Tuesday Reading List: Terence Crutcher and Contemporary Protest

Before I start today's Reading List, I have to talk about Terence Crutcher with you. I don't know what to say anymore:

The Police Department in Tulsa, Okla., released video on Monday of an encounter during which, the authorities said, a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man who could be seen raising his hands above his head ... Video recorded by a police helicopter and a patrol car’s dashboard camera shows Mr. Crutcher raising his hands, walking toward a car and leaning against it. He was then Tasered by one officer, Tyler Turnbough, and fatally shot by Officer Shelby, the department said, though the view from both cameras is obstructed in the moments before those actions. Tulsa’s police chief, Chuck Jordan, said at a news conference Monday that Mr. Crutcher was unarmed and did not have a weapon in his vehicle.

You can read more coverage from Shaun King at The New York Daily News, Monique Judge at The Root, and Danielle Rene at Blavity. Please help me, readers, because I am seeking answers here. If you have White friends who are not enraged by this, what are they missing? If you are frustrated, but not angry, what's your personal barrier to seeing Terence Crutcher as a neighbor, a family member, or a friend? If you have answers or thoughts for me, please leave them in the comments. I'm going to do a regular daily "Reading List" below the line, but I had to get this off my chest first.

John Kell has a striking first-person account about AirBnB in Fortune. The online lodging site almost ruined a friendship:

Until I started preparing and writing this story for Fortune, I wasn’t aware of how much I’d upset Malika by using Airbnb when she was having such problems. I am disappointed in myself for how I handled the whole situation. I never tried to put myself in her shoes, and I just didn’t understand what she was feeling. “I was upset with you for going and using your white privilege and never having to experience a second of pain or doubt,” she told me.

I've covered AirBnB's issues with race before, and this piece validates what many users of the site have said about the discriminatory practices of some "hosts." What's interesting about Kell's piece is that he is drawing upon his personal relationship to understand both racial dynamics, and his own privilege as a White user of the site. A White guy writing in Fortune about race and privilege is bound to ruffle some feathers, but it might also reach some people who haven't considered these issues yet. I continue to believe that one of the most useful ways to deploy privilege, if one is White, is to talk about race with other White people, who I am going to assume constitute at least a plurality of Fortune's readership.

Jonathan Chait, writing in New York Magazine, covers the Massachusetts charter school kerfuffle, which will be familiar to regular readers of this blog:

[Sarah Cohodes and Susan Dynarski of The Brookings Institution] find that the improvement produced by [Massachusetts charter schools] is “largest for students who enter charters with the lowest scores,” “urban charters are particularly effective for low-income and non-white students,” and “score gains for special education students and English learners are just as large" ... A single year of charter-schooling in Massachusetts can wipe out a third of the racial achievement gap, an incredible success. Because urban charters are the ones that outperform traditional neighborhood schools so dramatically, the demand to attend them is naturally high, which is why tens of thousands of urban students are on waiting lists for a chance to transform their prospects for upward advancement.

Chait goes on to describe the internecine struggle among progressives over this issue, a topic that I have discussed at length in other posts. The principal of the Alma del Mar school in southern Massachusetts made similar points in an op-ed this week. I will be interviewing Susan Dynarski, one of the authors of the paper Chait references, for the blog this Thursday!



Further down the Eastern seaboard, Quibila Divine, writing at Yo Philly!, looks at the "War on Poverty" through the lens of parenting:

Most parents and family members, regardless of their background, want the best for their children.  Today, our schools have children from families that are more diverse, in culture and experiences, than ever before. Inclusion laws have mandated that students with special educational needs go into the regular classroom and get the same access to free public education.  All families (particularly low income families) need to have meaningful and positive relationships with schools in order for productive school, family, and community partnerships to develop. Since family engagement is a non-academic factor in a child’s educational experience, many teachers and administrators do not see the value of effective family and community partnerships in low-income communities. We need a culture change that mandates each school staff models the kind of behavior they want to receive as customers, since families and communities are the schools’ “customers.”

Schools exist to serve families and communities. Sometimes, however, the power dynamic between schools and vulnerable families prevents authentic relationships from emerging. Divine is right to try to invert that dynamic.

Finally, Andre Perry, writing at The Hechinger Report, wants to make sure we have an adequate definition of patriotism in this country. Many high school football players have followed Colin Kaepernick's lead by engaging in silent protest during "The Star Spangled Banner," which has caused racist backlash in some cases. Perry has some words for the critics:

Those who criticize high school players’ modest gestures of protest fail to recognize that second-class citizenry degrades real patriotism. When life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can be taken away because you’re not considered an authentic member of America, the ritual of pledges are purely symbolic. A reasonable amount of justice is required for authentic patriotism. Protesters are simply demanding America to do its part. Most often, detractors wield patriotism to delay or deny the just allocation of unalienable rights and other political goods that black people are owed. Now, flag waving decriers are facing their worst nightmare: Disaffected young people are demanding receipts for revering the flag.

Young people, particularly young Black people, have legitimate concerns with the ways in which they are treated by the state. While we revere the silent protests of the past, we tend to criticize those same tactics in the present.