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John Lewis (Creative Commons via https://www.flickr.com/photos/shawncalhoun/29070772115)

Rather than attending tomorrow’s inauguration, about 50 lawmakers will be golfing, shopping, or catching up on Game of Thrones. They’re taking a cue from Congressman John Lewis, who last week said in an interview that he saw Donald Trump’s election as President as illegitimate because of Russian interference, and therefore wouldn’t be attending the swearing-in.

Not surprisingly, there’s been pushback from Trump and his supporters. But there must also be some anxiety within the Democratic coalition, just beneath the more audible praise of Lewis’ courage. Is the boycott threatening U.S. …


Fake news is bad for Democrats. But is it bad for democracy?

Since Donald Trump’s election win, there has been frantic hand-wringing about so-called “fake news.” Misleading or fabricated content, primarily online, had massive reach in the days and months leading up to the election. Depending on your perspective, this may have misled voters, tilting the election Trump’s way despite polls showing a different picture — or, for those farther to both right and left, the entire thing may primarily be a comforting rationalization for a media and political establishment coming to terms with its own shocking failures.

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Now, many in that same establishment are advocating that platforms like Facebook take steps to filter fake news. For anyone who has been paying attention to debates about the media for more than a few months, this is deeply ironic, for several reasons. This sudden terror of the uncontrolled nature of the internet, after all, comes after decades of criticism of the same kind of the old, highly centralized information gatekeeping of Big Media — criticisms that, while now broadly the purview of the right, gained much of their initial traction and intellectual ballast from the left. …


A message for my fellow white people.

The day Philando Castile was shot, I went climbing. Within about fifteen minutes I hurt my hand — I’m nearly 37, and I have begun to hurt myself with frustrating regularity on the climbing wall. This time, it was a bad enough strain, or sprain, or what have you, that I had to stop climbing.

Instead, I sat down at the rowing machine and pulled for a frantic three minutes, my vision narrowing, my breath unsteady, until the deeper injury, the emptiness and confusion gnawing at my chest, made it impossible to go on. …


(and for the record, I kinda prefer wiggers)

When I was 19, I decided to grow dreadlocks.

Primarily, it was my way of articulating my consciousness about racial oppression. I had some firsthand experience with the subject, but mostly, my worldview came from a lot of hip hop, history books, and ethnic studies courses. I wasn’t particularly savvy about hair at the time, so for about three years I rocked frizzy, scraggly, half-formed dreads.

Of course, the most regrettable thing about my dreadlocks isn’t that they were shitty. It’s that I’m white.

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That’s me on the left at a radio station event in 1999, being very, very white.

My adolescence and early adulthood were one long process of understanding my whiteness against the backdrop of America’s profound racism. I spent a lot of time reading books that weren’t assigned in high school (or college), so I got pretty familiar with the many terrible things white people have done (and continue to do) to defend their privilege — a privilege that I constantly benefited from. …

David Z. Morris

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