weekend, ESPN fired an editor who posted
a racially offensive
headline about NBA player Jeremy Lin; the
network also suspended an anchor who used the same term. And taking the Lin
coverage as a starting point, SNL produced a parody mocking a media double standard: stereotypes about Asian
Americans are acceptable, but stereotypes about African Americans are
Lin media storm exposes the myth of a colorblind society. As much as we want to
believe in meritocracy, equality and individuality, we rely on racial
assumptions to make sense of the world and those around us. In many cases, the
assumptions carry real consequences.
About 15 years
ago I was a guest at the annual meeting of theAssociation of Christians Teaching Sociology. In one session a professor reported on a
student's project. Taking the Century as a barometer of mainline Protestantism and Christianity Today as a barometer of evangelicalism, his student
compared the respective responses to the civil rights movement. The student
found that the Century was very hospitable toward the movement and that CT was critical of
it. (Full disclosure: At the time of this ACTS meeting, I was working for
Since ACTS is comprised
largely of evangelical scholars, there was some hanging of heads in the room.
Evangelicals, they agreed, had been on the wrong side of history, not to speak
of the wrong side of justice.
Jay Stooksberry argues that the way to reduce gun-related homicides in the United States is to halt the war on drugs. Nearly half of homicides involving guns today are drug-related. He notes that during the Prohibition era, gun deaths increased, as did alcoholism, which Prohibition was meant to prevent. Gangs then controlled the black market, just as they control the distribution and sale of illegal drugs today. Prohibition was a failure, and for similar reasons the war on drugs hasn’t worked—but it has led to the killing of innocents in gang warfare and the militarization of law enforcement, at the cost of a trillion dollars spent over the past four decades (Newsweek, August 16).