Saturday, August 26, 2017
Charlottesville and Hatred: Historical Context from Annette Gordon-Reed
12:15 pm edt
The reemergence of sometimes latent racial hatred — by
groups including the KKK and neo-Nazis, in places including Charlottesville — has been disturbing. Among the most
thoughtful recent reactions is one by Harvard historian and Jefferson scholar Annette Gordon-Reed in the New York Review of Books. She concludes:
“American ideals have always
clashed with harsh American realities. We saw that clash on the grounds of UVA. But how do we continue in the face of depressing
realities to allow ourselves to hold fast to the importance of having aspirations, and recognize that the pursuit of high
ideals—even if carried out imperfectly—offers the only real chance of bringing forth good in the world?
In many ways, grappling with that question is what being a scholar of Jefferson is all about. Perhaps coming fully to grips
with the paradoxes that Jefferson’s life presents is what being an American is about. Even if one rejects that formulation,
there is no doubt that he remains one of the best ways we have of exploring and understanding the strengths and weaknesses
of the American experiment displayed so vividly … in Charlottesville.”
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Indian Independence, and Partition, at 70
3:39 pm edt
This month is the 70th anniversary of India’s
independence from the U.K., and of the partition that created Pakistan. The New York Times published
thoughtful reflections by Pankaj Mishra and Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
The latter, a grandson of Mohandas Gandhi,
writes: “Democracy is about majority rule, not majoritarian tyranny. What is under attack in India is not just Hindu-Muslim
concord, but the right of all minorities — ethnic, linguistic, regional, political, social and cultural — to be
themselves, to be equal, to be free. Dissent, free speech and the freedom to choose with confidence and without fear are under
In the Times of India and Medium, I wrote about India’s Republic Day and the relationship between the U.S. and Indian governments.
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Athletes and Activism: The Example of Ray Allen
12:27 pm edt
Ray Allen, a retired NBA star known for his thoughtful humanity, is now a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council (via an appointment from President Obama in 2016) – an affiliation
that attracted coverage from Tablet.
Now Allen himself has written about his trip to Auschwitz.
The NBA is the most progressive professional
sports league, and it has no better representative than Ray Allen. While he doesn’t yet quite rival Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who publicly supported Muhammad Ali at the height of Ali’s
resistance to the draft during the Vietnam War and has published several books) in the realm of activism, Allen is widely
respected as a role model who uses his celebrity for good.
Allen, who played and studied at UConn in the 1990s, was a subject of previous blog posts in January 2009 and June 2013 (June 22).