It was many years ago, when I worked in a large city and I often had to walk several blocks from one large office complex to another during the course of the average work day. One afternoon I was trudging between buildings, head bent, lost in thought; I passed the entrance to a small, dark alleyway just as a new Porsche roared up from the gloom. The car fishtailed to a stop a few inches from my kneecaps, and I froze, immobile with fear. The driver was a budding Master of the Universe—thirtyish, well dressed, obviously used to money, privilege, and a certain quantum of power.
black lives matter
Now that a few days have passed, the decision by National Football League owners to fine teams with players who do not “stand and show respect to the flag and the [national] anthem” hardly seems Solomonic; rather than ameliorating tensions, it almost assures another football season marked by player protests, discord both inside and outside the League, and acrid tweets from President Donald Trump.
Posted on May 29, 2018 - 5:04pm
In the Winter of 1979, the residents of Barrington Hall built a stage on the ground floor of their home, opposite the entrance to the dining room. With only about eight feet between the linoleum floor and the concrete ceiling, the stage couldn’t be taller than seven or eight inches. But it was tall enough—upon it, the legendary Berkeley cooperative hosted legions of punk rock and funk metal bands, both famous and forgotten. Everybody played there over the years, from Black Flag to Primus.
Stephen Shames arrived at our interview with a faded California Golden Bears cap in hand and a black power pin on his lapel. Apt accessories for the 1969 UC Berkeley grad who spent the years between 1967 and 1969 as the Black Panther Party’s most trusted photographer.
Posted on November 2, 2016 - 10:26am
Recent demonstrations at Sather Gate by LGBTQIA+ students and students of color were covered with gleeful alacrity by the national press—largely because white students were seemingly prevented by the demonstrators from entering the campus. Right-leaning (and alt right) outlets denounced the actions with particular fervor, claiming they were neo-segregationist in intent and distressingly uncivil in tone. Some commentators lamented that the acronym for people who are other than heterosexual is becoming absurdly long, leading to confusion and muddled communication.
Posted on November 1, 2016 - 11:55am
Richard Nixon had always been more of a rat-catcher than a heartthrob. All jowls and forehead, and sporting that rictus of a smile, he was a perennial runner-up. Willy Loman by way of Yorba Linda.
Protesters gathered near the gates of Sproul Plaza on the Cal campus, carrying signs and chanting a phrase reverberating around the country: “Black lives matter.” The crowd swelled as it headed away from campus to downtown, where, by 6:30, demonstrators lay down and blocked the street.
“Screw the system” was a prevailing theme of Friday’s talks at Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas. Several speakers indicted the status quo for inflicting criminal, economic and political injustice, and called for the dismantling and then reconstruction of those systems to create a fairer society.
Posted on October 16, 2015 - 7:02pm
Stephen Colbert’s assertion notwithstanding, none of us is color blind. Not even the blind, it turns out. That’s according to the work of Osagie Obasogie, law professor at UC Hastings who earned his doctorate in sociology from UC Berkeley. In 2005, he began interviewing more than a hundred people who had been blind since birth, asking how they understood race. Were they conscious of it? Did it shape how they interacted with people? Could blind people, in fact, be racist?