The culture war has always been about race

Sen. Jesse Helms accepts the "Proudly Pro-Life" award from the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund in 1998.

Before the Reagan years, the culture wars were an anti-civil-rights struggle focused on race (“states’ rights,” busing, etc.), which drew support from white evangelical voters. After the Reagan years, the culture wars became an anti-feminist struggle focused on sex (abortion, LGBT rights, etc.), which solidified that white evangelical support into the GOP’s largest and most reliable voting bloc. That was a huge change. Or, maybe, it wasn’t. [Read more...]

White evangelical voters, Donald Trump, and the evolution of the religious right

"There's a bear in the woods," Ronald Reagan reminded voters in 1984. That bear was not abortion or gays. It was Russia (and black people).

This isn’t really about Donald Trump. It’s about white evangelical voters and their support (later revoked) for Jimmy Carter and their support (later regretted) for George W. Bush. And it’s about why it’s misleading and anachronistic to imagine that the religious right of 1980 was anything at all like the religious right of 1988 or of 2004 or of 2015. [Read more...]

Where you gonna run to? Tim LaHaye and Billy Graham vs. Peter Tosh and Nina Simone

Same words. Different sermon.

Nina Simone learned the song “Sinner Man” from her mother, who was a revivalist Methodist preacher. White revivalist preachers sang that song too, but even though most of the words were the same, the meaning was very different. [Read more...]

‘The propriety of the nation must be startled’

Douglass

It’s Friday the 14th, but let’s have some Douglass anyway: “Scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (8.7)

Max Ehrenfreund on Kansas’ efforts to kick the poors. Ta-Nehisi Coates on “Color-Blind Policy, Color-Conscious Morality.” Randall Kennedy on “The Civil Rights Movement and the Politics of Memory.” Jill Lepore on arguments from privacy and arguments from equality. And Sr. Joan Chittister on “pro-life” vs. pro-birth. [Read more...]

‘Why is it men who commit mass shootings?’

AllDudes

We all can see this. We all know this. The pattern is so overwhelming and obvious that it goes without saying, and so we rarely mention it. But it’s something we should discuss and explore. Mass shootings are a lethally violent form of male behavior. This is a thing that men do. Why? [Read more...]

Try not to be the Bad Guy in the story: What it means to be ‘on the wrong side of history’

This man lost. His side lost. But he was not on "the wrong side of history" because he is the good guy in this story.

“The wrong side of history” is not a claim about the future, but a claim about the present. And it’s not a claim about winners or losers or about the inevitable progress of the dialectic. It’s about good guys and bad guys. Every rhetorical invocation of TWSOH is an invitation to ask Mitchell and Webb’s question: “Are we the baddies?” [Read more...]

Who is [always, constantly] burning black churches?

TaskForceReport2

We don’t have readily available data on the historic or current rates of arson attacks targeting black churches. We thus don’t know if the current wave of reports of such attacks represents an increase in the number of incidents or an increase in the amount of attention paid to them in the media. Whether or not the number or rate of such attacks is currently on the rise, the more important fact is that such attacks on black churches in America have never stopped. [Read more...]


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