Marshawn Lynch’s Upside-Down Example

NFL: NFC Championship-San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

As Marshawn Lynch made a mockery of his Super Bowl interviews last week, he also became the symbol of the persecuted black man.

In a day and age where all of us have the responsibility of thought to real racial issues, I found the Lynch caper to be a waste of some really good energy.

With Marshawn Lynch, where was the cause? He didn’t want to talk to the media. Apparently his attitude for not talking goes back to his days as a running back with the Buffalo Bills, where the press excoriated him for some off-the-field transgressions. OK, I got that. Lynch wanted to get back at the press. But where else was there a racial cause?
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What New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait Gets Wrong About Political Correctness

Jonathan Chait, previously a senior editor at The New Republic and currently a writer at New York magazine, spent a great amount of words last week espousing the virtues of freedom, liberty, and being able to say what you want. The New Republic is seen as something of an institution in journalism, though not without its problems, problems which have been discussed critically and ardently by prominent members of the journalism community, including The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates. In December, the magazine suffered losses as many staffers resigned in response to a change in editorial direction. Chait was among those who resigned.

Now on solid ground at New York, Chait once a voice on the front lines liberalism at his old post, is using his new footing to push back on the criticism he and his colleagues received as editors at The New Republic. Chait’s missive is a challenge to liberal culture’s need for so-called political correctness.

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Arcadia University to Host “Letters to Trayvon” Event

A flyer for "Letters to Trayvon" at Arcadia University.

A flyer for “Letters to Trayvon” at Arcadia University.

Trayvon Martin is dead, but Arcadia University will not see him forgotten.

The university on the outskirts of Philadelphia will take the last weekend of February — the third anniversary of Martin’s death — to celebrate his life with a social media campaign, art exhibit, and a sit-down interview with Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father.

“This is going to be an evening of healing and celebration,” said Dr. Doreen Loury, an Arcadia faculty member helping coordinate the event.
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It’s Time to End Black History Month

black history month-940x540

Frederick Douglass, public domain

A version of this article ran in February, 2012.

Despite being the self-described “Angriest Black Man in America,” I agree with many whites who argue that Black History Month should be abolished.

But we agree for totally different reasons.

They want it abolished because they’re either, at best, racially insensitive or, at worst, just plain racist. That’s why they take the emotionally based position that Black History Month is nothing more than some reverse racism entitlement nonsense that gives credit to a whiny race of shiftless people who have always received much more than they have ever given to America and the colonies.

Furthermore, they claim, Black History Month is unfair to white ethnics whose ancestors came here through Ellis Island and were subjected to harsh discrimination. But, they contend, instead of complaining, their ancestors simply fought through it, pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, and in just a few generations became educated, successful, and even prosperous members of society, living the American Dream.

Moreover, they say, they never needed no damn English, Italian, German, Polish, or other history month because their superior actions spoke louder than inferior words. Therefore, they opine, Black History Month should be abolished.

Good conclusion. Bad reasoning.

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If Martin Luther King Jr. Were Alive Today, Would He Be a Conservative?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reacts in St. Augustine, Fla., after learning that the Senate passed the Civil Rights Bill, June 19, 1964.  (AP Photo)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reacts in St. Augustine, Fla., after learning that the Senate passed the Civil Rights Bill, June 19, 1964. (AP Photo)

Here are a few names Martin Luther King Jr. would probably be called if he were still alive and active in politics today.

Race hustler. Socialist. Peacenik. Commie. Blame-America-firster.

Today is the day that we celebrate Dr. King and his dream. He’s been dead long enough, and the cause he fought for now mainstream enough, that the day is celebrated on a bipartisan basis — so much so that Republicans have even, in recent years, tried to claim that King would be one of them.

Doubtful.

More likely is this: If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive, Republicans would sneer at him in the same fashion they do every other African-American leader who isn’t, well, a Republican — which is to say almost all of them.

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Three Lessons for Police

Some police officers, left, turn their backs in a sign of disrespect as Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks as others, at right front line, stand at attention, during the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Liu and his partner, officer Rafael Ramos, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Some police officers, left, turn their backs in a sign of disrespect as Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks as others, at right front line, stand at attention, during the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Liu and his partner, officer Rafael Ramos, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

When New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio went on the record in saying that he and his wife have “had to literally train” their bi-racial son, Dante, about how to interact with police officers, it set of a battle of wills between the Mayor’s office and the New York Police Department.

De Blasio’s comments come on the heels of non-indictments over the police killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and a wave of “Black Lives Matter” protests happening nationwide, including Philadelphia. Protesters are seeking aim to raise awareness about police brutality and call for reforms in the justice system.

Sadly, in the case of NYPD, the message has been distilled into a murky binary of black versus blue. The department has used the tragic shooting deaths of Officer Wenjian Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos to leverage their own passive-aggressive disrespect of both the mayor’s office and the community they are supposed to protect and serve. Officers have literally turned their backs at the mayor during funeral services for both officers (despite the families’ requests.) These self-interested acts have only widened the gap between police and people of color.

The Philadelphia Police Department can only learn from NYPD’s egregious mistakes. Here are three important things for police departments to consider in the wake of the protests:
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Here’s Why the Penn Frat Christmas Card Isn’t Actually Racist

upenn-frat-christmas-card-beyonce-blow-up-sex-doll

Well, it’s been quite a year for race relations in the United States. From the Ferguson and Eric Garner grand jury decisions and their related protests to Donald Sterling and the Redskins, there has been plenty of racism (and accusations of racism) to go around. And anyone who doesn’t think that racism is an endemic, deeply rooted problem that won’t easily (or ever) be solved is delusional. But that doesn’t mean that everything that offends our heightened racial sensitivities is, in fact, racist. Read more »

Why “I Can’t Breathe” Matters

Dec 8, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) wears an " I Can't Breathe" t-shirt during warm ups prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.  Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 8, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) wears an ” I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt during warm ups prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There was once a time in sports where it was cool to be an anti-hero. Charles Barkley ran a money-making campaign to prove he was not a role model. Michael Jordan, the best to ever do it, never made it his business to prove that he cared about the community either, despite how the hood’s love of Jordans has kept his money long in the years after basketball.

“Republicans buy shoes, too,” he once said. (Or possibly didn’t. Either way, Jordan was famous for his non-political stances during his playing career.)

The 1980s and early 90s, the years of modern excess, were years where anyone could say anything what they wanted, because everyone seemingly had everything they wanted. It was easy not to care, especially if you were one of the world’s biggest athletes.

But something’s changed in a major way. There’s something very special happening in sports right now. People care.

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