Black folk and other marginalized groups all over have asked for centuries, without a clear answer

Collage of two cropped photos: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leading a group of civil rights workers and Black Selma protesters in prayer, February 1, 1965. (BH — AP Photo); Washington Mystics’ kneel down in protest before their postponed game against the Atlanta Dream, August 26, 2020. (Stephen Gosling/NBAE/Getty Images).

It is maddeningly obvious that “the beat goes on…it’s still moving strong, on and on” in Black lives not mattering at all in the US, from Daunte Wright to Ma’Khia Bryant and Andrew Brown, Jr, and now more about the late Ronald Greene. Even with Derek Chauvin likely incarcerated for the rest of his life for murdering George Floyd. Even with prosecutors charging Daunte Wright’s killer with second-degree manslaughter. Police lethality and extralegal actions against Americans of color are everyday state-sanctioned violence, and have been so since the founding of the US.

The best legislation Congress has proffered to protect…


Do White-owned platforms and institutions really provide opportunities to challenge America’s White supremacy?

Civic diving platform closed due to leaks and repair needs, Canberra, Australia, November 18, 2015. (Hannah Walmsley, Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Black people and especially Black women can’t catch a break. Just in the past week, the IOC banned alternative swim caps to protect Black women athletes’ hair. The US Anti-Doping Agency handed down its heartless 30-day suspension and the IOC its 2021 Tokyo Olympics ban of sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson for recreational marijuana use, days after her birth mother died. Then came revelations of ESPN’s Rachel Nichols and LeBron James’ social justice partner Adam Mendelsohn, caught in a hot-mic-and-camera racism moment directed toward colleague Maria Taylor.

All this is occurring inside the same institutions in which Black athletes have become activists…


Yes! And don't forget, John Eligon was the one who penned that "no angel" bs in his bloviating postmortem on Mike Brown. Anti-Blackness and using our pasts to justify White violence is given credence, even among Black, Brown, Indigenous of color. Which makes every single day a potentially bad day for all of us who aren't White men.


Solid piece. I think all that you wrote here makes you a realist, not a pessimist at all. DEI, even at its best, is a hearts-and-minds approach to systemic racism, a very limited tool. If this is the main practice for creating an anti-racist movement, all these sci-fi shows with their subtle predictions of a racism-less future are completely wrong. DEI for so many, though, is total bullshit, a way for institutions to paint themselves as anti-racist without really doing anything, Or, for some to make good money. Either way, thanks for dropping the knowledge!


At one Montgomery County, Maryland high school, Hell is for children (and parents)

Abraham Maslow quote via Warm Welcome, LLC, February 12, 2021. (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/599471400370174747/)

This story is one about our son’s struggles with school this year and off and on over the past few years. But it is also very much about how a high school in East Silver Spring, Maryland can let even a slightly above average student slip through the cracks, and then punish him, once noticed. It is about how teachers and administrators can circle the wagons like the NYPD or any other “blue wall of silence” police institution and gaslight the parents of such a child when confronted about how they have neglected and abused this child academically. …


The insurgency at the US Capitol is proof that the world should stop looking to the US for leadership

Be wary, be wary, of the sixth of January, the day of the far-right revolt. The White supremacist insurrection, the day of President Donald Trump’s failed coup that has left five people dead, is yet another omen that America’s actual greatness has already peaked. By any number of indicators, America has been in decline for several decades. All signs point to an unwavering belief in the fantasy of American greatness, even as the corresponding hope for and work toward making this idyllic greatness a reality for all Americans has ebbed.

Despite the American myths about “exceptionalism,” “e pluribus unum,” “meritocracy,”…


Black men seriously need to take some time to cry, hug, and heal

President Barack Obama crying while giving his post-reelection speech, Chicago, November 7, 2012. (Reuters)

One’s sense of the world can change with crying, coping, and sharing. These are all things hypermasculine Black folk are terrible at, precisely because hard men are supposed to mold and shape their world. Or at least, delude themselves into thinking so. I, for one American Black male, have never been that hard. Sure, I used to put up a front, a facade so blank that only a true OG would have known the difference. I had to. Every Black boy and man I knew growing up, straight, gay, bisexual, or even nonbinary pretended to be as hard as Scarface…


and what to do about it (or not), now and in the future

Screenshot from HBO show The Leftovers title sequence, September 5, 2014. ( yU+co via http://news.creativecow.net). Qualifies as fair use under US copyright laws — low resolution and relevance to subject matter.

What does anyone do when a loved one reveals themselves as a #45 fanboy or fangirl? This sounds like a question only White people have to answer, or one in which only a handful of Black folks must deal. Otherwise, the short answer is to kick them to the curb. “These people aren’t your friends,” after all, at least, that’s what your friends will tell you if and when this situation occurs. But one cannot simply drag family and cut them off when they do the American equivalent of “Sieg Heil!” in support of Donald J. Trump. Especially immediate family.


Don’t be an educated fool, because the meritocracy is a bullshit lie

Me, 23 years after my PhD graduation, May 18, 2020. (Donald Earl Collins).[/caption]

As a confessed educated fool, I readily admit that there are a ton of things I understood but did not act on. But I also know that there are solar system loads of unwritten rules that I didn’t and couldn’t possibly have known going into my professional future toward the end of my undergrad days at the University of Pittsburgh. And, there’s the stuff that falls in between. The rules that are not hard rules, ones that can be bent, twisted into pretzels, and/or broken or even shattered. …


Demagogues, incompetence, corporate news media, neocons and neoliberals have made this pandemic a reality

Town-Criering, January 5, 2014. (http://hawtnext.com/).[/caption]

One of my childhood TV-watching memories is of old cartoons, TV shows, and movies related to ancient Rome and the Middle Ages in Europe. Sometimes when a disease would strike some fiefdom or set of village hovels or even Rome itself, a town crier would run through the trash and shit-strewn streets, yelling, “Plague! Plague!”

The plebes would then panic. Some would kill the sickly-looking. Some of the pox-ridden would vomit or pass out and die in the streets or convulse and die in bed. Extremely religious pagans or Christians would blame non-believers, heathens, and the sick for the epidemic…

Donald Earl Collins

Freelancer via @washingtonpost | @TheAtlantic |@AJEnglish | @Guardian; American Univ. & UMUC history prof. Invite me to write/speak: donaldearlcollins@gmail.com

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