On April 18, a transgender woman named Chrissy Lee Polis went to the women’s bathroom in a Baltimore County McDonald’s. When she came out, two teenage girls approached and spat in her face. Then they threw her to the floor and started kicking her in the head. As a crowd of customers watched, Polis tried to stand up, but the girls dragged her by her hair across the restaurant, ripping the earrings out of her ears. The last thing Polis remembers, before she had a seizure, was spitting blood on the restaurant door.
Jesse Jackson has never interested me much. I’m a little late out of the gate in commenting about Jackson’s latest diversion, analogizing LeBron James to a runaway slave in light of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s sputtering about James’ departure to Miami. I’ve always been a little laggard in dogpiling on Jesse. When I first started writing about race, I quickly noted a certain cognitive dissonance: everybody expected the new cranky black “conservative” to have a Jesse obsession. I never did, and don’t now. He shouldn’t be news, really.
Derrick Bell has a flair for the dramatic exit. The one that made him famous was his highly publicized decision in 1990 to leave his tenured position at Harvard Law School, where he had been the first black scholar ever hired. Bell quit after Harvard refused to offer tenure to a black woman he supported. But Bell had done the same thing at the University of Oregon six years earlier. And he had made the same threat at Harvard ten years before that. And back in 1959 he had quit the first job he ever held, at the Justice Department, over a matter of principle.