I've a much sparser list of states that I've been to, but of them, a rough list would be something like:
2. Washington D.C.*
I've never been to Missouri or Arkansas but have been interested in seeing both of them, anything in particular that has them low on the list?
I believe I have been to 41 states, but I would have trouble saying which states are bad/best since there are parts of any state that are good and parts that are bad.
My Top, Nonetheless:
3) New Hampshire
Bottom, which is harder since, aside from Ohio, I have only visited small parts of these states:
3) West Virginia
4) New Jersey
5) California (because I feel like it, I've actually only been in the San Francisco airport)
In my experience, Ohio takes the cake on 'bad roads': the town I was in for college had streets that, without exaggerating, can be said to have been more pothole than smooth surface (there was no level surface left actually). Nor was this particularly exceptional given the many parts of Ohio I have been to (it is equally true of the Butternut parts as of Columbus or Toledo, etc.).
NPR has an article out: "5 things we learned from Fauci's emails"
The five things:
1. "Americans wrote to Fauci with very specific questions about what to do"
2. "He pushed back on the suggestion that the Trump White House was muzzling him"
3. "Fauci gets a ton of email — and he replies to a surprising amount of it"
4. "He was uncomfortable with his sudden celebrity"
5. "But he found some upsides in fame too"
Exactly one of those things resembles actual news. Not included:
"Fauci recommended not wearing masks in email correspondance"
"Fauci organized documentary of his life and career during the pandemic"
"ABC reporter promised she would not 'jeopardize' Fauci "in any way"
"Fauci was informed of lab-leak evidence for COVID in early 2020"
"Fauci praised for rejecting lab-leak theory by organization funding COVID research at Wuhan Institute of Virology"
"Fauci was aware of Wuhan gain-of-function research approved by NIH"
"Fauci corresponded with Facebook in partially-redacted emails concurrent with Facebook censorship"
Basically no-one in the country not specifically seeking out such news is going to be aware of it at all. A very 'well-informed' NPR listener/reader would continue on in complete ignorance that the emails did anything but burnish Fauci's reputation.
There are three ways to squash a controversy/scandal: Actively suppress or censor it, which at least lets some people realize that something is going on, distract from it by attacking the other side/someone else, or, perhaps most effective, simply pretend that it does not exist. Someone can't get in hot water over a controversy if you just make sure that no-one ever hears about it in the first place-and if the only people talking about it are right-wing sites, you just have to call it an 'echo chamber' and get on your way.
The old Mark Twain quote: "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed, if you read the newspaper, you're misinformed" apparently needs to be updated: now if you read it, you're both misinformed and uninformed.
I really can't wait for the idea that the mainstream/left-wing press is speaking 'truth to power' to die.
I was glad that Tangle/Issac Saul re-addressed critical race theory this last Friday: https://www.readtangle.com/p/changing-my-mind-critical-race-theory
While he didn't ultimately embrace my anti-all types of critical theory stance, I'm can see a few places in this article that he is directly responding to the extremely long essay I sent him on the subject! I even got a mention as a "historian" in the intro. Critical theory is bosh.
Even if one thinks CRT is not bunk, at the core of this is that legislatures are not passing bills that say "No Critical Race Theory", contrary to reporting that claims such, they are passing bills that say basically nothing more than "you're not allowed to be racist or a race supremacist". Here is the entire operative section of Idaho's bill, the first one passed (it's also pretty crazy just to see a bill that's a page and a half long instead of several thousand)
(a) No public institution of higher education, school district, or public school, including a public charter school, shall direct or otherwise compel students to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to any of the following tenets:
(i) That any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior
(ii) That individuals should be adversely treated on the basis of their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin
(iii) That individuals, by virtue of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin, are inherently responsible for
actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin.
(b) No distinction or classification of students shall be made on account of race or color.
I don't think that there's a single argument that can be made against those points that is not actively racist. It is as succinct and comprehensive a definition of anti-racism as one can have (better, at least, than Ibram X. Kendi's "Anti-racism is a collection of anti-racist policies leading to racial equity that are substantiated by anti-racist ideas").
Look, if someone wants to argue anti-historically that the Founding Fathers revolted for the sole purpose of slavery, that every institution in America is systematically racist, that the Declaration of Independence is a white supremacist document, fine, it's garbage, but fine. But the opposition of bill such as these, that do nothing more than specifically and narrowly define what is not permissible: that is, active prejudice based solely on race, is not a problem because it is anti-historical, it is a problem because it is actively racist, without exception. If one is complaining that this legislation bans or limits critical race theory, one is conceding that critical race theory is openly racist.
There were always the kinds of arguments in the past that conservatives would make that 'Democrats are the real racists' kinds of things, and they had some debatable level of backing, usually citing effects of welfare policy and single motherhood, gun control, or controversial statements that were seen as 'reverse racist', etc., but that's entirely different from what we have now. What we have now is policy that is not racist in effect, but racist in intent, that the actual goal is to "dismantle whiteness", the teaching that "whiteness is a malignant, parasitic-like condition"-the bigotry is not the subtext, it's the headline.
Really, this is not a fight that conservatives are going to really be able to affect, it's going to be a fight among the left, between liberals and progressives, and I frankly don't think the liberals are going to win. We're looking at a regressive future of a deliberately racist party in the United States. I don't think even someone on the left could honestly draw any kind of comparison between "A lot of these illegal immigrants are rapists" and "this poor country is a [profanity] garbage pile" and "Our education policy includes the teaching that whiteness is a malignant condition." A highlight of the absolute worst of Donald Trump could not come close.
I really can never write a succinct post, it always goes long, but the long and short of it is that I think, unless there is a frankly heroic effort by actual liberals, who I think make up the silent majority of the party, that the systemic teaching of rank, intentional bigotry to our children is going to become the new reality, and if things are bad domestically now, I shudder to think of what state we'll be in when the generations receiving such teachings grow up and come into power.
There was some anger on the right recently about Biden not commemorating the anniversary of D-Day, which I think was legitimate, if overblown. The only reason I bring it up is that I saw a comment online that 'I can't believe Biden forgot D-Day, he looks like he was alive during it', and he actually was-he was born two years before it. McConnell was also two, and Pelosi was more than four, and might actually remember it. Not really a policy observation, just a 'man, that's crazy' kind of fact, though I suppose the policy half of it would be the fearful thought (for me, anyway) that if a guy who was born before D-Day could be a President supporting radicalism at the level of 'men can get pregnant, saying otherwise is hate speech' and 'government-funded abortion at nine months is a human right', then thinking about the depths to which a President born today might sink once in office chills the soul.
I see that you've also found what the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association considers appropriate to publish.
"Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has—a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which “white” people have a particular susceptibility. The condition is foundational, generating characteristic ways of being in one’s body, in one’s mind, and in one’s world. Parasitic Whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse. These deformed appetites particularly target nonwhite peoples. Once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate. Effective treatment consists of a combination of psychic and social-historical interventions. Such interventions can reasonably aim only to reshape Whiteness’s infiltrated appetites—to reduce their intensity, redistribute their aims, and occasionally turn those aims toward the work of reparation. When remembered and represented, the ravages wreaked by the chronic condition can function either as warning (“never again”) or as temptation (“great again”). Memorialization alone, therefore, is no guarantee against regression. There is not yet a permanent cure."
I had a bit of a dialogue with a person on reddit about this. Turns out that this "whiteness" disease that primarily affects "white" people has nothing to do with the color of anyone's skin. Who knew?
There are some parts of modern politics that are just horrifying and sickening, but then then are some like this that are simultaneously horrifying, and kind of hilarious. Just to read the pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook and think of how it would sound if it was treated like an actual illness or condition being said by a plainer-speaking person.
"Oh no, Mr. Evans has gone and caught the White! Oh Lord, we'll have to get him to the hospital for some social-historical interventions right quick or he's not gonna make it. I hear there's no cure for it, mercy for his poor wife and child."
That reddi bit is something else. I especially like the bit where he thinks it is apparently racist for non-white people to want to make money, and where no-one except white people ever thought of the concept of police or banks.
His rant does actually really show something significant, essentially the difference between Critical Theory and Critical Race Theory. More or less all he is talking about is structures of power, you could apply virtually everything he says to, say, China, or heck, even something like the Pre-Columbian Americas and it would work fine, at its core, it is just about institutions, but it has to be 'whiteness', not power structures, because, as noted, at the present time, the racism is not a side effect, the racism is the point. (Ironically, in ascribing all of this to white people and white people alone, there's some more subtle racism at play, where the power structures and political economies created elsewhere in the world by non-white people simply never existed.)
I think the problem the left sees with the Idaho bill and others like it is not so much the wording of the action clauses but the intent behind the bills. Many of the lawmakers behind these bills have made it quite clear they believe critical race theory to be a load of racist baloney, much as you guys feel. I have my own issues with elements of the theory, and certain proponents of it definitely take things to the extreme, but other elements of it make sense. Whether it was the intent of the Founders or not, the United States has been built on a foundation of racism and other forms of privilege, despite the simultaneous enshrinement of Enlightenment values. The situation for non-whites has certainly improved since the 1960s, but institutional racism is still around and needs to be acknowledged. The right thinks the left wants to demonize white people and overhaul the civil rights movement, but the left thinks the right wants to minimize the continued injustices faced by minorities and pretend everything is a-okay, no need for improvement. And considering the attitude towards racial matters displayed by the GOP in the Trump and post-Trump eras, I think that concern is justified.
TLDR: these bills arguably intend to ban critical race theory from schools, and I think at least parts of the theory are perfectly valid and ought to be taught.
I do think that there is some validity to that argument, and it ties into a broader debate over intent versus effect. One heard a lot of this around Trump's quote-unquote 'Muslim ban', where the actual ban itself was restricted to certain countries, leaving out many Muslim-majority ones, not a ban on Muslim entry into the United States as he was accused of (and had talked about on the campaign trail), but the case was made that the details of the executive action were secondary to Trump's motivations. Voting bills are probably the more recent example, where someone could point out that Georgia's voting law, in its text, is less restrictive than New York's, but the argument is that it was made with bad intentions regardless. This can even get seen in abortion, Hellerstadt could be lumped in here with health regulations that would otherwise have likely found supported being treated differently by being seen as coming from anti-abortion motive, though that is a less clean example. The more I think about it, the more this seems to tend to follow right v. left lines (though I imagine there are plenty of exceptions), thinking of Edwards v. Aguillard, an Intelligent Design case, where the majority struck it down because they disliked or distrusted the motivation of the authors, while Scalia and Rehnquist dissented based on the actual text of the legislation. A possible reverse example, where the motive is portrayed as less aggressive than the legislation, would be most assault weapon bans, where the motivation is portrayed as banning a small subset of dangerous weapons, but the broad bills themselves ban far more (Canada's recent assault weapons ban even banned basic shotguns).
I definitely consider myself to be a 'textualist' when it comes to this sort of thing. I think one can certainly make political judgements based on motivation, and I don't think it's wrong to say that many of the legislators passing these bills do want to ban critical race theory, but for the bills themselves and deciding whether or not to pass them, I think the words should be the only thing that matters, no matter who wrote them down (which tends to be my judicial approach as well.)
Outside of the policy, I would be curious as to how you define 'institutional racism' that you see today. I think that there is a much stronger argument to be made on the basis of acknowledging racism in America's past than the argument that institutions are systemically racist today-I would go so far as to say that the most significant and apparent institutional racism today is anti-white and anti-Asian in the institution of higher education, and present governmental programs discriminating on the basis of race.
I was thinking mainly of (mainly anti-black) racism in the criminal justice system; certainly that issue has been at the forefront of national attention in recent years. There are a number of other areas where historically disadvantaged groups continue to be disadvantaged. While anti-white racism certainly exists, I don't think it can really compare to the amount of anti-non-white racism that's still around.
It's also hard as a white person to know who is and is not racist as it would never show up to us. Overt racism is super rare in Canada, but you still hear stories every now and then of mistreatment and the odd N-word being used directly and pejoratively by a non-black person. Figuring out who harbours these views is pretty much impossible for me to ascertain as unless I see them interacting with a minority, I can't judge based on their treatment of myself.
I think that's probably the area in which the best case can be made, in sentencing, in particular: for all the focus on it, most studies seem to disabuse of the notion that there's disproportionate police shootings of black people (which actually surprises me a bit.) I think where it gets very difficult there is that there does not seem to be much of anything in the way of race-based institutional policy to take aim at as in universities and government, it seems to primarily come down to judges and juries (somewhat similarly, though there are more structural issues there as well, in the giant gap between men and women in sentencing even with crimes held equal). This may also call back to the sort of 'text v. intent' or 'policy v. culture' bit, as I tend to think the primary concern ought to be actual legislation that clearly racially discriminates, such as the recent stimulus bills.*
*The one thing that I have heard brought up as the example of a law that is racially discriminatory is the harsher punishment for crack cocaine than powdered cocaine, but I think that's never been a really strong argument, ironically from the 'motive' argument, as major drivers behind the passing of those laws were black community leaders and elected officials who were looking for a crackdown on such drugs in their own neighborhoods. I think it's reasonable to look to amend those laws, but I think it, at best, indicts a tiny portion of criminal law, and at worst does not prove anything at all.
This felt bizarre to me on first glance, since that would have been my assumption, you would just watch white people interacting with minorities, but I suppose that requires living in a relatively diverse area, and one would be sort of out of luck in being able to see any of that if in an extremely white neighborhood/workplace etc.
With that said, at least in my experience, if someone holds racist attitudes, it seems to be relatively easy to detect if one talks with them at any length without any repetition of the n-word required, that may just be something that varies.
Although it's changing quickly I lived in a very homogeneous town, 95% white.
I see. I'm on the opposite side of things, I went to public schools growing up and both my elementary school and high school were majority-minority, and I'm typically the only white guy on the bus I take to work. (I live on the South Side of Chicago, majority-black neighborhood.)
There's no good way to measure it, surveys are sketchy at best and 'implicit bias' tests have a bad track record, but it really would be fascinating to see, on averages, what the racial attitudes of white people are divided up by the demographics of where they were raised: Are people raised in all-white neighborhoods more racist, or perhaps just very neutral or color-blind? Are white people who grow up as 'minorities' the least racist as a result, or more likely to be racist as a result? Not any real way to know that I'm aware of, but it'd make for extremely interesting sociology.
I was giving the above article a cursory read and thought it would be a good point for discussion here. Could any of our Southern Baptist members provide some comments on this?
I read an article in the New York Times on the same topic today, though it is not exactly objective: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/12/us/southern-baptists-conservatives.html
Unfortunately I am not a Southern Baptist and am not really in a position to give any special insight or commentary. My general position is obviously going to be that I'm in favor of the convention pushing back against attempts at liberalization: I do not think CRT is Biblical (I think that the article's description of it as "a loose set of academic tools used to identify systemic racism" rather than an ideologically driven theory is bad enough to be considered malpractice) and I think that concessions there will absolutely lead to concessions on other matters, namely Biblical sexual morality, but I cannot speak to any specifics or any of the non-doctrinal issues like the sexual assault controversies.
An excerpt from my thoughts on critical race theory:
Is there any good that comes from critical theory? I definitely believe it is a false worldview: a dialectic that forces a particular narrative or interpretation on facts and situations that is not true. Further, I have never actually heard anyone say anything of value that came from critical theory that could not otherwise come from critical thinking. I have had discussions with a few close friends and family on the matter: a relative of mine was adamant that, though he himself did not like critical theory (which he got in undergrad English and philosophy classes), he thought it was needed to understand the past sometimes and understand how people did certain good things or wrote famous works while also holding racist views.
Is it though? What exactly is stopping you from tackling such a problem head-on without recourse to a Marxist dialectic that you only half-way understand anyway? Indeed, I would argue critical theory typically warps people's understanding of the past, its people, and its documents/facts/stories. I can write a better article about, say, race in medieval Venice without theory than with it. There is a very prominent scholar on Byzantium who has spoken out on this matter, Warren Threadgold, who I will quote here: "Though of course no one can know thoroughly every aspect of such a diverse and long-lasting state, trying to consult as much as possible of the relevant evidence helps for understanding a civilization so subtly unlike our own as Byzantium was. Modern (and especially postmodern) theories are usually obstacles to understanding Byzantium. The Byzantines considered race, class, and gender to be matters of very little theoretical interest, much as we regard red hair, business acumen, or physical strength. Thus Byzantine empresses seem to have had scarcely any interest in women as a group, and Byzantine aristocrats seem to have felt almost no class solidarity."
I would say the same to any positive experience someone might claim from critical race theory: was there really no way to have a positive discussion about race without referencing the Marxist dialectic? I find that unlikely.
Summary: If you want to think of it as simply an intellectual tool, it is a really bad one predicated on a false way of thinking. There are better options.
Also, I wanted to randomly link to this article I found while looking for something else.: https://www.vox.com/2015/10/14/9528769/democratic-debate-national-security-threat
It did not age well for the reporter, who openly mocks Webb in 2016 for describing China and cyber warfare (and not Russia) as our greatest threat. Who can reasonably think this now?
(Jeffrey Sachs for one, I guess, and probably far more elitists than I think. )
I take schism very seriously, and coming from a denomination in the middle of one, and one which may actually force me out of my denomination in time, I am cautious to spurn division. When I read Brittancas excerpt on CRT it seems that it is not an issue worthy of a Church schism. (https://www.britannica.com/topic/critical-race-theory) Does that mean it's right? No, it could be wrong on every level for all I know, but is it a belief that would damn someone? I don't believe so. These CRT-friendly pastors clearly believe it is of some merit, in some way. The only place it could come close is believing racism to be solvable, which could conflict with a strict understanding of total depravity. But I think saying racism can be solved and people are sinless is quite different.
Yet, the Marxist history does concern me. So, if I were part of the SBC I'd push for a condemnation of Communist thought, Marxist thought, and the ideologies they spawned that work against the church, rather than this particular view. That way if it ever proved itself to work against the Church it would then be pre-condemned but if it works well, and the CRT pastors use it to honor God then they can continue on happy as clams. Jk, people would still be furious, but it might diffuse schism talks.
I agree insofar as it seems like a very small thing to inflate into a large church-wide issue considering how loose the Baptists are about many theological questions, and it does seem like they are largely taking their cues from the political realm rather than from the culture of their own community.
I will also say that I think the article way way over-blows the looming possibility of schism. Granted I'm not attuned to Baptist circles, but reading through the authors journalese and based on my experience, this really isn't a substantial "schism" of any kind, it is a small, select group of pastors/churches considering leaving individually (not corporately). They are doing this for many reasons besides racial theory. It is fairly common for Baptists, loose as they are as an ecclesial body, to have a few churches break away and disaffiliate and we are not talking about 45% of the convention, or even 20% (I would guess not even 1%).
According to this older article, only 4 pastors have left so far (out of probably at least 20,000): https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2020/12/23/black-pastors-break-southern-baptist-critical-race-theory/
Now Baptists have their problems, I won't go into that, but I also recognize that the media kind-of have it out for them.
I think that, all things considered, the SBC could manage with including CRT, I do not think it is good by any means, but it is ultimately a theory tangential to Scripture, meaning that one can criticize it fairly based on Biblical principles, but letting it be is not directly against the Bible (as opposed to issues such as blessing same-sex 'marriages'.) The main issue from both articles seems to be that the defenders of CRT are more radically for it than its opponents are against it. The New Yorker article cited the pastor they were interviewing as saying that he was going to leave the SBC if 'either' of the 'hard-liners' were elected. There are only three candidates running, a (broadly defined) conservative, moderate, and liberal. If you say that you are going to leave if the middle-of-the-road guy is picked, then I think it is hard to argue that you are just looking for reasonable accommodation.
I think that GOR probably has it right here that those considering leaving are doing so for more reasons than just CRT. In the most optimistic reading of it, they're just putting extreme emphasis on a single issue, in the more cynical read (which I think is probably more accurate, unfortunately) the ones making the case for CRT probably disagree with the SBC on all the rest of the issues as well and were already looking at leaving, and CRT is just the best means to raise a lot of fuss (which seems to have worked, given the clearly-objective article they got written in the New York Times).
I actually think it is pretty unfortunate, as the SBC does have some adjustments that need to be made, the aforementioned sexual assault issue for one, and I think it's valid to say that the denomination ought to be taking a look at how it handles race, but that's not likely to happen when the fight is built up around CRT. It's like someone needing a bit of a trim for their hair, but you come at it with a rotary saw. It's not only going to get rejected, it's also going to mean you never get to use the scissors that you should have, the person is just not going to have it cut at all. (I think this has been a problem a number of times on recent issues, actually, where beneficial reform is torpedoed by its own side poisoning the well by going extreme. Police reform is something we ought to take action on-but 'defund the police' and riots poisoned the issue. Likewise with combating sexual harassment becoming unsubstantiated gang-rape allegations against Kavanaugh and rejection of due process. I've heard the take, and I think this is actually correct, if depressing, that these are not mistakes, but deliberate choices, because in politics, you don't actually want 90% of people agreeing with you, you want 40-60ish. If 90% of people agree with you, then you can't accuse the other side of being the bad guy because they mostly agree too, so you go too far, drive away the support of the other side, and then get to make campaign rhetoric about how bad the other side is for standing against you on the issue. If the Senate had passed something like Tim Scott's bill on police reform, or something similar, it would have been a bipartisan moment that is actually good for the country-but a bipartisan moment means its harder to get out the vote in a Presidential election year, and so we get this timeline instead.)