A Miracle in Charleston

When the arguments about guns and race subside after last week’s Charleston massacre — and, inevitably, they will — there is one moment from the whole ugly affair that I expect to remember for a long, long time.

That moment came after the alleged shooter, Dylann Roof, had been captured and brought before a judge to hear the charges and have bail set. In a moment unlike any I’ve experienced in court, the judge then allowed family members of the victims to speak to Roof.

And what happened was kind of extraordinary. Read more »

In Charleston Church Shooting, America’s Founding Racism Rears its Ugly Head — Again

AP-Dylann-storm-roof-bond-hearing-940x540

The media are notorious for name-calling.

Let me be even clearer. The racist white media and their racist white viewers, listeners and readers are notorious for their racist name-calling and racist approval of such.

Wednesday night’s attack by a white man against black churchgoers was textbook terrorism, but we’re currently engaged in a furious debate over whether to call it such. Meanwhile, the 21-year-old sadistic terrorist Dylann Storm Roof has been described in an ABC news broadcast as “just a quiet kid…,” in Reuters as “quiet and soft-spoken,” in the Washington Post as a “quiet, shy boy… (who) didn’t get into trouble… (and) a son, nephew, and brother… (who merely) slipped toward his alleged horrific… visit to the church, and in The Wall Street Journal as a “bright boy from a middle-class… family.”

Bullshit. Pure racist bullshit.

After all, this is the very same person who has reportedly confessed to methodically shooting to death nine defenseless bible-studying black women and men at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Therefore, he’s no nice kid who merely went astray through no fault of his own. To say otherwise is racist hypocrisy.
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Blackness Isn’t Transferable

Dylann Roof, left. Rachel Dolezal, right. (Dolezal photo: AP)

Dylann Roof, left. Rachel Dolezal, right. (Dolezal photo: AP)

Today marks the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States — the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with the news that slavery ended … some two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had legally, but not actually, freed slaves across the South.

On June 17, 2015, a terrorist named Dylann Roof walked into Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel AME Church, and opened fire, killing nine congregants he’d been praying with during the prior hour. Despite the end of the enslavement period and the current state of the Union, a Confederate flag still flies at full mast outside South Carolina’s state house, undisturbed.

All this, after two weeks of talking about an imposter. Read more »

Can You Drink Four Beers and Run a Mile? Find Out at the Brew Mile This Summer

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

If you’re a runner, you’re probably familiar with the concept of a beer mile, but for those who aren’t, it goes like this: Chug a beer, run a quarter of a mile, chug a beer, run a quarter of a mile, chug a beer, run a quarter of a mile and — you guessed it! — chug a beer, run a quarter of a mile. Oftentimes they’re pretty low-key affairs done with a group of running buddies at a track on a Saturday afternoon when no one’s expecting you to be productive. Because, well, all that beer.

To some people, this sounds like the best thing ever, and to others (like myself) it sounds like a vomit-inducing nightmare. But hey, to each his own. And if you’re in the first camp and you’ve never tried one before, here’s your chance: Brew Mile, essentially a beer mile on steroids, is coming to Philly’s XFinity Live on Friday, August 7th. And yes, there will be a gluten-free beer option, in case you were wondering.

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Alice Goffman’s Book on “Fugitive Life” in Philly Under Attack

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Last year, Alice Goffman published On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, an adaptation of her dissertation at Princeton. For six years, while a student at Penn and at Princeton, Goffman immersed herself in a Philadelphia neighborhood that she writes is “a lower-income Black neighborhood not far from [Penn’s] campus.” The book is an ethnography of the lives of the young men (and a few women) she hung out with in the neighborhood. She changed names and calls it “6th Street,” to avoid identifying her subjects.

In the book, her subjects are profiled, beaten harassed and tracked by the Philadelphia Police. She writes of police stealing from suspects. She says she witnessed 24 different police raids, including one where she was handcuffed, and four instances of men from 6th Street released from police custody with bloody fingertips.

It was met with massive praise upon release. Goffman, the daughter of esteemed sociologist Erving Goffman and a Philadelphia native who went to the Baldwin School, had already won a major award for her dissertation. Malcolm Gladwell called it “exceptional … devastating.” Cornel West said it was “the best treatment I know of the wretched underside of neo-liberal capitalist America.” The New York Times said it was “a remarkable feat of reporting.”

Goffman, now a professor of sociology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, has recently come under criticism. An anonymous take-down has floated around in academic circles. Northwestern law professor Steven Lubet, in an essay in the online book review site The New Rambler, accused Goffman of being “an accomplice in the evident commission of a major felony,” as well as getting facts wrong about policing in Philadelphia. Read more »

Why Doesn’t Serena Williams Get Her Due? She’s a Black Woman

Serena Williams (USA) poses with the trophy after her match against Lucie Safarova (CZE) on day 14 of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros. | Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Serena Williams (USA) poses with the trophy after her match against Lucie Safarova (CZE) on day 14 of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros. | Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

After winning the French Open finals on Saturday — despite a terrible case of the flu that caused her to vomit in the middle of a semi-finals matchSerena Williams gave us another reason not to count her out. She is now the holder of 20 Grand Slam titles, closing in on Steffi Graff’s Open Era record of 22. She is the most dominating player in tennis (male or female) and greatest American athlete of this generation. Period. Full Stop.

Most people don’t know that about her. Some would argue that’s because tennis is a niche sport. They are wrong.

Serena Williams doesn’t get her due because she’s black and female. Read more »

Former Penn Official: Admissions Practices at Elite Universities Hurt Asian Americans

diploma college

A former admissions official at the University of Pennsylvania says the admissions practices of elite universities often discriminate against Asian Americans.

The charge was made in an L.A. Times op-ed today by Sara Harberson, identified as “the former associate dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania and the former dean of admissions and financial aid at Franklin & Marshall College” in Lancaster, Pa.

While Asian-Americans often meet the requirements for admission, she wrote, they often lack a “tag” that compels the university to admit them — and that instead “racial stereotyping, money, connections and athletics” often become determining factors. Read more »

Here’s What I’d Have Asked LeSean McCoy About His Chip Kelly Remarks

Photo |  Jeff Fusco.

Photo | Jeff Fusco.

LeSean McCoy is a coward.

One day he’s calling his former coach a racist and the next day he feels no need to either explain or characterize what he said, as if throwing out the racist label is as easy to him as giving out a 20 cent tip at a burger joint.

Except that it’s not.

In this day and age, it is wholly improper to exhibit racist tendencies. We are (or at least should be) a more intelligent, enlightened and politically correct society. That’s a good thing. It shows that the human race is capable of growing and learning and tolerating each other in order to meld a better society. By the same measure, it is wholly improper to label someone a racist unless one can present compelling evidence. For instance, when a certain white Eagles wide receiver gets all banged up on cheap beer at a country concert, turns on a black security guard and yells that he’ll fight every “N-word” here, that’s fairly compelling evidence that he’s a racist.

On the flip side though, calling someone a racist — when there is no evidence that he or she is racist — leaves a mark that can never truly be washed out. It’s just not fair. Read more »

5 Dos and Don’ts for Flying Your Confederate Flag

The WXTU 31st anniversary concert was held over the weekend, across the river in Camden, and much of the talk following the event was about Metro’s report discussing how Confederate battle flags were much in evidence at the affair.

We like to think of ourselves as free-speech absolutists, so we don’t want to go around telling people they shouldn’t fly whatever the hell they want. Still, unless you want to be thought a total idiot, we’d suggest using the following guidelines to determine whether or not it’s really appropriate to bring a Confederate flag into Camden, New Jersey: Read more »

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