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    Mood as light as spring air as Ketanji Brown Jackson delivers words to remember

    Mood as light as spring air as Ketanji Brown Jackson delivers words to remember After 232 years, a Black woman is on the supreme court – and the atmosphere on a sunny Washington day was celebratoryThey could all feel the weight of history. Yet the mood was as light as spring air when Ketanji Brown Jackson looked out at the crowd of smiling faces.‘It means the world to us’: Black lawmakers’ euphoria greets Jackson confirmationRead more“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the supreme court of the United States,” the judge said in bright sunshine. “But we’ve made it!”The audience on the South Lawn of the White House rose and clapped and hollered with a rare purity of emotion.Jackson added: “We’ve made it – all of us. All of us. And our children are telling me that they see now more than ever that here in America anything is possible.”It felt like the culmination of a journey. A day earlier, Jackson was confirmed by the Senate as the first African American female supreme court justice. In moving remarks on Friday, she spoke not only of her journey but that of her ancestors: the 400-year story of African Americans meeting slavery and segregation with resilience, creativity and hope.The atmosphere at the White House was joyful and celebratory – not a sentence there has been much cause to write over the past five years. No doom and gloom over Donald Trump’s lies, the deadly pandemic or the war in Ukraine. Instead, the marine band played songs from the shows, including West Side Story. (“I like to be in America…”)And after a week of sombre grey skies, lashing rain and surging coronavirus, the White House looked a little more majestic than usual in radiant sunlight. Fifty Stars and Stripes flags fluttered in a row. Birds could be heard singing. The relaxed, jovial crowd of hundreds erupted as Joe Biden, wearing shades, Vice-President Kamala Harris and Jackson strode to the podium, to the strains of “Hail to the chief”.But it was Jackson’s grace note at the end of the 45-minute pageant that will linger in the memory – and the heart – and be studied by future historians and, she evidently hoped, generations yet unborn.The 51-year-old invoked figures such as Martin Luther King, the civil rights leader, Thurgood Marshall, the first Black supreme court justice, and her “personal heroine”, Judge Constance Baker Motley, a former district court judge and New York state senator.“They and so many others did the heavy lifting that made this day possible. And for all the talk of this historic nomination and now confirmation, I think of them as the true path-breakers. I’m just the very lucky first inheritor of the dream of liberty and justice for all.”Becoming tearful, putting a tissue to her nose, Jackson continued: “To be sure, I have worked hard to get to this point in my career and I have now achieved something far beyond anything my grandparents could have possibly ever imagined. But no one does this on their own.“The path was cleared for me so that I might rise to this occasion, and, in the poetic words of Dr Maya Angelou, I do so now, while ‘bringing the gifts my ancestors gave’.”There was applause and she took a deep breath.“‘I … I am the dream and the hope of the slave’.”It was a quotation from Angelou’s poem Still I Rise.A shiver of emotion ran through the crowd, which rose as one. It included Jesse Jackson, 80, a civil rights veteran who was there when King was assassinated.Her voice quivering with feeling that seemed to match the enormity of the moment, Jackson, watched by her parents, husband and daughters, went on.“So as I take on this new role, I strongly believe that this is a moment in which all Americans can take great pride.“We have come a long way toward perfecting our union. In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the supreme court of the United States.”It was hard to believe this was the same country that less than two years ago staged a similar outdoor event for the justice nominated before Jackson, Amy Coney Barrett.On that grey day, Trump gloated at the prospect of tipping the court firmly in conservatives’ favour. The audience was appreciably less than diverse than for Jackson. It also proved to be a Covid super-spreader event. Time will tell if Friday goes the same way.Ketanji Brown Jackson brings a personal narrative no other justice can matchRead moreJackson is replacing the retiring Stephen Breyer, 83, and so liberals will remain firmly in the minority when, from October, she begins hearing vital cases on affirmative action, gay rights and voting rights.This week, Mitch McConnell refused to say whether he would even grant another Biden pick a hearing if Republicans regain the Senate majority. Friday’s heady euphoria was only a brief respite from demands for structural reform to restore balance to the court.But what a respite it was. Trump presented one vision of America, infused with white identity politics and great men of history. This presented another, more generous in spirt, more authentic to the nation’s true origin story.Biden said: “This is not only a sunny day. I mean this from the bottom of my heart. This is going to let so much sun shine on so many young women, so many young Black women, so many minorities that it’s real. It’s real! We’re going to look back – and nothing to do with me – we’re going to look back and see this as a moment of real change in American history.”TopicsKetanji Brown JacksonThe US politics sketchUS politicsDemocratsUS supreme courtUS constitution and civil libertiesLaw (US)RacenewsReuse this content More

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    ‘It means the world to us’: Black lawmakers’ euphoria greets Jackson confirmation

    ‘It means the world to us’: Black lawmakers’ euphoria greets Jackson confirmationCongressional Black Caucus hails ‘historic pick’ of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman in the court’s history The confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US supreme court marked a moment in American history many in public life waited over decades for – and one some thought they would never see happen.When the day arrived, it inspired an outbreak of euphoria for many Black Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill.Republicans’ ugly attacks on Ketanji Brown Jackson show lurch to far rightRead more“I’m glad I’m alive,” said a joyful Yvette Clarke, a New York congresswoman.Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) filed on to Capitol Hill, through corridors lined with portraits, busts and statues of the white men who have dominated Congress since its inception.Clarke’s district was once represented by the first Black woman ever elected to the Congress, the late Shirley Chisholm of Brooklyn, who was first elected in 1969.“I’m glad I’m around to witness this,” Clarke told the Guardian. “I wasn’t around for Thurgood Marshall,” she said, referring to the lawyer and civil rights activist who became the first African American on the supreme court in 1967, and who served until 1991.Clarke entered Congress in 2007. “This is so historic on so many different levels,” she said.After the 53-47 Senate vote that included the support of three Republicans, Jackson will take her place as an associate justice on the nine-member court. She will be the 121st justice to join America’s highest judicial body, established in 1790.In October 1967, Marshall became a supreme court justice. In September 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to serve on the court. In August 2009, Sonia Sotomayor became the court’s first Hispanic member.And in April 2022, Jackson became the first Black woman confirmed to the bench in its 232-year existence.“I’m very proud that my very first vote to confirm a supreme court nominee will be to confirm this historic pick,” Raphael Warnock, who won his own milestone race in January last year to become Georgia’s first Black US senator, told the Guardian as he headed to the Senate chamber to vote for Jackson.“I had the opportunity to meet her, and she brings talent and integrity and as we saw during those scorched-earth hearings, a great deal of grace and civility,” he added, nodding to Jackson’s confirmation sessions before the Senate judiciary committee last month where she endured vicious attacks from several Republicans.The chair of the CBC, Representative Joyce Beatty of Ohio, swept on to Capitol Hill on Thursday and witnessed Jackson’s triumph.“It means the world to us, because when you think about voting rights, when you think about our children, when you think about all of our fundamental issues – it starts at the supreme court,” Beatty said.“For the first time, a Black woman sitting there. It gives us balance. Not only because she’s Black, but because of her judicial temperance, and because of her reverence for the rule of law. But also when you look at her background and culture: she attended public [publicly funded] schools,” Beatty continued.Members of the caucus gathering in an ornate room in the Capitol near the House floor for a group photo after Jackson was confirmed included those holding black T-shirts saying “Black Women are Supreme”.Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia said: “Despite all of the dog-whistling and appealing to racist instincts among the Republican base, there are three Republican senators who have been able to work their way through all of the QAnon-conspiracy nonsense being spewed by Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz, and folks trying to outdo themselves with outrageousness directed toward [Jackson].”Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah broke with their fellows who went along with Republican leadership, and those who attacked Jackson outright, and voted for Joe Biden’s nominee.“I’m glad we had three Republican senators who saw through that, and recognized how eminently qualified Ketanji Brown Jackson is, and the fact that she will bring more experience to the bench than just about every one of the justices on the supreme court – including the chief justice [John Roberts],” Johnson added.Jackson has a connection to Congresswoman Frederica Wilson of Florida, who represents parts of Miami, and has known the judge’s parents for decades.“Her father was the first Black school board attorney when I was serving on the school board. Her mother was a principal when I was a principal … so [for] the Black people in Miami, you can imagine what’s happening now as we watch this,” she told the Guardian.“Young kids know her name, and they’re talking about her in schools. They’re talking about her in barbershops,” she said. “This was a young lady who grew up with people telling her you can be anything you want to be.”On Thursday afternoon, a beaming Kamala Harris also became emotional as, in her other role as president of the Senate, she announced that Jackson was officially confirmed.The first female and first Black US vice-president marked another historic moment that, as Harris said after she won the 2020 election with Biden, may be the first but “won’t be the last”.TopicsUS politicsRaceKetanji Brown JacksonUS CongressUS SenatenewsReuse this content More

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    America’s culture wars distract from what’s happening beneath them | Gary Gerstle

    America’s culture wars distract from what’s happening beneath themGary GerstleWhen it comes to economic questions, there’s more agreement between culture war opponents than you might think The neoliberal order that triumphed in America in the 1990s prized free trade and the free movement of capital, information, and people. It celebrated deregulation as an economic good that resulted when governments could no longer interfere with the operation of markets. It hailed globalization as a win-win position that would enrich the west (the cockpit of neoliberalism) while also bringing an unprecedented level of prosperity to the rest of the world. A remarkable consensus on these creedal principles came to dominate American politics during the heyday of the neoliberal order, binding together Republicans and Democrats and marginalizing dissenting voices to the point where they barely mattered.Somewhat paradoxically, this broad agreement on matters of political economy nurtured two strikingly different moral perspectives, each of them consonant with the commitment to market principles that underlay the neoliberal order. The first perspective was ‘neo-Victorian’, celebrating self-reliance, strong families, and disciplined attitudes toward work, sexuality, and consumption.These values were necessary, this moral perspective argued, to gird individuals against market excess – accumulating debt by buying more than one could afford and indulging appetites for sex, drugs, alcohol, and other whims that free markets could be construed as sanctioning. Since neoliberalism frowned upon government regulation of private behavior, some other institution had to provide it. Neo-Victorianism found that institution in the traditional family – heterosexual, governed by male patriarchs, with women subordinate but in charge of homemaking and childrearing.The Republican party is obsessed with children – in the creepiest of ways | Osita NwanevuRead moreSuch families, guided by faith in God, would inculcate moral virtue in its members and prepare the next generation for the rigors of free market life. Gertrude Himmelfarb, Irving Kristol, George Gilder, and Charles Murray were among the intellectuals guiding this movement, the legions of evangelical Christians mobilized in Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority its mass base.The other moral perspective encouraged by the neoliberal order was cosmopolitan. A world apart from neo-Victorianism, it saw in market freedom an opportunity to fashion a self or identity that was free of tradition, inheritance, and prescribed social roles. In the United States this moral perspective drew energy from liberation movements originating in the new left – black power, feminism, multiculturalism, and gay pride among them.Cosmopolitanism was egalitarian and pluralistic. It rejected the notion that the patriarchal, heterosexual family should be celebrated as the norm. It embraced globalization and the free movement of people, and the transnational links that the neoliberal order had made possible. It valorized the good that would come from diverse peoples meeting each other, sharing their cultures, and developing new and often hybridized ways of living. It celebrated the cultural exchanges and dynamism that increasingly characterized the global cities – London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Toronto, Miami among them – flourishing under the aegis of the neoliberal order.The existence of two such different moral perspectives was both a strength and a weakness for the neoliberal order. The strength lay in the order’s ability to accommodate within a common program of political economy very different constituencies with radically divergent perspectives on moral life. The weakness lay in the fact that the cultural battles between these two constituencies might threaten to erode the hegemony of neoliberal economic principles.The cosmopolitans attacked neo-Victorians for discriminating against gay people, feminists, and immigrants, and for stigmatizing the black poor for their so-called “culture of poverty”. The neo-Victorians attacked the cosmopolitans for tolerating virtually any lifestyle, for excusing what they deemed to be deplorable behavior as an exercise in the toleration of difference, and for showing a higher regard for foreign cultures than for America’s own. The decade of the neoliberal order’s triumph – the 1990s – was also one in which cosmopolitans and neo-Victorians fought each other in a series of battles that became known as the “culture wars”. In fact, a focus on these cultural divisions is the preferred way of writing the political history of these years.Just beneath this cultural polarization, however, lay a fundamental agreement on principles of political economy. This intriguing coexistence of cultural division and economic accord manifested itself in the complex relationship between Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. In the media, they were depicted (and depicted themselves) as opposites, sworn to each other’s destruction. Clinton offered himself as the tribune of the new America, one welcoming of racial minorities, feminists, and gays. He was thought to embody the spirit of the 1960s and something of the insurgent, free-spirited character of the new left. Gingrich presented himself as the guardian of an older and “truer” America, one grounded in faith, patriotism, respect for law and order, and family values. Gingrich publicly pledged himself and his party to obstructing Clinton at every turn. Clinton, meanwhile, regarded Gingrich as the unscrupulous leader of a vast right-wing conspiracy to undermine his presidency.Yet, despite their differences and their hatred for each other, these two Washington powerbrokers worked together on neoliberal legislation that would shape America’s political economy for a generation. They both supported the World Trade Organization, which debuted in 1995 to turbocharge a global regime of free trade. Their aides jointly engineered the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which did more than any other piece of legislation in the 1980s and 1990s to free the most dynamic sector of the US economy from government regulation.Major pieces of legislation deregulating the electrical generation industry and Wall Street followed closely in the telecom bill’s wake. Clinton and Gingrich also worked together to pare back the welfare state, sharing a conviction that the tough, disciplining effects of job markets would benefit the poor more than state-subsidized “handouts”. Clinton’s collaboration with Gingrich had facilitated the neoliberal order’s triumph.That order is now on the wane, its once unassailable principles of free trade, free markets, and the free movement of people now disputed on a daily basis. Meanwhile, public attention focuses on yet another chapter in the culture wars, with the American people divided, irredeemably it seems, over vaccination, critical race theory, and whether Donald Trump should be lauded as an American hero or jailed for acts of treason.Yet, beneath the churn, one can detect hints of new common ground on economic matters emerging. Trump and Bernie Sanders have both worked to turn the country away from free trade and toward a protectionist future promising better jobs and higher wages. Senators Josh Hawley and Amy Klobuchar have both been warning the American people about the dangers of concentrated corporate power and the “tyranny of high tech”; and bipartisanship is driving movements in Congress to commit public funds to the nation’s physical infrastructure and to industrial policies deemed vital to economic wellbeing and national security. It is too soon to know whether these incipient collaborative efforts indicate that a new kind of political economy is in fact taking shape and, if it is, whose interests it will serve. But these developments underscore, once again, the importance of looking beyond and beneath the culture wars for clues as to where American politics and society might be heading.
    Gary Gerstle is a Guardian US columnist. Excerpted and adapted from The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era (Oxford University Press, 2022)
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    Republican Hawley’s attack on supreme court nominee Jackson is wrong, says senator

    Republican Hawley’s attack on supreme court nominee Jackson is wrong, says senatorSenate judiciary committee chair Dick Durbin says Hawley’s attacks should be ignored in confirmation hearings this week The Missouri Republican Josh Hawley is wrong to attack Ketanji Brown Jackson, Joe Biden’s supreme court nominee, and should be ignored in confirmation hearings this week, the Senate judiciary chair said.How Ketanji Brown Jackson became Biden’s supreme court nominee – podcastRead moreHawley, the Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin said, is “part of the fringe within the Republican party … a man who was fist-bumping the murderous mob that descended on the Capitol on 6 January of the last year.“He doesn’t have the credibility he thinks he does.”If confirmed, Jackson will be the first Black woman on the court. If Democrats hold their 50 votes she will be installed, via Kamala Harris’s vote as vice-president.Jackson has attracted Republican support before and some have indicated they may back her this time. Jackson’s confirmation will not affect the balance of a court which conservatives dominate 6-3, as she will replace another liberal, the retiring Stephen Breyer.Hawley is however one of several hard-right members of the judiciary committee, alongside Ted Cruz of Texas and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, to harbour presidential ambitions. Such senators could see attacking a Biden nominee as a way to appeal to supporters.This week, in tweets echoed by the Republican National Committee, Hawley highlighted a potential line of attack.“I’ve noticed an alarming pattern when it comes to Judge Jackson’s treatment of sex offenders, especially those preying on children,” Hawley said.He did not raise the issue when he questioned Jackson last year, before voting against her confirmation to an appeals court. The White House said the senator was pushing “toxic and weakly presented misinformation”.Jackson sat on the US Sentencing Commission, an agency meant to reduce disparity in federal prison sentences. The sentencing expert Douglas Berman, an Ohio State law professor, has said her record shows she is skeptical of the range of sentences recommended for child pornography cases, the subject seized upon by Hawley.“But so too were prosecutors in the majority of her cases and so too are district judges nationwide,” Berman wrote.Durbin told ABC’s This Week: “As far as Senator Hawley is concerned, here’s the bottom line – he’s wrong. He’s inaccurate and unfair in his analysis.“Judge Jackson has been scrutinised more than any person I can think of. This is her fourth time before the Senate judiciary committee. In three previous times, she came through with flying colors and bipartisan support, the last time just last year.“And now Senator Hawley is making these charges that came out of nowhere. The independent fact checkers … have discredited his claims already. They should have. There’s no truth to what he says.“And he’s part of the fringe within the Republican party. This was a man who was fist-bumping the murderous mob that descended on the Capitol on 6 January of last year. He doesn’t have the credibility he thinks he does.”This week, Politico demanded Hawley stop using for fundraising purposes a picture of his famous raised-fist salute to protesters before the deadly attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters. Hawley indicated that he would not stop using the image.12:30PM: Senator Josh Hawley pumps his fist at pro-Trump crowd gathered at the east side of the Capitol before heading into the joint session of Congress. #Jan6NeverAgain #TheBigLie pic.twitter.com/rEFsfLY4x9— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) April 16, 2021
    On ABC, John Barrasso of Wyoming, a member of Senate Republican leadership, was asked if Hawley was guilty of “character assassination” in his attack on Jackson.“The whole process is going to be fair, respectful and thorough,” Barrasso said, adding that he found Jackson “clearly, very intelligent”.Using a key Republican attack line in an election year, Barrasso added: “Going through the record, there are some concerns that people have about her being perceived as soft on crime. That’s all going to come out with the hearings but they’re going to be respectful, they’re going to be thorough and they’re going to be fair.”Asked if Hawley’s attack was fair, Barrasso said: “Well, he’s going to have his opportunity to question the judge as will all the members of the committee.“The last time we had a hearing with [Brett] Kavanaugh, he was accused of being a serial rapist with no evidence whatsoever. So, I think we’re going to have a fair process and a respectful process, unlike what the Democrats did to Justice Kavanaugh.”In fact Kavanaugh – who denied allegations of sexual assault detailed by an alleged victim in confirmation hearings – was the second of three justices installed by Republicans under Donald Trump. The third, Amy Coney Barrett, was jammed on to the court shortly before the 2020 election, after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg.Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate minority leader, told CBS’s Face the Nation he and Jackson “had a very good conversation”. He asked her, he said, to “defend the court” against those who say Democrats should expand it beyond nine justices to redress its ideological balance.Mug shot: Republican Josh Hawley told to stop using January 6 fist salute photoRead more“Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Breyer both publicly opposed court packing,” McConnell said, “that is trying to increase the number of members in order to get an outcome you like. That would have been an easy thing for [Jackson] to do, to defend the integrity of the court. She wouldn’t do that.”The man who drastically shifted the balance of the court in part by denying a nomination to Barack Obama in 2016 and swiftly confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett four years later also said: “I haven’t made a final decision as to how I’m gonna vote.”Hearings begin on Monday. Jackson is expected to make a statement and answer questions. Harvard-trained, she spent two years as a federal public defender. That makes her the first nominee with significant criminal defense experience since Thurgood Marshall, the first Black American on the court.The American Bar Association has given Jackson its highest rating, unanimously “well qualified”.Janette McCarthy Wallace, general counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said she was excited to see a Black woman on the verge of a seat.“Representation matters,” Wallace said. “It’s critical to have diverse experience on the bench. It should reflect the rich cultural diversity of this country.”
    The Associated Press contributed to this report
    TopicsKetanji Brown JacksonUS supreme courtUS constitution and civil libertiesLaw (US)RepublicansDemocratsUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

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    US House passes bill banning discrimination against Black hairstyles

    US House passes bill banning discrimination against Black hairstyles Natural Black hairstyles are often considered ‘unprofessional’ and school children face detention over dress code violations The US House of Representatives on Friday passed a bill banning race-based discrimination on hair, specifically textures or styles associated with a particular race or national origin such as dreadlocks, afros and braids.The bill is known as the Crown Act, standing for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. It was co-sponsored by the progressive Democratic representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, among others, who cited research showing that Black students were significantly more likely to face school detention, often for dress code violations based on their hair.‘Wear your crown, because change is coming’: Virginia joins states banning hair discriminationRead more“I want my two girls to grow up in a world where they know they will not be discriminated against because of their hair or the way they look,” Omar said in a press release on Friday after the vote.“Natural Black hair is often deemed ‘unprofessional’ simply because it does not conform to white beauty standards,” representative Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, a co-sponsor, said. “Discrimination against Black hair is discrimination against Black people.”The #CrownAct would prohibit hair discrimination by including an individual’s style of hair that is tightly-curled, locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, Afros and other styles commonly associated with a race or national origin in the definition of racial discrimination. pic.twitter.com/8zyxfT30Yx— Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (@RepBonnie) March 22, 2021
    The legislation attracted derision from some Republicans, including the rightwing Colorado representative Lauren Boebert, who referred to it as “the bad hair bill”.The Crown Act passed with some bipartisan support in the House and will now move to the Senate, where it is sponsored by the New Jersey Democratic US senator Cory Booker, where it has an uphill challenge, needing to secure 60 votes in the evenly divided chamber to pass.Several states have passed local versions of the law.TopicsRaceHouse of RepresentativesUS politicsDiscrimination at worknewsReuse this content More

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    Are white Christians under attack in America? No, but the myth is winning

    Are white Christians under attack in America? No, but the myth is winningAlvin ChangThe idea that the American way of life is under threat from a variety of ‘others’ is wildly overblown but widely believed Every evening, Fox News tells a story about America.It’s a story about how traditional American values are being undermined by radical leftists – how marginalized populations actually account for a huge portion of the country, and that they want to take America from white Christians. These radicals are atheists, Muslims, Jews. They are people of color, vegans, coastal city dwellers and, of course, Democrats.The real reason Republicans are so interested in the census | David DaleyRead moreAnd it turns out this story is winning.Earlier this year, YouGov asked Americans to estimate what percentage of American adults fall under a certain identity group. On average, respondents assumed that 30% of Americans are Jewish, 27% are Muslim, 21% are transgender and 20% earn more than a million dollars a year. In reality, each of those groups account for less than 2% of the population.YouGov pollThere is a clear story in the way Americans perceive our country.We assume there are far fewer white Christians than there actually are, and that there are far more of everyone else – people of color, immigrants, non-Christians, non-straight people and non-binary people. To be fair, Americans also overestimated the number of left-handed people (estimate was 32%; reality is 11%). But it’s hard to ignore the directionality of our misperceptions.These misperceptions have real political consequences.In 2014, researchers Maureen Craig and Jennifer Richeson surveyed hundreds of white Americans who identified as political independents. They told half of them that California had recently become a majority-minority state – that white people were no longer the majority. The other half (the control group) weren’t told anything about white people becoming a minority.Then they asked everyone the same question: do you lean toward Democrats or Republicans?Those who were told white people were now in the minority in California were significantly more likely to support Republicans. Among people who live in the American west, the control group favored Democrats 31% to 16%. The group that was told California was now minority-majority flipped their preference – 33% leaning toward Republicans, 19% leaning toward Democrats.In other words, white Americans lean toward Republicans when they think they’re becoming the minority.To be clear, America really is browning. In 2013, the majority of newborn Americans were people of color. In 2014, the majority of public school students were kids of color. And in the next 25 years, America will no longer be a majority white country – at least according to the US census’s racial categories.But conservatives have long known that stoking racial or faith-based fears works, and they’re leaning into this messaging.I spent much of my childhood attending white evangelical Christian churches in the midwest, and I remember sermon after sermon painting Christians as victims. It started with a story about how Christians were being persecuted in a foreign country, often China, and how that echoes the biblical stories about Christians being persecuted. Inevitably the sermon would turn to Jesus being executed by the Romans, and then extrapolate this persecution to our lives as American Christians. The message was clear: it’s us versus the world – and the purpose of everyone else is to squash the fire of our faith.It was immensely effective and often translated into policy positions, like being anti-abortion and pro-Iraq war. But more importantly, it painted white Christians as an aggrieved group – a belief that it’s not just you under attack, but people like you. This victim complex can be critical to political movements. That’s partially what drove thousands of people to Washington on 6 January 2021 to protest against the presidential election results. For an individual protester, it made no sense to call out from work, get on a bus and march on the Capitol; the outcome would have been the same regardless of whether or not you showed up. But if you tell yourself that you’re joining a group of “patriots” who are being erased from this country, and that you’re fighting for the soul of America?Well, that story makes sense – and even though it’s patently incorrect, it’s the story that’s winning.TopicsRaceOpinionCensusUS politicscommentReuse this content More

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    Maryland Democrat’s leaked email casts doubt over Black candidates’ electability

    Maryland Democrat’s leaked email casts doubt over Black candidates’ electabilityBarbara Goldberg Goldman wrote in her email that three previous attempts to elect a Black governor had failed Doubts about the electability of Black candidates “should have no place in America in 2022”, a contender for the Democratic nomination for governor in Maryland said, after an email from a party official and donor expressing such doubt went public.The email from Barbara Goldberg Goldman, deputy treasurer of the state Democratic party, was obtained by Axios. The news site noted the disparity between such doubts and Democratic reliance on Black voters in states across the US, not least in the election of Joe Biden as president.Beto O’Rourke calls Texas governor Greg Abbott an ‘authoritarian’ and ‘thug’Read moreIn the email, which Axios said was written “to other party insiders”, Goldberg Goldman explained why she was backing Tom Perez, a former labor secretary and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, for the nomination for governor this year.“So, my thinking beyond here is the age-old question,” Goldberg Goldman wrote. “Which candidate(s) have a better chance in the general election of beating an attractive female [Larry] Hogan team member for whom both [Democrats] and [Republicans] have expressed genuine likability?”The possible Republican nominee referred to as a successor to Hogan, who has served two terms, is Kelly Schulz, currently state secretary for commerce.“Consider this,” Goldberg Goldman wrote. “Three African American males have run statewide for governor and have lost. Maryland is not a blue state. It’s a purple one. This is a fact we must not ignore. In the last 20 years, only eight have been with a Democratic governor. We need a winning team. IMHO.”A spokesperson for Wes Moore, an author and non-profit chief executive who is one of three Black candidates for the nomination, said: “The idea that there would be skepticism about a candidate’s electability because they are Black should have no place in the Democratic party in Maryland – a state with both incredible diversity and disparities – or anywhere else in America in 2022.”John King, US education secretary under Barack Obama, is also running. He told Axios he had heard similar sentiments to those expressed by Goldberg Goldman.“In Maryland,” he said, “we have a very diverse state and a diverse electorate, so we are well-positioned to have our first African American governor. Having served in the administration of our first Black president, one would have hoped we’d be further along in these conversations.”The other Black candidate for the nomination, former county executive Rushern Baker, said: “While I don’t agree, it’s a fair criticism, understanding we haven’t seen it happen yet … Although those candidates didn’t win, it’s not impossible. They just weren’t the right candidates at the right time.”A Perez spokesperson said: “These hurtful and ill-conceived comments do not reflect the values of our campaign – as evidenced by Tom’s entire career to advance civil rights and expand opportunity.”Axios said: “Past performance is a valid index to use when considering future successes. The invocation of race as a determining factor, though, takes the discussion beyond pure politics.”Goldberg Goldman said: “I regret making the statement. It neither accurately expresses nor depicts my views, and does not represent my lifelong commitment to supporting Democratic causes and candidates.”TopicsMarylandDemocratsRaceUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

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    West Virginia Republicans miss own deadline to pass schools race bill

    West Virginia Republicans miss own deadline to pass schools race billSupermajority runs out of time to greenlight House version of bill but does pass abortion restriction Republicans who enjoy a supermajority in the West Virginia legislature nonetheless failed to pass a controversial bill restricting how race is taught in public schools because they missed a midnight deadline in the final moments of the 2022 session.Butt of the joke: Bette Midler fires back at West Virginia governor Jim JusticeRead moreLawmakers spent weeks during the legislative session debating and advancing proposed bills similar to the Anti-Racism Act of 2022. It wasn’t immediately clear why Republicans waited until late on Saturday to take a final vote. The act had passed the Senate and House overwhelmingly and the vote was merely to greenlight the House version. “We took the vote, but essentially that didn’t matter because it didn’t make deadline,” Senate spokesperson Jacque Bland said, adding that the education bill now has no path to becoming law. A separate bill restricting abortion access did pass, minutes before midnight. It bars parents from seeking abortion because they believe their child will be born with a disability. It provides exemptions in the case of a medical emergency or in cases where a fetus is “non-medically viable”. Republican lawmakers appeared unhurried as the clock ticked down on Saturday, spending about an hour passing resolutions honoring two outgoing senators. Supporters of the Anti-Racism Act of 2022 said it would prevent discrimination based on race in K-12 public schools, banning teachers from telling students one race “is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously”. The bill said students can’t be taught moral character is determined by race, or that a person by virtue of their race “bears responsibility for actions committed by other members of the same race”. It would have created a mechanism for reporting complaints and for the legislature to collect data on how many complaints are substantiated each year. It did not specify punishment. Legislators convened at the snowy state Capitol on Saturday with dozens of bills to finalize. The House speaker, Roger Hanshaw, arrived late to a debate on the state budget bill because he was delayed by a car accident on roads which were still being cleared. The bill dealing with disabilities and abortion was passed minutes before midnight, following 90 minutes of discussion. It now moves to the desk of the Republican governor, Jim Justice. “This is about science and morality,” said Republican Kayla Kessinger. “It’s about, ‘When does life begin?’ and whether or not it has a value.” Democrats voiced their opposition, with Evan Hansen saying the bill does nothing substantial to help people with disabilities and their families. “This is an attempt to use people with disabilities as props for an anti-abortion agenda, something that the disability community has not asked for, as far as I know – and that’s just wrong,” Hansen said. “It creates government overreach into personal family medical decisions.” A physician who violates the law could see their license to practice medicine suspended or revoked. The bill also requires physicians to submit a report, with patients’ names omitted, to the state for each abortion performed and whether “the presence or presumed presence of any disability in the unborn human being had been detected”. The reports would include the date of the abortion and the method used, as well as confirming the doctor asked the patient if they chose an abortion because the baby might have a disability. These reports must be submitted within 15 days of each abortion. That bill wasn’t the only abortion-related legislation brought forward but lawmakers declined on Saturday to take up a bill banning abortions after 15 weeks. Lawmakers voted 90-9 to send a $4.635bn budget to the governor’s desk after two hours of discussion on the House floor. The bill includes 5% pay raises for state employees and teachers and an additional bump for state troopers. The budget does not include a 10% personal income tax cut passed by the House last month. Lawmakers also promised that social workers in the foster care system will see a 15% pay raise. After a bill to provide the increases was essentially gutted, they advised the Department of Health and Human Resources to provide the raises by eliminating open positions. Additionally, lawmakers passed a bill decriminalizing fentanyl test strips, which can signal the presence of synthetic opioid in illicit drugs. Other bills repealed the state’s soda tax and banned requiring Covid-19 vaccination cards to enter state agencies or public colleges and universities. TopicsWest VirginiaRepublicansRaceUS politicsUS educationnewsReuse this content More