Reading Round Up, September 30, 2016

I’m personally dedicating my no-Trump vote to Martha Cook, the mother of an Arkansas State University alum, who was burned to death this spring by her violent ex-boyfriend.

At Everyday Feminism, women  recognize Trump for the abuser he is, noting that he employs tactics “straight out of the handbook of toxic masculinity.” Hillary Clinton can shimmy, but Trump’s degrading, threatening words are hurting women.  

I’m less concerned about a Trump presidency (I think even some of the high profile Republicans who say that they are supporting him are going to pull the HRC lever in November because they’d rather the nation suffer under Clinton than implode under Trump, and they would rather the Republican party be out of office for at least 4 more years than to fall into the hands of Trump supporters) than I am about the years it’s going to take to undo the climate of hate that he has encouraged. To that end, left leaning folks in states where it’s going to matter should probably “Vote for the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger” in order to send the message to hatemongers that they have no future in politics.

That message needs to be heard by folks like Gabriel James Wilson, a 19 year old from Salina, Kansas, who is promoting white nationalism in the Sunflower State. Wilson has been attacking Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, for its efforts to be more racially inclusive. This included attacks on the president of the college, a white man with a multiracial family.

Or Chuck Wasko, the mayor of West York, Pennsylvania, who has shared terrible racist and threatening comments about President Obama on his Facebook page. Good for members of the city council for moving against him.  York has a history of racism, including recent (and also older) significant Klan activity and, in the 1960s, race riots. (And, yes, I’m from the Red Rose City, so I feel especially obligated to point out what the racism of the White Rose City. I’m not saying that York is objectively a more hateful place than Lancaster.)

Don’t understand the link between Trump and the right’s racism? Check out In These Times’ A Brief History of the Right’s Racist Hate: 1885 to Trump.”

I find Hillary Clinton likeable (not that I think likeability matters in national politics), but I loved her on Between Two Ferns.  And I mean I really felt a lot of warmth and affection for her.

FiveThirtyEight talks to the always-smart R. Marie Griffiths about evangelical support for Trump, a phenomena that continues to puzzle evangelical author Philip Yancey, who apparently had to explain to readers that not wanting to vote Trump doesn’t mean he endorses Clinton.

Goshen, Indiana, has opened its first LGBT health clinic.

Some Mennonites embarrass themselves as the New York Times explains how “Torn Over Donald Trump and Cut Off by Culture Wars, Evangelicals Despair.”

Then some of them redeem themselves, again in The New York Times, in a piece about how very easy it can be, even for those of us with a narrow set of experiences, to choose loving each other. I hope the Odgaards read it and “[open their] hearts just a bit wider.”

GQ teaches us how to love our children better in My Son, The Prince of Fashion.

Prejudice toward black men starts young—in preschool, according to researchers at Yale’s Child Study Center. The answer to “Do Early Educators’ Implicit Biases Regarding Sex and Race Relate to Behavior Expectations and Recommendations of Preschool Expulsion and Suspensions?” is yes. Parents of black children already likely know this through experience. Parents of white kids, what are you doing about it?

And higher education isn’t all that much nicer to its black professors. In the Washington Post, UPenn’s Marybeth Gasman answers the question of why there aren’t more people of color in academia bluntly: ““The reason we don’t have more faculty of color among college faculty is that we don’t want them. We simply don’t want them.” It’s a disappointing reality but also a reminder that we can do it differently if we want to. White faculty, what are we doing to change our culture?

Dr. Randal Jelks engages the question “Is the Conversation on Race Working?” on KCUR’s Central Standard. It’s just 19 minutes in length, so listen up!

President Obama defends the right of people to protest the US national anthem (cool, because, you know, that’s the Constitution and our president is a Constitutional lawyer) but then makes the comparison between the pain that families of fallen members of the military feel when they see athletes take a knee and the pain those athletes are expressing over police brutality. I’m not quite sure how that comparison works since, first, soldiers and their families are taking on that risk when they join the military (which doesn’t lessen the loss but does provide a frame for grief) and people who are shot because they are driving, walking, asking for help, or reading while black don’t voluntarily take on that risk. And, uh, second—war and police shootings are both violence enacted by the state. So maybe President Obama should be thinking about the pain that the state causes in war and policing.

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is determined to go down in history as one of the most famous bigots of Alabama, which is saying a lot. He was just suspended from the bench of instructing probate judges to ignore federal orders about gay marriage.

I wish we lived in a world where breastfeeding was better supported, not by guilting mothers but by a totally different relationship between parents and work. A new study led by Harvard Medical School’s Melissa C. Bartick examines the health outcomes for those who breastfeed in Maternal & Child Nutrition, calculating that “for every 597 women who optimally breastfeed, one maternal or child death is prevented” and noting that most (nearly 80%) of the excess deaths and costs of suboptimal breastfeeding fall on mothers.

In honor of Banned Books Week, the LA Times reports that you can get Hitler’s Mein Kampf and David Duke’s racial awakening memoir out of prison libraries in Texas but not works by Langston Hughes, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sojourner Truth, or Richard Wright. Or an astonishing other 15,000 books that are off limits to prisoners.

Banned Books Week Reading Wish List, taking me back to some American lit classes, I loved, especially those taught by Dr. Mark Hochberg at Juniata College and Dr. Beth Schultz and Dr. Susan Harris at KU: Moby-DickLeaves of GrassCatch-22In Cold BloodTheir Eyes Were Watching God, and To Kill a Mockingbird. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: