Heaven help us if our shameful fear of foreigners has come to this

A news item from yesterday: David Bowers, the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, thinks the internment of Japanese- Americans during World War II was a good idea and that there should be more of that kind of thing. Bowers, like a lot of state and local government officials, is trying to prevent Syrian refugees from being resettled in his area. Unlike most state and local government officials, however, he justifies his actions by saying we should be at least as harsh toward Syrians because of ISIS as FDR was to Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor:...

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Still Jim Crow: Blacks often barred from court juries in the South

Racism, Martin Luther King Jr. once observed, is “the hound from hell that dogs the tracks of civilization.” The truth of that adage is far less cruel in America today than it was when I was a kid in the 1950s. Younger people can only read about how bad it was in the segregationist South of half a century ago. The civil rights movement improved the situation in countless ways. But let’s not kid ourselves. There still are problems. Consider, for example, the situation with regard to criminal court juries in most Southern...

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Seven days in June

One week ago today, the social and political buzz among Americans was focused mainly on Donald Trump’s announcement of his presidential candidacy and anticipation of an encyclical from Pope Francis on climate change. Otherwise, nothing terribly earth-shaking seemed to be going on. Nightfall, however, brought a tragedy, the aftermath of which is still reverberating in ways that could not have been predicted. A racist madman shot and killed nine especially fine people in an iconic black church in Charleston, S.C. — and America...

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Let’s put Obama’s public use of the N-word in context, shall we?

In a radio interview in the wake of last week’s tragedy in Charleston, S.C., President Obama said this: Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior. Predictably enough, some pathological Obamaphobes say the president’s public use of the N-word betrays him a racist in...

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I hate to say it, but expelling racist frat boys violates their rights to free speech

I don’t often agree with Eugene Volokh, but he’s RIGHT about the expulsion of several fraternity members allegedly involved in leading racist chants aboard a bus full of students at the University of Oklahoma: First, racist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline students based on their speech. That has been the unanimous view of courts that have considered campus speech codes and other campus speech restrictions…The same, of course, is true...

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