Today, we live in an America that has yet to live up to the constitutional rights granted to all of her citizens. What feels like a spate of young black men's deaths at the hands of police is only a relatively small -- and recent -- example of this. The fight for racial equality in this country continues. Teachers -- as they always have -- stand on the front lines.
In the past two years, some of our nation's most influential movies and television shows have dealt with racism and bias. This has all been accompanied by a drumbeat crescendo of news and analysis that goes beyond specific incidents to examine the roots of these issues and the trends that reinforce them.
Gender, like race, also always matters, regardless of political philosophy. Yes, even when the women at the decision-making tables aren't advocates for women's equal rights or opportunity, or for more civil political behavior, today's limiting rationales for the benefits of women's political participation.
What a terrible irony that in this year of celebration of the Selma marches we are witnessing the resurgence of overt law enforcement brutality and injustice in Ferguson, Cleveland, New York City, and elsewhere, reminding us how far we still have to go. The continuing protests against unequal justice under the law by those enjoined to protect all of us and all of our children after the deaths of teenager Michael Brown, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, and others are a wake-up call about the deeply embedded systemic racism still alive in America. Each of us has a responsibility to root it out and stop it in its tracks.
The last time I wrote about this issue, about the deportation of adopted people who were born in other countries after committing crimes in the U.S., was over two years ago. I said then, and I repeat in light of this new case today, that criminals should absolutely be punished -- but sending them to a place where they know no one and don't speak the native language is simply appalling.
I wrote a book about Obama's conception of American identity, as well as his depiction of our country's values and history. Although in my research I came across countless examples of him talking about America, I've never heard him do so in as profound a way as he did in Selma this Saturday. The president subtly rejected the Giuliani approach.