FREE WHITEWATER

Liberty

The Principle of Diversity Rests on Individual Rights

Some of Whitewater’s residents may have heard – because it’s been falsely told to them – that diversity – the inclusion of people from different backgrounds and characteristics – is a group value resting on subcultures of varying size. Hearing this, they’ve heard something else, too: that to abandon a particular leader in Hyer Hall…

Resolution & Defiance

Historian Blair L.M. Kelley describes What Civil Rights History Can Teach Kavanaugh’s Critics:

People watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony on monitors in an overflow room in the Dirksen Senate Building during Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings last month. Credit Damon Winter/New York Times

But in the end, these turn-of-the-20th-century African-American activists [in Richmond and dozens of other southern cities in 1904] could not stop Jim Crow’s advance. Their suits, sit-ins, letter-writing campaigns, boycotts, marches and impassioned pleas to lawmakers failed to make a difference when legislators were determined to segregate no matter the costs. Segregation or exclusion became the law of the land in the American South, and remained so for many years, separating black and white Southerners not only on trains and streetcars but also in schools, neighborhoods, libraries, parks and pools.

Progressives, liberals and sexual assault survivors and all those who desire a more just and decent America and who feel they lost when Kavanaugh was confirmed despite their protest should remember Mitchell, Plessy, Walker and Wells, along with Elizabeth Jennings, James Pennington, Lola Houck, Louis A. Martinet, Rodolphe Desdunes, P.B.S. Pinchback, W.E.B. DuBois, Mary Church Terrell, J. Max Barber and many others, including those whose names we do not know. All of these men and women were on the side of justice and lost. None of these people, who fought for full and equal public access as free citizens on trains and streetcars, stopped fighting. None abandoned what they knew was right. They all tried again. Most would not live to see things made right, but they continued.

Those who see Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a lost battle in the larger war for gender equality and dignity for women — and sexual assault survivors, specifically — should emulate the activists of generations past. They should keep organizing, connect with like-minded people, volunteer for organizations that advocate for survivors, consider running for office, and work on the campaigns of those they believe in. A week after his confirmation, a reminder is in order: Movements are about more than moments; they are about thoughtful networks of dissent built over time.

My scholarship has taught me that activism requires a certain resilience, and the willingness to be long-suffering in pursuit of the cause. I hope people remember this. I hope they keep going.

 

 

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The ‘Republican’ Candidate’s Meet and Greet

One reads that the self-described Republican candidate for the 43rd Assembly District will hold a meet and greet next week at a private establishment in town. Good for him – free speech is a core political right. (He’s also scheduled to appear at a local candidate’s forum this week. See The First & Last Questions.) He’s a…

The Motivation of the Horde

Most people, in all times and places, are clever and intelligent. It’s simply false to contend that only a few people are sharp; society does – and only can – function through the capable participation of many. At times in our own history, however, large numbers of our people have slipped into malevolence, in opposition…

Noah Smith on Diversity

Noah Smith of Bloomberg recently published a thirteen-tweet thread in reply to Tucker Carlson’s dismissive questioning of diversity.  The small town from which I write is a diverse place, of different ethnicities, occupations, and ages.  Smith’s defense of diversity as a social strength was first published on 9.9.18, beginning at 10:02 AM. His full remarks appear below,…

‘The Coalition of All Democratic Forces’

On Twitter, Garry Kasparov reflected on the diverse coalition of those opposed to Trumpism, and the need for accountability for Trump & his operatives. In reply, Benjamin Wittes wrote a series addressing Kasparov’s topic. Below, I have reproduced the original Kasparov tweet, and Wittes’s series in reply. Their conversation is (having started after an earlier…

‘A Free Press Needs You’

Following Trump’s repeated attacks on the press as the enemy of the people, hundreds of publications across America are today uniting in a defense of their right to free expression. The editorial board of the New York Times, in A Free Press Needs You, describes our heritage and the threat to it: In 1787, the…

A Roadmap for Renewal

No map provides all the detail one encounters when traveling a terrain; it is enough that it makes one’s chosen direction discernible.  Our present national conflict will one day end, and when it does millions who will have swept Trumpism into the dustbin will then have to renew American politics, restoring to this society once…

Happy Independence Day

In Congress, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the…

Detained, Unaccompanied Minors Discouarged from Talking About Their Conditions

Exclusive: Unaccompanied children are cautioned not to speak with reporters about their situation pic.twitter.com/kE3fiMV7FD — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) June 26, 2018 “If for whatever reason you talk to a reporter, you know what’s going to happen to your case?” the woman is heard saying in Spanish. “It is going to be on the news, and…

Print’s Continuing Decline (and the Message for Digital)

One can be a critic of newspapers (for their low quality and high boosterism), and yet feel a sadness at their decline. There’s a notice in the Janesville Gazette about downsizing of the daily print edition. See Objective: Preserve local journalism in the face of rising costs. Editor Sid Schwartz tells readers that the Gazette…