Happy MLK day! That’s why I’m late, I swear. It isn’t because I spent the weekend trying to make a coffee roaster out of an old rotisserie oven. Anyway….
Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King, a man whose views, far from being that of mainstream America, are more in line with modern socialists and leftist radicals. King’s compassionate yet ideologically aggressive leftism is a powerful inspiration to those who want to make radical, peaceful change to our society. For those of you looking for some good reading for the day (besides Letter from a Birmingham Jail, which you’ve probably read a billion times), pick up A Testament of Hope from your local bookstore. You won’t regret it.
It’s a good day to talk about race. Here’s a link to Michelle Alexander’s recent talk in Portland, where she talks about her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness. Alexander alleges that mass incarceration and the drug war are ways of attacking black people that are equivalent to Jim Crow. I listened to this talk – she pulls out a lot of facts that make her point really well.
Joanna Brooks posted about how Manti Te’o's story has received much less attention than, say, the culture of acceptance of sexual assault at Notre Dame. Brooks alleges that the emphasis on Manti Te’o's story has been in part because of his Mormonism. However, I’m not sure I would even know that Te’o was Mormon was it not for Brooks – the media doesn’t seem to have latched onto the “Mormons are weird” narrative as much this time.
West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center released a report on the threat of far-right groups in the United States. Of course, Republican congresspeople are pissed, one congressional staffer asked, “When will the Combating Terrorism Center publish their study on real left-wing terrorists like the Animal Liberation Front, Earth Liberation Front, and the Weather Underground?” Seriously? The Weather Underground? Is it 1970 already? As loonwatch points out, right wing groups consistently outpace Muslims and leftists in terms of number of attacks. God forbid counter-terrorists actually try to stop the largest group of potential terrorists.
Hussien Rashid condemned New York mayor Michael Bloomberg for not fighting Islamophobia in New York City. It’s one of the best summaries of why Islamophobia is a real, scary thing.
Pope Benedict emphasized that Catholic Charities should not accept funding from those who disagree with their views on faith. In case it wasn’t clear that that was really all about the gays, he clarified by talking about the “dignity and beauty of marriage.” So.
Visit this blog tomorrow for a Tuesday Longread on the life of Martin Luther King Jr., and the meaning of religion in his life.