Martin Luther King
Is It Interesting to Criticize the Civil Rights Act? Down to Cases with Rand Paul and John Stossel
June 03, 2010
I have held off on writing about Rand Paul’s take on the Civil Rights Act. Partly because I am finishing a book. But also because his idea that it shouldn’t have been made illegal for businesses, as private institutions, to discriminate strikes me as, oddly, both too interesting to sound off on without long-term reflection and too uninteresting to get excited about in the moment. Uninteresting because who among us really thinks that there will be a move any time soon to legalize segregation for American businesses?
Are Liberals Too Mean To Birthers?
May 17, 2010
Jonah Goldberg sees a pernicious double standard between the treatment of kooks who think Barack Obama is not a citizen and kook who think 9/11 was an inside job. "Birtherism" is dangerous and paranoid and "Trutherism" is quirky and no big deal, according to liberals," he writes. There are two claims here. The first is that liberals understate the craziness of Truthers. Goldberg's sole piece of evidence to support this claim is a New York Times article that he deems insufficiently hostile to the Truthers.
April 07, 2010
When asked about his race on the census form, Barack Obama, the child of a white Kansan and black African, did not take the option of checking both “white” and “black” or “some other race.” Instead, he checked “black, African American or Negro.” By doing that, Obama probably did what was expected of him, but he also confirmed an enduring legacy of American racism. According to the Census Bureau, a little over 12 percent of Americans are “black, African American or Negro.” According to geneticist Mark Shriver, “the level of European ancestry in African-Americans averages about 20 percent.” Man
TNR on Martin Luther King Jr.
January 18, 2010
This week marks Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, a national holiday. Decades after his first civil-rights marches, what is the meaning of King's legacy? And what do we know about the man himself? Below, read some of the best TNR articles from our archives: "A Moral Revolutionary" by Garry Wills (09/13/82) The life and trials of MLK. "Uneasy Holiday" by Taylor Branch (02/03/86) How should we honor a man we still don't know? "The King To Come" by Bayard Rustin (03/09/87) The holiday and the future of race relations. "Celebrating Dr.
Quote of the Day
December 21, 2009
Barack Obama: “One of the things that I’ve felt very strongly about during the course of this year is that hard stuff requires not paralysis, but it requires going ahead and trying to make the best of the situation that you’re in.” Doesn't have quite the same ring as "the fierce urgency of now," does it? And in fact, MLK's next line was this: "This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism." Of course, Martin Luther King never met Ben Nelson.
Obama, Niebuhr, and U.S. Politics
December 13, 2009
In the wake of Barack Obama’s speech in Oslo, there has been much talk--some of it based on intellectual hearsay--about the influence that theologian Reinhold Niebuhr had on Obama.
November 02, 2009
The saga of Rush Limbaugh and his failed attempt to acquire a piece of the St. Louis Rams may be the quintessential postmodern American racial incident. When word first leaked of Limbaugh's potential ownership, a couple of sportswriters, joined by a handful of cable news talking heads, repeated what turned out to be totally unsubstantiated quotes by Limbaugh praising slavery and James Earl Ray.
February 18, 2009
Throughout history, political movements have often developed informal social headquarters alongside their official central commands. The eighteenth- century London Tories had a pub called Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. The 1930s French rightists had the Cafe de Flore. George W. Bush’s polo-shirted young Republicans had Smith Point, a preppy bar in Georgetown.
October 22, 2008
'This election," said John McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, on the second day of the Republican convention, "is not about issues." And he meant it. The convention that Davis helped assemble devoted strikingly little time to policy. Instead, the focus was on McCain's biography. Fred Thompson set the tone early in the convention, using his address to recount McCain's life story, especially his stint as a prisoner of war. In state delegation meetings during the week, the campaign enlisted the candidate's fellow POWs to tell delegates of his experiences in Vietnam.
September 10, 2008
In late October 1987, Barack Obama and Jerry Kellman took a weekend off from their jobs as community organizers in Chicago and traveled to a conference on social justice and the black church at Harvard. During an evening break in the schedule, they strolled around campus in their shirtsleeves, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Two-and-a-half years earlier, Kellman had hired Obama to organize residents of Chicago's South Side. Now, Obama had something to tell his friend and mentor. It had to do, in part, with his father.