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John Ridley

Entries by John Ridley

The Unbearable Whiteness of Anti-Intellectualism

(753) Comments | Posted September 21, 2010 | 8:05 PM

Chris Rock had a joke about black anti-intellectualism that roughly went "those people are keeping it real. Yeah, real stupid!" One can't help but think these days there is a creeping anti-intellectualism in some segments of white America. The nation was originally founded on the aspirations of higher achievement. The...
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Forget a "Fat Tax." Tax the Fat.

(448) Comments | Posted September 11, 2009 | 4:30 PM

A thought as the health care debate reignites. I promise you I'm not trying to malign fat people, or the weight challenged or Hefty Americans. Trying not to malign them, mostly because there are so many of them. Obese people in America now outnumber the merely fat. The National Center...

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Not All Bitter, Not All Clingy -- In Defense of "Whitey"

(1031) Comments | Posted August 17, 2009 | 10:27 PM

The headline of a recent USA Today article read: FEDS TRY TO DETECT 'LONE OFFENDERS.' Lone offenders being: "lone attackers who may be contemplating politically charged assaults."

That, of course, could be anyone.

But the triptych that went with the article was of Ted Kaczynski, Eric Rudolph...

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Mel Martinez and the Last Nail in the Republican Diversity Coffin

(268) Comments | Posted August 8, 2009 | 11:57 AM

I'm sure it's only a matter of time now before somebody cranks out a Freakonomics-esque pop culture tome on the seemingly accelerating phenomenon of elected Republican officials getting the quitsies. Arlen Specter and Sarah Palin and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

But Florida Republican Sen. Mel Martínez's just-announced resignation isn't just a...

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If He Hollers: Remembering Chester Himes

(29) Comments | Posted July 31, 2009 | 7:53 PM

I have in my collection of rare pulp fiction a 1969 printing of Chester Himes' Run Man Run. The jacket copy is simultaneously to the point and over the top: "Lush sex and stark violence colored black and served up raw by a great Negro writer." If one were to...

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Gates Says What A Lot of Us Are Thinking: You Prove It!

(2036) Comments | Posted July 24, 2009 | 4:46 PM

Who knew the black man to get the most press post-Michael Jackson would be a Harvard professor? But the story of Henry Louis Gates Jr. is making for hot copy; Gates getting busted in his own home for being "tumultuous," "secretly reading," and for "general uppitiness".

Why? Why all...

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Can the NAACP Survive President Obama?

(283) Comments | Posted July 17, 2009 | 5:09 PM

It's survived one hundred years, through segregation and disenfranchisement. But can the NAACP survive Barack Obama?

The election of Obama as president is something of a "careful what you wish for" situation for one of America's oldest civil rights organizations. It's certainly what tens of thousands of NAACP members...

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This Fourth: Freedom, Crispus and Gay Linguists (Remixed)

(162) Comments | Posted July 3, 2009 | 7:22 PM

The following was originally posted on Huffington Post for the 4th of July in 2007. With the recent discharge of West Point graduate and Arabic linguist First Lt. Dan Choi from the New York National Guard for the high crime of wanting to serve his country openly, the piece...

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Mark Sanford Gets Lucky. Again.

(237) Comments | Posted June 26, 2009 | 5:44 PM

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. And if you're South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford it's better to be lucky than a "good boy."

Sanford was looking at being fodder for the tabloids on a Jon and Kate level after getting busted fresh from an Argentine love tryst....

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Never Mind the Race Haters, Remember Loving Day

(202) Comments | Posted June 12, 2009 | 7:35 PM

Reactionary conservatives are smiling through the racial apocalypse. To them race baiting is a joke, as "humorist" Rush Limbaugh will tell you when he's calling Mexicans "stupid." Or it's a matter of semantics when they claim that Sonia Sotomayor is a "racialist" which, far as I can tell, is the...

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Note to Newt: How "New Racism" Isn't Like "Old Racism"

(1048) Comments | Posted May 29, 2009 | 8:51 PM

Old white guys can be a funny bunch, can't they? The same anti-same-sex marriage, anti-affirmative action cadre can flower into the biggest supporters of "equality" the minute they get a whiff of minority empowerment.

To that end, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is accusing Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor...

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The New York Times: Let it Fall

(124) Comments | Posted May 22, 2009 | 5:18 PM

There's been much hand wringing over the decline and potential total implosion of the New York Times. But, really, is there any news organization that would benefit more from being wrested from its family control and given new ownership than the Times?

The so-called "paper of record" has been, since...

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The Upside of the Minority Population Growth

(114) Comments | Posted May 15, 2009 | 7:42 PM

Here's what we know about minorities in America: their names are too hard to pronounce, they're responsible for bringing in the Swine flu -- as devastating as that was -- and they single-handedly caused the financial meltdown.

But here's the upside to minority population growth: America is the...

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Quick, Which Ethnic Group Is More Patriotic Than the Average?

(125) Comments | Posted May 8, 2009 | 4:33 PM

Every Black History Month there's always one contrarian (at least one) who pipes up with some snidism such as: "Why do blacks get a month? Why don't we just give everybody a month?" If by "everybody" the cynics mean people of ethnicities whose heritage is not otherwise sufficiently taught in...

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Where's the (Fake) Conservative Outrage on This Threat Assessment?

(122) Comments | Posted May 1, 2009 | 8:01 PM

When the Department of Homeland Security issued an intelligence assessment characterizing returning military vets as potential domestic terrorists, conservatives went ape...crap. Rep. John Boehner said the report was offensive and demanded that the DHS apologize to veterans. Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis said the DHS was "engaging in political and...

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Tragically, Transgender Identifiers Have a New Martyr

(239) Comments | Posted April 24, 2009 | 8:06 PM

The Civil Rights Movement in America has, unfortunately, never been short of martyrs.

Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Dr. King, Vincent Jen Chin, Matthew Shepard... Just a sampling of those who, in dying, helped push America toward greater social acceptance of "others."

Add to the list 18 year old Angie...

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The Conservatives' Dangerous Game of Hate and Consequences

(693) Comments | Posted April 17, 2009 | 9:11 PM

Empty of better ideas -- of any ideas -- of how to remain relevant, the reactionary wing of the conservative movement has chosen to quit faking respectability and get back to doing what they do best: cranking up the hate to eleven.

This is the week we have lived:

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The Racial Mis-education of America's Youth

(597) Comments | Posted April 3, 2009 | 7:18 PM

A new study by the Pew Hispanic Center finds that enrollment in suburban schools by minority students has seen explosive growth.

The study authored by Richard Fry reports that "the student population of America's suburban public schools has shot up by 3.4 million in the past decade." Ninety-nine percent...

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The Practical Math of "Too Much" Telepromptering

(195) Comments | Posted March 27, 2009 | 5:34 PM

The meme going around like a bad cold is that President Obama relies "too much" on teleprompters. A line so oft repeated it's officially reached the point of late-nite pop culture status.

What makes this kind of nontroversial attack slick is that, different from easily proved instances of excessive...

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President Obama's Success Masks Economic Tragedies for Black Men

(1052) Comments | Posted March 20, 2009 | 7:58 PM

With all the focus directed toward President Obama's Tonight Show appearance, and also with the likes of Eric Holder, Michael Steele and Richard Parsons making headlines, their positions of prominence tend to mask a harsh reality of this severe economic downturn: it's black men who've been the most beaten down...

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