The Second Amendment, the NRA, and the quest to militarize American life

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Parkland shooting survivor-turned-activist Emma Gonzalez (left) grills NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch on gun control.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of the most hotly debated pieces of text in history. For devotees, it guarantees the most important freedom ever enshrined in a government document. For critics, it is a dangerous relic of colonial history with little relevance to modern life. Continue reading

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America was not ready for a black president

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President Obama convened his controversial beer summit in 2009, after the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.

During Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, pundits spent a great deal of time on the question, “Is America ready for a black president?” The question seemed both deeply racist – as though black people had to wait for white America to be ready for them – and insulting to all Americans’ intelligence. But after two terms of President Obama and the rise of Donald Trump, the answer in hindsight seems to have been a decisive “No.” Continue reading

#BoycottStarWarsVII is the dumbest hashtag activism yet

John Boyega is set to star in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

John Boyega is set to star in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

You’ve really got to feel bad for white people. At one time, they controlled 100 percent of the nation’s political seats, ran all the biggest business enterprises, and enjoyed a media that only cared about them. Now, they control only 80 percent of Congress, 96 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions, and have only FOX News to cater to them. They’re slipping.

Worst of all, Hollywood cast a black man as a lead in the upcoming Star Wars movie. When The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18, John Boyega will play a Storm Trooper who, presumably, leaves the dark side to become a Jedi. This means Darth Vader is more racially progressive as an employer than many Americans are in real life. From the moment Boyega lifted his helmet to reveal a black face in the film’s newest trailer, segments of white America were outraged. Continue reading

If Ferguson police want an end to violence, they should stop acting violently

What’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri is not unprecedented. Police violence in the US has been escalating for years. Given the context of Nixon’s war on drugs, crack’s urban proliferation following the CIA’s funding of cocaine-dealing Contras, and the post-9/11 world of heavily-armed storm troopers kicking ass on Main Street, it’s not difficult to understand how tensions explode between a population and its police force. Continue reading