Although it is anachronistic to put it this way, the subtext of this reappraisal of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator is the question, “Do black lives matter?” That question put to Lincoln doesn’t yield a simple question.
The new year was rung in with the surprising news of a small militia occupying a federal building in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, deep in rural Oregon. Armed protestors, calling themselves Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, have called on the U.S. government to reverse policies dealing with public lands that they consider unconstitutional.
The group’s leader, Ammon Bundy, a confessing Mormon, said they would remain there until they “restore the land and resources to the people so people across the country can begin thriving again.”
White privilege is knowing that when you are shopping alone you won’t be followed or harassed, says columnist Christine Emba. It means that when you buy a house in a nice neighborhood, you can expect your neighbors to be nice or neutral, not hostile toward you. “It’s the level of societal advantage that comes with being seen as the norm in America, automatically conferred irrespective of wealth, gender, or other factors,” says Emba. “It makes life smoother, but it’s something you would barely notice unless it were suddenly taken away—or unless it had never applied to you in the first place” (Washington Post, January 16).