From Humanities, historians disagree about everything, or so it seems — including what to remember, what to teach, and much else. What makes someone a “real” American? 93% of Americans actually agree on this. Whose idea of America — Rauschenberg, Whitman, or Trump? Vaughn A. Booker on the false god of nationalism. Lynn Vavreck on the great political divide over American identity. America’s case of mistaken identity: Building a national identity may require offering special accommodations to diverse groups, including those we don’t agree with. To many Americans, being patriotic means being white. Diverse United States divided on symbols of patriotism. Your patriotism isn’t love, it’s blindness.


Carlo Ginzburg (UCLA): Civilization and Barbarism. Jeff Sessions is a hypocrite on states’ rights — but so is everyone else. Less news is good news: Facebook is stepping back from the news business — thank goodness (and more). The Great Awokening: What happens to culture in an era of identity politics? Hawaii false alarm hints at thin line between mishap and nuclear war. MLK now: Fifty years after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., canonization has prevented a reckoning with the substance of King’s intellectual, ethical, and political commitments. What’s bad news for coastlines can be good news for surfers. NSA’s top talent is leaving because of low pay, slumping morale and unpopular reorganization.


From the New Yorker, Jelani Cobb on tracing the racist roots of Donald Trump’s obscenities; and Doreen St. Felix on Trump’s fixation on Haiti, and the abiding fear of black self-determination. This is how ignorant you have to be to call Haiti a “shithole”. Trump’s profane description disregards Africa’s crucial role in making America a world power. John Jackson on Trump’s shithole logic. How Donald Trump put an end to the GOP’s Southern strategy: Trading the dog-whistle for the bullhorn. The heartbeat of racism is denial: What President Trump has in common with his supporters — and his opponents. Trump’s “shithole” comment confirms that we have a racist in the Oval Office.

“Shithole countries” is all about political correctness: Trump isn’t so much appealing to racism as he is telling people you’re not a racist. Trump’s “shithole country” remarks are right-wing political correctness run amok. Don’t let Trump’s vulgarity distract from his bigotry: From the Access Hollywood tape to the “shithole countries” comment, the problem isn’t the words, it’s the ideas. Trump’s racism is more than rhetoric — it forms policy and ruins lives. The problem isn’t just that Trump’s a racist — it’s that he keeps acting on his racism. Trump governs by prejudice, and not just the usual kind of prejudices. Trump puts the purpose of his presidency into words: The president’s remarks reflect a moral principle that has guided policy while in office, a principle obvious to all but that some refuse to articulate.

Trump epitomizes the personal failures he tries to pin on black folks: His racist attacks give us insight into his own shortcomings. The Potemkin shithole: Trump’s private, extemporaneous racist outbursts happen all the time, and most are being hidden from you. How Republicans normalized Donald Trump’s racism: Trump’s “shithole” moment was years in the making. Have they no sense of decency? In the “shithole era”, the Republican U.S. senators who object to the president’s vulgarity have a choice to make. Masha Gessen on how Donald Trump degrades us all.

How much more of Trump’s insanity are we willing to take? No one is coming to save us from Trump’s racism. There’s no way out: Trump’s presidency may be a dysfunctional disaster, but there’s no apparent way to end it. Paul Campos on tomorrow’s news today.

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