Can Bernie Sanders Be Less White? -- The Daily Beast

A little over a decade ago, I met Bernie Sanders when I was a pimply-faced undergrad interning in his Washington office. I was attending college at a small liberal arts school in South Carolina, and I desperately needed a change of scenery, and his was the political voice I related to the most at the time.

I needed to be around voices that ran counter to the toxic patriotic bravado that had consumed America in our post-9/11 world. Our gung-ho attitude was about to result in disastrous foreign policy decisions, and unprecedented infringements on civil liberties. Too many Muslim Americans were targets of unjust abuse as a fear of foreign “brown” people consumed the country, and this hit home to me as an African American even if the abuse was not directed at me. When I flew to DC to start my internship in 2003, I was still stopped and taken aside for a more thorough security check at the airport. My complexion and my beard had made me a potential threat to the state. Our world was getting out of hand, and I wanted to work for a voice of reason, so to the surprise of many I decided to intern for a socialist from Vermont.

Read the entire article at The Daily Beast: here.

White People Should Read Black Twitter -- The Daily Beast

Recently, the Los Angeles Times made what many people might consider a pretty astonishing decision, especially in this age of layoffs and buyouts and fewer and fewer reporters. It hired a full-time reporter to cover Twitter. No, check that. Not Twitter. The paper hired a full-time reporter just to cover Black Twitter.

For the uninitiated, Black Twitter isn’t some organized effort. There is no central organizing apparatus of Black Twitter that is coordinating hashtags. There is no mission statement, and there is no clearly defined purpose. It is simply black Americans talking to one another about what matters most to them. But what makes it new is that all of this is occurring within an environment where non-black voices can overhear the conversations.

Read the entire article at The Daily Beast: here.

Obama, HUD Take on Racism in Housing -- The Daily Beast

It may not have anything to do with Donald Trump or Confederate flags, but the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s announcement to modify rules and release new data covering integration and segregation with regard to fair housing practices is important news, and a necessary and inventive approach for combating systemic racism and inequality.

HUD will provide publicly open data “on patterns of integration and segregation, racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, disproportionate housing needs, and disparities in access to opportunity.” The new data will provide local officials with valuable information to combat segregation in their communities and to create housing policies that will do so.

Read the entire article at The Daily Beast: here.

Coming Next to the South Carolina Statehouse Grounds: The Klan -- The Daily Beast

On July 18, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan—“The Largest Klan in America!” according to the group’s website—are holding a rally on the South Carolina statehouse grounds to protest the removal of the Confederate battle flag.

The group is protesting “the Confederate flag being took down for all the wrong reasons,” says James Spears, the Great Titan of the Pelham, North Carolina chapter of the KKK. “It’s part of white people’s culture.” One does wonder what Spears thinks the right reasons would be.

Read the entire article at The Daily Beast: here.

Charleston Lesson: Black Americans Live With Terrorism All the Time -- The Daily Beast

My family is from Charleston, and has lived in the city since the late 1700s as Free Persons of Color (FPC). In the 1860s, a couple of my ancestors fled the city to avoid unjustly being forced into slavery, and decided to join the Union army to ensure the freedom of black, and all, Americans.

Many of my ancestors have fought in wars or served in the military to preserve our freedoms. My family is full of ministers, teachers, nurses, and people with advanced degrees. Prior to the Civil War, when it was illegal to educate blacks in Charleston, my ancestors secretly learned how to read. And today my grandmother still lives downtown, not far from Emanuel AME, and numerous others still live in the area. My cousin David Mack III is a State Representative for South Carolina in Charleston, and still in the eyes of some Americans, all of this is either meaningless or a sign of the ruining of America.

Read the entire article on The Daily Beast: here.

If Rachel Dolezal Says She’s Black, She’s Black. Sort Of. -- The Daily Beast

There’s a line in The Jerk when Steve Martin’s character, Navin Johnson, the adopted, simpleton white son of black sharecropping parents, receives some sobering news. His mother tells him: “Navin, it’s your birthday, and it’s time you knew….You’re not our natural-born child.” And Navin replies:

“I’m not? You mean I’m gonna STAY this color?”

I’ve been unable to stop thinking about this scene lately, ever since Rachel Dolezal took racial immersion to a whole new level. Now we are in uncharted territory. Jokes can be a great stop-gap to address the complex realities of the world, but Dolezal’s actions have forced us to reexamine the racial identities that have defined our lives to a large degree. America has always joined black ancestry, identity, and culture as inseparable attributes, and Dolezal makes us wonder if a greater nuance or flexibility is needed in this discussion.

Read the entire article at The Daily Beast: here.

The Real Felony: Denying Prisoners the Right to Vote

Recently, Hillary Clinton dramatically put voting rights back on the national agenda with an audacious call to register every American citizen when he or she turns 18. Voter ID laws are not new issues in our politics, but Clinton’s full-throated appeal felt serious and sincere: Perhaps we will finally tackle the perverse voter disenfranchisement of minorities and the poor that still persists throughout this country.

But I’ll go her one better. If Hillary is serious about social justice and equality, I hope she does not overlook one nearly voiceless population that needs to be included in this debate: ex-convicts returning home from prison, and, yes, even incarcerated prisoners.

Read the entire article at the Daily Beast: here.

Can We Please Get God Out of Religion? -- The Daily Beast

Millennials—soon to be the largest generation of Americans, surpassing the baby boomers—are fleeing organized religion in droves. As a result, a generation of Americans is creating a national existential crisis. How can a country that regularly proclaims “God Bless America,” emblazons its currency with “In God We Trust,” and mentions God so frequently that it could make a secularist nauseous, survive if the largest demographic is indifferent toward the Almighty?

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, about 35 percent of millennials have no religious affiliation and thus are categorized as the “nones.” Approximately 56 million Americans are religiously unaffiliated, and the horde of “nones” grows steadily by the year.

Read the entire article at The Daily Beast: here.

Running for President for Fun and Profit -- The Daily Beast

With long-shot presidential hopefuls Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson formally announcing their candidacies this week, it is only natural to wonder if they have ulterior motives for their presidential runs.

Of course, the two of them would love to win the presidency, [would they really? It’s a hard-ass job!] but any presidential campaign must have an adequate balance between the aspirational and the practical to avoid becoming delusional. These two clearly have far more of the former than the latter.

Read the entire article at The Daily Beast: here.

No, the Young People of Baltimore Are Not ‘Thugs’ -- The Daily Beast

As rioters in Baltimore took to the streets this week, countless media organizations casually referred to the predominantly black protesters as “thugs.” Then, to the surprise of many reporters and anchors, black interviewees disputed this characterization and responded that you might as well call the protesters “niggers.”

On CNN, Erin Burnett referenced how President Barack Obama and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake both used the term “thug” to describe the rioters, and how plenty of voices on social media had objected to the characterization.

Burnett asked her guest, Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes, whether “thug” was an appropriate term by which to define the predominantly young and black rioters. Stokes vehemently disagreed. “No. Of course it is not the right word to call our children thugs. These are the children who have been set aside, marginalized, who have not been engaged by us. No. We don’t have to call them thugs,” said Stokes.

Read the entire article on The Daily Beast: here.

The Sad But Self-Inflicted Fall of Cornel West -- The Daily Beast

Michael Eric Dyson’s blistering takedown of Cornel West in The Ghost of Cornel West for The New Republic not only closed the door on a decades-long friendship that arguably led the way in black American thought at the end of the 20thcentury, but also displayed how the roles of black leaders have evolved during Barack Obama’s rise to prominence.

Dyson starts off by describing West’s animus toward the president as a love that has turned into a hatred so severe that it would make the heavens shudder. He mentions the times when West called Obama a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface,” on Democracy Now! and a “brown-faced Clinton” in Salon magazine. He discusses a moment when West told him, Dyson, that he does not “respect the brother at all,” referring to Obama. All this in the first two paragraphs.

Read the entire article on The Daily Beast: here.

How John Roberts Made Hillary Clinton President -- The Daily Beast

During Hillary Clinton’s first campaign event in Iowa, the (finally) announced presidential candidate laid out the four main goals of her campaign, including the need to fix our “dysfunctional” political system and to get “unaccountable” money out of politics, even if it requires a constitutional amendment. And thus we have the latest chapter in Clinton’s unique and evolving relationship with Citizens United v. Federal Exchange Commission.

It may be easy to forget that the basis for the claim that led to the controversial Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC was a barely watchable film titled Hillary: The Movie, featuring prominent conservatives such as Dick Morris and Ann Coulter that was trying to damage Hillary Clinton on eve of the January 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. The film was produced by Citizens United, a D.C.-based conservative nonprofit organization.

Read the entire article on The Daily Beast: here.

Late Night Is About to Get Real on Race -- The Daily Beast

After Tuesday night’s episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, when he addressed last week’s “kerfuffle” regarding insensitive tweets made by his recently announced replacement Trevor Noah, much of the Twittersphere and media world has simmered down and come to the realization that Noah will indeed succeed Stewart in the coveted satirical news anchor chair.

Regarding the success of the new iteration of The Daily Show, Stewart said it best: “Trevor Noah will earn your trust and respect…or not.”

Yet regardless of the success of the Noah’s version of the show, the juxtaposition of South African-born, mixed-race Noah and African American Larry Wilmore ofThe Nightly Show, which replaced The Colbert Report in January, could be enlightening and influential concerning discussions about race in America.

Read the entire article on The Daily Beast: here.