During a Congressional hearing on June 16, 2020, top legal officers from the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps acknowledged the results of a 2019 study from the Government Accountability Office, which noted that Black and Hispanic servicemembers of any gender were significantly more likely to be sent to court-martial for formal punishment after an act of misconduct than their white counterparts. The judge advocates of each of these wings of Armed Forces recognized that this is, indeed, a problem, and swiftly assured the Congressional panel that actions were already underway to uncover what could possibly have caused this striking racial disparity.
As the Army Times reports:
The Army is in the “very early stages of figuring out what could cause this,” Lt. Gen. Charles Pede, the service’s ranking attorney, told lawmakers.
Pede said he has already directed a “comprehensive assessment” in conjunction with the Army’s provost marshal general “to examine why the justice system is more likely to investigate certain soldiers and what our investigations and command decisions tell us about this issue.”
"[The GAO] report raises difficult questions — questions that demand answers. Sitting here today, we do not have those answers. So our task is to ask the right questions and find the answers," he added in his testimony.
Major General Daniel Lecce, the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, also said, "We have to get after this. We’re at the beginning, but there is a lot of work to be done. Read the rest
Since 1940, a statue of President Theodore Roosevelt on a horse flanked by a Native American man and an African man on foot has stood outside New York City's American Museum of Natural History. After years of protests against the statue's composition, the museum has now decided to remove it. This decision follows a special exhibition last year, titled "Addressing the Statue," about the disturbing monument and its historical context. (See exhibition video below.) From the New York Times:
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“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “The City supports the Museum’s request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue." [...]
A Roosevelt family member released a statement approving the removal.
“The world does not need statues, relics of another age, that reflect neither the values of the person they intend to honor nor the values of equality and justice,” said Theodore Roosevelt IV, age 77, a great-grandson of the 26th president and a museum trustee. “The composition of the Equestrian Statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy. It is time to move the statue and move forward.” [...]
Critics, though, have pointed to President Roosevelt’s opinions about racial hierarchy, his support of eugenics theories and his pivotal role in the Spanish-American War. Some see Roosevelt as an imperialist who led fighting in the Caribbean that ultimately resulted in American expansion into colonies there and in the Pacific including Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, Cuba and the Philippines.
It's depressingly fitting that a nationwide spree of protests against racist policing would occur on the anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, what's been called the single worst incident of racial violence in American history. Using guns and aircrafts, white racists destroyed 35 square blocks of what had — until then — been the wealthiest black community in the country, resulting in more than $32 million dollars in damage adjusted for inflation. Like many such tragic events, it began when white racists accused a black man of looking at a white woman the wrong way.
And sadly, it's a thing that most people didn't even know about it until they watched Damon Lindelof's Watchmen sequel on HBO in the fall of 2019. It took 80 years before any kind of official report was made to acknowledge the event; mass graves are still being discovered nearly a century later.
Here are some links if you want to learn more:
‘Watchmen’ Opened With the Tulsa Race Riot. Here’s What to Read About It. [Jennifer Vineyard / The New York Times]
"They was killing black people" [DeNeen L. Brown / The Washington Post]
The Massacre of Black Wall Street [Re/Think / The Atlantic]
Tulsa Race Riot: A Report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921
Black Wall Street: The African American Haven That Burned and Then Rose From the Ashes [Victor Luckerson / The Ringer]
Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
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Clearly ESPN's Bomani Jones has great taste in t-shirts. I'm a little surprised the network had him cover the shirt, it is awesome.
The hypocrisy the shirt points out, is not awesome.
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After saying that he chose to wear the shirt because “it was clean,” Jones discussed the idea behind it: It would be weird to have the Caucasians as a sports mascot, so why is a baseball team still called the Indians?
A partial transcript:
Jones: The reason they won’t get rid of Chief Wahoo, which is completely indefensible, is they could still sell stuff with it. They can say they’re gonna de-emphasize it, but they’re not just gonna set money on fire. I thought [the shirt] was the exact same thing, and I could see the value in the design, so I was like, hey, we might as well give this a run.
Qerim: I think more thought went into it. I think you were trying to make some kind of statement.
Jones: The statement is obvious. This [shirt] is the same thing. What we have here, this is the same thing that goes on with the logo for the Cleveland Indians, right? So, to have a problem with the logo of this, would be to have a problem with the Indians, but if you’re quiet about the Indians, and you got something to say about my shirt, I think it’s time for introspection. I think that’s a fair thing to ask.