…for violent, armed, cop-beating white mobs

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In terms of a crime against our democracy, last week’s siege of the Capitol was the worst thing to happen to America since 9/11, but it wasn’t nearly as surprising. The Trump-inspired white terrorist violence we all knew was coming crashed through the doors of Congress. Trump summoned an armed mob of clowns, conspiracy theorists, insurrectionists, and white supremacists intent on disenfranchising 81 million Americans, inflamed and unleashed them on Congress.

For conservatives who haven’t fully bought into conspiracy theories and outright lies about the election, the Trump Mob that rioted at the Capitol, destroyed property, killed a police officer, and left bombs strewn around DC, was, at long last, a bridge too far. For the first time since Trump took control of the GOP, polling suggests schisms among Republicans when it comes to their feelings about the attack on the seat of American democracy while it was in the process of finalizing the transition of power. However, in an extraordinarily uncharacteristic move, conservatives who didn’t support the murderous, police-beating white mob have displayed empathy for lawbreakers who repeatedly didn’t follow the instructions of the police — a crime punishable by death — conservatives have assured us time and again. …


For Black Americans Trump’s America Loving Base Is a Familiar Foe

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The America Trump and his supporters have put on display these past four years has shocked and horrified people here at home and around the world. “What has happened to America?” is a common refrain of those unfamiliar with or in denial about this country’s reality. For many African Americans, however, Trump and his base are as familiar as the chill that goes down our spine when we see a police car in the rearview mirror. What is new is how out of place and disoriented they look in a world and in a country that is desperately trying to turn the page on their world view. These holdouts, wishing and praying to make America a “Great” white Christain male utopia again, in the not so distant past were better able to present themselves as reasonable, principled, and decent. …


It’s the Last Chance to Get Her Justice

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I have only recently started to understand the profound frustration that underpins some people’s view that voting doesn’t matter. The issues and injustices they face aren’t on the ballot and are totally ignored, or deepened, by the powers that be. Even worse, some people’s issues are paid lip service every couple of years by an endless stream of politicians rehearsed in the performative art of empathy. Meanwhile, the unaddressed issues that plague these could-be voters mount.

New Orleans, where I live, offers a prime example of this by way of a public housing complex, Gordon Plaza. It was built on a former landfill several decades ago, and its residents, low-income African American families, have been suffering from serious health problems and premature deaths ever since. Meanwhile, politicians have shown zero interest in correcting this injustice or doing anything about the larger systemic issues it resulted from. So why on earth would these people vote for people who will do nothing about an issue that is literally killing them? …


Misinformation, Intimidation, False Promises and Undisclosed Business Connections Call One Healthcare Provider’s Push to Reopen Into Question

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Photo by David Shoykhet on Unsplash

A parent could be forgiven for thinking Jefferson Parish’s school reopening was officially sponsored by Ochsner Healthcare; its name has been used by the Superintendent so much in the past few months. This trusted name in the community was attached to JP’s first ill-conceived and under-resourced plan to reopen in early August while Covid infection rates in the Parish were the highest in the state and despite the fact that our schools serve the already hardest-hit segments of the community.

Disappointingly, it wasn’t Ochsner that forced the Covid down players on the school board to step back and reassess. No, Ochsner was standing beside them and lending their credibility to a deeply flawed reopening plan. Ochsner by way of a pediatrician, NOT AN EPIDEMIOLOGIST, had advised the district about reopening and spoke in favor of it at a school board meeting on the grounds that schools are good for kids, which no one is disputing. When asked if reopening in the midst of a raging pandemic was safe, however, this Ochsner representative sidestepped the question with the finesse of a politician and said their plan was safer than doing nothing at all. …


Just Because You “Don’t See Color” Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Supporting White Supremacy

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Photo by Dean Hinnant on Unsplash

Racism is a major issue in this country and yet it’s nearly impossible to find any self-identifying racists. We’ve progressed to the point where there is a social stigma attached to it, and thus to even suggest someone might be racist is a sure-fire way to shut down a conversation. So in an ode to Jeff Foxworthy's “You Might be a Redneck if…”, I’ve come up with, what I hope is, a less abrasive way to discuss this sensitive topic. Feel free to add your own in the comments below.

You might be supporting white supremacy if you think being a racist is a yes or no question. …


They Depend on Young People Protecting Us Instead of Us Protecting Them

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Photo by Steven Libralon on Unsplash

I have yet to see a school reopening plan that isn’t suffering from one damning oversight: children’s actual behavior. As evidenced by the rapidly accumulating information coming in from what I’ve previously referred to as a nationwide Tuskegee Experiment being performed on some students and educators, reopenings plans are predictably failing, infections are spreading and teachers are already dying. More concerning, as the utter stupidity of reopening while a pandemic is raging becomes more evident, some of those still pushing for it have begun instituting policies to hide information about infections from parents, students, teachers, and support staff. For example, if my district, Jefferson Parish here in Louisiana, opens on schedule next week, I won’t necessarily be told if one of my students tests positive. And LSU, one the largest colleges in the country, initially announced it wasn’t going to make information about COVID infections on-campus available to the public. Thankfully a good ol’ fashioned public shaming talked them out of this unconscionable idea. …


The case for dating a friend.

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Photo by Sarah Noltner on Unsplash

In the not too distant past, I read a Tumblr post entitled, “Why Do Men Keep Putting Me in the Girlfriend-Zone?” To summarize the author’s supposedly satirical article, she complains about how her male friends, after a certain amount of time in their friendship, end up professing feelings for her. Oh God! How could this possibly be?! Why on Earth would a guy — after getting to know a woman really well through friendship — end up liking her? …


What Six Years in South Korea Taught Me About American Racism (An Excerpt)

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Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

In all this talk of Korea’s problems with isms, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that Americans were able to bring some of our own racism over to Korea with us. And I’m not just talking about the over-generalization of Koreans many of us sometimes gave in to while complaining about one aspect of Korea or another. I’m talking about our traditional black and white racial baggage.

In a national headline-generating incident captured on multiple
cellphone cameras and that involved a friend of mine, some American
expats’ deeply-ingrained racial thought processes came to the
foreground. …


Poor Children of Color Are Being Volunteered to be Lab Rats for the Rich in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

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Photo by Santi Vedrí on Unsplash

Ranking right up there with the Tulsa Race Massacre and the Wilmington Coup is another dark moment of American history well-known to Black Americans and lesser-known to whites that occurred in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1932 and is playing itself out again today in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana as schools prepare to reopen. The Tuskegee Experiment, run by the US government, studied the effects of syphilis on Black men by telling the men they would be treated for the disease when in reality they were all being given placebos. This continued well past 1947 when penicillin was discovered to be an effective treatment. …


Yesterday Teachers in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, a Covid Hot Spot, Went Back to School.

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Acknowledging the reality of the situation and ignoring his father’s insistence, the private, elite school the president’s son goes to, like many other schools attended by wealthy children, will remain closed until at least October. It’s not ideal for learning but in a situation where there are no good options, at least it’s not the worst. The same cannot be said for what is happening in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana where I’m a 5th year high school English teacher and was forced to go back into work yesterday several months after schools closed for public safety.

So is the virus under control? Not even close. Jefferson Parrish has the highest per capita infection rate in a state with one of the highest infection rates and the numbers haven’t even peaked yet. But even researched showed the number of new cases slowing that information must be viewed with the utmost suspicion since the CDC is no longer being allowed to report them in a “1984” style Big Brother misinformation campaign led by a man who thinks he’s saying something logical when he says if we test less, we’ll have fewer cases. …

About

Brian M. Williams, JD

Writer, Traveler, Educator, Mardi Gras DJ with a JD. Author of “Stranger in a Stranger Land: My Six Years in Korea” and “When a Stolen Child Returns.”

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