Virginia mayor says Japanese-American concentration camps were a good idea. George Takei's response is perfect.

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David Bowers, the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, recently praised the concentration camps that the US built during World War II to imprison Japanese American adults and children. And, according to Bowers' logic, that's why we can't allow Syrian refugees to be resettled in his town.

George Takei has something to say about it. From his Facebook post:

Earlier today, the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, Mr. David A. Bowers, in the attached letter, joined several state governors in ordering that Syrian refugees not receive any government assistance, or be relocated to their jurisdiction. Apart from the lack of legal authority to do so (under the Refugee Act of 1980, only the President has authority to accept or deny refugees), his resort to fear-based tactics, and his galling lack of compassion for people fleeing these same terrorists, Mayor Bowers made the following startling statement:

“I’m reminded that Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.”

Mayor Bowers, there are a few key points of history you seem to have missed:

1) The internment (not a "sequester") was not of Japanese "foreign nationals," but of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens. I was one of them, and my family and I spent 4 years in prison camps because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor.

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How America bought and sold racism, and why it still matters

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We've all encountered what people today call Black Memorabilia — a Mammy cookie jar, a racist postcard — but have you ever wondered where these depictions came from, and why they are so common? In her latest article for Collectors Weekly, Lisa Hix interviewed Dr. David Pilgrim, author of Understanding Jim Crow, to get some answers to these and other questions. Hix learned that Black Memorabilia was popularized by post-Reconstruction whites to dehumanize African Americans, and that while slavery may have ended in 1865, Jim Crow has persisted in various forms and guises to this day, which helps explain why the presence of an African American family in the White House has not been enough to put America's racial history behind us.

Stock caricatures such as Mammy, Uncle Tom, Sambo, pickaninny children, coon, Jezebel, Sapphire, and the black brute were employed to spread these messages to millions of people. Companies mass-produced these images in every form — including postcards, cleaning products, toys and games, ceramic figurines, ashtrays, cast-iron banks, children’s books, dinnerware, songbooks, tea towels, cookie jars, matchbooks, magazines, movies, gag gifts, salt-and-pepper shakers, planters, fishing lures, trade cards, ads, records, and tobacco tins. If you lived during the Jim Crow era, you’d encounter such caricatures everywhere, in your newspaper, on restaurant walls, on the shelves at stores, and at the cinema or live theater.

“If you believed that black men were Sambos, childlike buffoons, for example, then why would they be allowed to vote?” Pilgrim says. “Why would they be allowed to hold office, serve on a jury, or attend public schools with whites?

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Students force University of Missouri president to resign over lack of action on racism on campus

The University of Missouri's president Tim Wolfe resigns after protests.

At the University of Missouri, a graduate student went on a hunger strike, students and teachers marched and staged sit-ins, and 32 black football players refused to play until the university president, Tim Wolfe, resigned. Today, he did.

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Adidas offers to help schools convert from racist team names and mascots to non-racist ones

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The cost of changing from a racist high school team name and mascot to one that isn't can be high.

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California bans use of "Redskins" as a team name at public schools

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Sponsored by Assemblymember Luis Alejo, today California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB30, a bill barring schools from naming teams or mascots "redskins."

NBC News shares:

The state Assembly overwhelmingly approved the California Racial Mascots Act in May, about a month before the Obama administration went on record telling the Washington Redskins that they would have to change their name before they would be allowed to move to a stadium in Washington, D.C., from their current home in suburban Maryland.

In a joint statement with the nonprofit group Change the Mascot, the National Congress of American Indians praised California for "standing on the right side of history by bringing an end to the use of the demeaning and damaging R-word slur in the state's schools."

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Playmobil pirate ship includes dark-skinned doll wearing "slave collar"

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Ida Lockett of Sacramento, CA was helping her 5-year-old son put together a Playmobil pirate ship kit he'd been given for his birthday when she saw that the instructions told her to put a shackle around the neck of a dark-skinned figurine in torn clothing. Read the rest

Apple inventor Steve Wozniak was busted in high school for fake bomb

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From Woz's Facebook:

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President Obama invites the boy who was arrested for making a clock to the White House

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Here's an update to the story about a schoolchild arrested in Irving, TX for bringing his homemade clock to school: This morning, President Obama tweeted: "Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science." Read the rest

Arab-looking man of Syrian descent found in garage building what looks like a bomb

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Omar Ghabra won Twitter with these photos, and this quip: “An Arab-looking man of Syrian descent in a garage w/his accomplice building what appears to be a bomb. Arrest them.” Read the rest

What it's like to be black and work in tech

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Why aren’t there more Black people roaming the campuses of technology companies? Mark S. Luckie has some ideas.

Here's the video NYPD released of a plainclothes cop brutally attacking tennis star James Blake

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James Blake made a terrible mistake. He was outside in public while black. Here is video proof, released today by the New York Police Department.

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Racist who threatened Lakota children at a hockey game found not guilty

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Trace O'Connell, the racist asshole who ruined an award hockey game for some school kids, is not guilty of disorderly conduct.

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Interview with man picked by Kennedy administration to be the first black man in space

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President Kennedy wanted a white man, a black man, and an Asian man to be the first men on the moon. Obviously, it didn't happen.

In this episode of The Memory Palace podcast, Nate DiMeo interviews Captain Edward Dwight, the first African American to be trained as an astronaut. Dwight was a United States Air Force test pilot in the 1950s, and in 1962 the Kennedy administration selected Dwight to join the astronaut program. He faced horrible discrimination from other white astronauts, but stayed in the program. When Kennedy was assassinated, racist government officials zoomed in and bullied Dwight until he retired in 1966. He never went into space. Read the rest

The "transactional love economy"

"Do you ever see a super-old guy…with a super-young girl…and wonder, how the hell did that happen?" Here's what we're calling it now. Read the rest

Citing Trump as their role model, 2 white guys in Boston beat homeless Latino man nearly to death

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“The homeless man was lying on the ground, shaking, when police arrived early Wednesday. His face was soaked, apparently with urine, his nose broken, his chest and arms battered.”

Former Florida cop fired for KKK ties got a new job working in a Florida elementary school

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The FBI found no criminal wrongdoing, or evidence that any other officers were involved with the KKK.

Memory Palace podcast about a Confederate monument honoring a real racist

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Nate DiMeo, host of the always excellent Memory Palace podcast, points us to the new episode "about the history of the Nathan Bedford Forrest monument (and Confederate monuments in general) that the city of Memphis is planning on moving from a prominent place downtown to a nearby cemetery, because Forrest was, essentially, a racist monster."

The Memory Palace: Episode 73 Read the rest

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