This picture of the Obama family arriving in Cuba is iconic. The headline in Huffington Post read “Obama in Havana.” The picture resonates with many other images, so I keep thinking about it. The photographer got lucky, was in the right place at the right time, lined up a perfect shot, at least to my untutored eye. The picture makes me think of Afro-Cuban art, the image of umbrellas that runs through African American art, second line parades in New Orleans, and the way that blocky and flowing images dominate those genres. Even though the color is stark, it’s still lovely.Beyonce’s “Formation” shows how iconicRead More →

It’s the same shining city for those relative few who are lucky enough to live in its good neighborhoods. But for the people who are excluded, for the people who are locked out, all they can do is stare from a distance at that city’s glimmering towers. – Mario Cuomo, 1984 DNC RIP 1/1/2015Read More →

In the 1800s, the Irish were New York City’s “ghetto thugs” and unwelcome “illegal aliens” (ugly words), much the way we think of people of color today. When they were required to defend the North in the Civil War, to risk life and limb for black slaves that most considered subhuman, well, that just added insult to injury. Irish and other impoverished immigrant males in New York City started the Draft Riots in the 1860s to protest. During that time, the New York police force was heavily populated by Irish. By the end of the 19th century, 70% of the New York police force wereRead More →

If you reject the idea of white privilege, please move on, because you will find nothing here to suit your purpose. The flurries of “criming while white” stories merely scratch the surface of illustrating white privilege. These stories just point out a double standard. They don’t show much beneath the surface about the structural racism that support double standards. Consequently, when the hashtags stop trending, our country faces the sad possibility of a memory wipe. White people have the luxury of forgetting. That’s white privilege, the privilege of forgetting and obliviousness. Profiling and police brutality, as overt examples of racial injustice, are tangible and concrete things. AlthoughRead More →

The latest viral police profiling confrontation is a black man, Brandon McKean, getting stopped by a Michigan cop for walking with his hands in his pockets in freezing cold weather. McKean’s video adds another example to the multitude of stories that are coming to white people’s attention about how police profile, harass, and brutalize people of color. What’s different in this case is that the police department defended itself with a counter-video on Facebook, demonstrating that McKean edited his version to make himself appear in a good light.The introduction of new media technology, which started changing the game with videos and Rodney King in 1992,Read More →