was a Sixer again on the day in 2013 when he retired from the game, having been let go, at that point, by the Nuggets, the Pistons, the Grizzlies. Everyone knew he’d stayed too long in the gym. Read more »
In what is becoming something of a tradition, the night before a Donald Trump Philly visit, something media-memorable happens.
Last week it was Marco Gutierrez, the co-founder of Latinos for Trump, on MSNBC warning that one of the dire consequences of continued immigration would be “taco trucks on every corner.”
— Trevor Donovan (@TrevDon) September 2, 2016
Then last night — in advance of Trump’s scheduled appearance at the Union League today — Trump’s social media team allowed a tweet to go out marking anti-feminist Phylllis Schlafly’s death … only it was spelled “Phillies” Schlafly.
— Nonfat Soy Latte (@NonfatSoyLatte) September 6, 2016
Uh, oh. Guess the Donald’s got Philadelphia on his mind — and probably not because of the ho-hum season the fourth-place NL East team is having. Read more »
Well, that didn’t last long, did it? Not even a week after snatching every potential outlet and headline possible, Colin Kaepernick’s protest has essentially come to an end. His stance, which was never about the National Anthem but about using the moment at the beginning of NFL games to serve as a quiet reminder that the country still hasn’t fulfilled the promise of an equitable society for its black and brown citizens, drew the ire of players, military men and women, pundits inside and outside the game, and tons of everyday citizens. After a conversation earlier this week with Nate Boyer, a former green beret and an NFL player himself, the 49ers QB has come out stating that he’ll now kneel during the National Anthem, a conciliatory gesture that comes as a result of talking with Boyer. He started the kneel practice Thursday night in San Diego during the National Anthem and has stated that he’ll also donate the first $1 million dollars of this season’s earnings to social justice organizations.
This ordeal will likely represent a win for the NFL, an organization that has consistently proven more adept at suppressing social issues than addressing them. The artful thing here is that the latest update keeps the conversation bottled on two things in the public’s mind: Kaepernick’s choice and patriotism. Those are two issues that the public (and the league) can cleanly cleave; even the intervention of Boyer confirms that this was still a tightly controlled message about the “what” of the protest, not the “why.” Read more »
I’ve been reading and rereading Warsan Shire’s poetry lately. The Somali-British poet was launched to a level of fame poets rarely achieve when Beyoncé extensively quoted her work in the visual album “Lemonade” — words of love, loss and infidelity beautifully suited to the theme of the American superstar’s concept piece.
But the words I’m rereading are about a different kind of love, loss and faithlessness: the love that prompts a mother to take her child on a dangerous boat ride on the Mediterranean or to cling to the external railing of “La Bestia” (the train that crosses from Mexico to the United States). Shire’s are the words of loss experienced by refugee and immigrant; of the faithlessness of countries that make survival so unlikely that its residents must flee, and the faithlessness of receiving countries who treat those immigrants and refugees as if the desire to live were criminal. Read more »
Late last week, in his umpteenth “foot in mouth” moment, Donald J. Trump rhetorically asked African Americans a question that in my mind perfectly synthesized this election and Trump’s used car salesman pitch. “What do you have to lose by trying something new like Donald Trump?” Read more »
The #blacklivesmatter movement has been no stranger to controversy. In its short existence it has garnered a reputation for being anti-American, a race-baiting organization, and, most recently — tapping into the fear zeitgeist for many white Americans — a domestic sleeper cell of terrorists. Reaction to #blacklivesmatter has at times even transcended racial identity, with critics accusing it of being “uncoordinated,” “loud” and “ineffective,” or reducing its most visible torchbearers — the protestors who have clogged everything from highways to brunch spots, to city hall, to the DNC — with derisive claims that they are shiftless, unthinking, unemployed, idealistic people with lots of energy and little planning in much the same way that the country has discredited other system disruptors like the Bernie and Occupy camps.
It has also spawned another type of reaction too; the most popular combative rhetorical retorts to #blacklivesmatter have been across-the-aisle brand battle cries of #alllivesmatter or #bluelivesmatter. It’s made the conversation around it all feel like we’re wading into increasingly turbulent waters while one side yells “Marco!” and the other side yells “Polo!,” all resulting in a stalemate. That the conversation on race now feels inescapable for folks only begins the long road toward empathy about the everyday experience for many Black Americans who feel we’ve had no choice but to navigate this country’s implicit and explicit unequal racial codes. From schools, to employment, to voting, to police interactions, it’s always been a sink-or-swim experience for us, and given the racial animus here, it’s often felt more like sinking. To quote David Foster Wallace (out of context): “this is water.”
That’s what I thought about when 20-year-old Simone Manuel emerged from the pool — breaking the surface and making history when she not only set a new Olympic record in the women’s 100-meter freestyle swimming, but also became the first African-American female to win gold in an individual swimming event. Read more »
Trailblazing Black gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin once said, “Let us be enraged about injustice, but let us not be destroyed by it.” In the midst of this presidential campaign, the Black community couldn’t be more enraged. Many rightfully feel as though neither major political candidate — Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump — will best serve the interests of the people. Some have taken it a step further by considering voting for a third-party candidate.
One of those individuals is Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, a powerhouse commentator and scholar on race and politics. But such a position is more dangerous for our community than he and others might imagine. Read more »