Steep Rise In Interracial Marriages Among Newlyweds 50 Years After They Became Legal : NPR

Integration:

Close to 50 years after interracial marriages became legal across the U.S., the share of newlyweds married to a spouse of a different race or ethnicity has increased more than five times — from 3 percent in 1967, to 17 percent in 2015, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

Chart: Intermarriage among newlyweds has risen from 3% to 17% since 1967

The Pew report comes about a month before the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia. Mildred Loving, a part-Native American, part-black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, landed in a Virginia county jail for getting married. Today, one in six newlyweds marry someone outside their race, which appears to allude to a more accepting society.

Among adults who are not black, there’s a shrinking share of those who say they would be opposed to having a close relative marrying someone who is black — from 63 percent in 1990, to 14 percent in 2016. The share of people who oppose marriages with Asian or Hispanic people has also dropped from about one in five to around one in ten adults not in those groups. Among those who are not white, the share opposed to a relative marrying a white person has dropped from 7 percent to 4 percent.

Here are some of the other interesting findings from Pew about interracial and interethnic marriages:

Asian and Latino newlyweds are more likely to marry outside of their race or ethnicity than black and white newlyweds

More than a quarter of Asian newlyweds (29 percent) and Latino newlyweds (27 percent) are married to a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. Those rates go up even higher for those born in the U.S. — to 46 percent for Asian newlyweds and 39 percent for Hispanic newlyweds.

Interracial and interethnic marriages are more common among college-educated black and Latino newlyweds, but not among white or Asian newlyweds

While educational level is not a major factor for white newlyweds, black and Latino newlyweds with at least a bachelor’s degree are more likely to have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity than those with some college experience or less education. That educational gap is starkest among Latino newlyweds. As the authors of the Pew report, Gretchen Livingston and Anna Brown, write: “While almost half (46 percent) of Hispanic newlyweds with a bachelor’s degree were intermarried in 2015, this share drops to (16 percent) for those with a high school diploma or less – a pattern driven partially, but not entirely, by the higher share of immigrants among the less educated.”

But among Asian newlyweds, those with some college experience (39 percent) are more likely to marry someone of a different race or ethnicity than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (29 percent) or with a high school diploma or less (26 percent). “Asian newlyweds with some college are somewhat less likely to be immigrants, and this may contribute to the higher rates of intermarriage for this group,” the Pew report suggests. But it also notes that this trend also holds true for Asian newlyweds who were not born in the U.S.

Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to say that the increase of interracial marriages is good for society

There is a stark political split in how people feel about interracial marriage. About half (49 percent) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say that growing numbers of people marrying others of different races is good for society, compared to more than a quarter (28 percent) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Most Republicans (60 percent) say the rise of interracial marriages doesn’t make much of a difference.

America’s immigration policies are hurting startups, Stripe CEO Patrick Collison says – Recode

Worth noting and reflecting on how best Canada can benefit:

How America welcomes — or doesn’t — outsiders who want to work for American companies is “an even bigger deal than we think,” Stripe CEO Patrick Collison says.

Speaking on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, he declaimed against the “needless barriers in the way” of the U.S. remaining a destination for immigrants. Collison and his brother/co-founder John were born in Ireland, but founded Stripe, an online payments platform now valued at more than $9 billion, while they were students at MIT and Harvard, respectively.

“The insane, crazy benefit — the tailwind that the U.S. has, for decades and decades, gained from — is the fact that we are the preeminent destination for high-potential people all around the world,” Collison said. “It’s at multiple stages in their careers: The universities are the best in the world, so people want to study here and come here for that, and then the companies are among the most innovative companies in the world, and they want to hire the best people in the world.”

“Broadly speaking, the U.S. has not quite done its best to undermine that, but all but,” he added. “To the extent that universities can help students come here, or that companies can enable the best and brightest to move here, it is ‘despite’ rather than ‘because of’ U.S. immigration policy.”

Source: America’s immigration policies are hurting startups, Stripe CEO Patrick Collison says – Recode

Don’t be like us, America: resist Trump’s war on the census

Good article by Anne Kingston:

It is never a good day for democracy when the head of the national census bureau quits. Canadians learned that in 2010 when Statistics Canada’s chief statistician, Munir Sheikh, resigned after then-industry minister, Tony Clement, falsely stated that the decision to axe the long-form census came from within StatsCan. Sheikh later said continuing budget cuts undermined the agency’s credibility.

For Americans, that day arrived this week, when U.S. Census Bureau director John H. Thompson, who’d held the job since 2013 and was expected to stay through 2017, suddenly resigned.  The back story remains a mystery. We do know the bureau, ramping up for the 2020 census was cash-strapped and under increasing political pressure. Months ago, insiders predicted a “train wreck” if the bureau didn’t get the resources it needed. Less than a week ago, Thompson stood before a combative congressional committee to request an extra $309 million for IT equipment.

Thompson’s exit, eclipsed by news of FBI director James Comey’s firing the same day, didn’t get the coverage it warranted. Yet his departure signals as potentially as big a blow to democracy.

Since taking office, the Trump administration has shredded data and threatened scientific research with a discipline absent from the general chaos that characterizes the regime. The past is being systemically deleted:  open data sets have been removedArctic climate research erased. Through it all, the president has engaged in 1984double-speak: “Rigorous science is critical to my administration’s efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection,” he said on Earth Day.

This all will be déjà vu all over again for Canadians—a warp-speed version of the data erasure witnessed during the decade-long Conservative government lead by Stephen Harper. Government funding of scientific research shrank, libraries were closed, irreplaceable research tossed, government scientists silenced, the long-form census was eliminated and key statistical studies were stopped. (Lest Canadians feel smug now, problems are ongoing even after regime change: in September 2016, Chief Statistician Wayne Smith stepped down, frustrated that Shared Services Canada held effective veto over many of the agency’s operations.)

Like Canadian scientists before them, American researchers raced to save data before the government permanently removed it. U.S. scientists have taken to the streets in protest, as Canadian scientists and citizens did before them. In tiny ways, the backlash has been successful: in January, the Trump administration dialled back its plan to delete climate-change pages on the EPA website, at least for now.

Trump’s proposed budget announced in March, however, called for brutal dismantling of scientific research (a full budget due this month still has to pass through Congress). Cuts of $7 billion in funding are destined to impede research on climate change, energy and health (it included an 18 per cent cut to the National Institutes of Health). The census bureau was one of the only federal agencies outside the Pentagon to get an increase. The $100-million bump only honoured previous commitments, however. The bureau called it insufficient, asking for a  21 percent, or $290 million, increase in 2017.

That’s small change, relatively. A properly executed census is a keystone of democracy, the largest civic action a government undertakes. Data collected provides snapshot of a nation—counting its people, their ages, where they work and live, how much money they earn, whether they live alone or with family, their marital status. It provides a baseline to measure progress or decline, particularly among the most marginalized.  The  information is necessary for governments—helping them to to make informed, fiscally-prudent decisions about where to allocate resources for schools, law enforcement, transportation, housing, social service agencies, even political campaigns. It reveals where to build roads and bridges—the “infrastructure” that was such a beloved cornerstone of Trump’s presidential campaign.

Major fault lines in the U.S. census, undertaken every 10 years, were evident in January. The U.S. Government Accountability Office put it on the “high-risk” list. That month, a leaked draft executive order revealed the government proposed the Census Bureau include a question on immigration status on the “long-form” census, or American Community Survey (ACS). The spectre of the White House using the information gleaned from the ACS and census to track down and deport undocumented immigrants triggered concerns that immigrants would be discouraged from participating.

March brought news that the government wanted to remove the first-ever question concerning sexual orientation and gender identity;  the LGBTQ community responded with accusations the government wanted  to “erase” them.   The fact the 2020 census will be the first conducted online has only ramped up cybersecurity concern amidst #Russiagate—and the need to reassure Americans that their private information will not be hacked.

If you want to thrust a nation into an autocracy, eliminating the data collection that allows it to see itself is a first step. For anyone else, including the business class of which the president remains an active member, it’s a disaster. Business depends on the census to determine where markets exist; where to step up operations and direct marketing. Business also depends on government-funded, pure-science research to stoke innovation.

“Our goal is a complete and accurate census,” Thompson said in March, when he was still director of the census bureau. Now he’s gone. Trump has the power to replace him. Given the explosive developments of the past week, many might see it as a low priority. It’s not. If you don’t measure a nation, its people no longer exist.

Source: Don’t be like us, America: resist Trump’s war on the census – Macleans.ca

The Collapse of American Identity – The New York Times

Good summary of the increased divide in America and the ongoing political implications:

But recent survey data provides troubling evidence that a shared sense of national identity is unraveling, with two mutually exclusive narratives emerging along party lines. At the heart of this divide are opposing reactions to changing demographics and culture. The shock waves from these transformations — harnessed effectively by Donald Trump’s campaign — are reorienting the political parties from the more familiar liberal-versus-conservative alignment to new poles of cultural pluralism and monism.

An Associated Press-NORC poll found nearly mirror-opposite partisan reactions to the question of what kind of culture is important for American identity. Sixty-six percent of Democrats, compared with only 35 percent of Republicans, said the mixing of cultures and values from around the world was extremely or very important to American identity. Similarly, 64 percent of Republicans, compared with 32 percent of Democrats, saw a culture grounded in Christian religious beliefs as extremely or very important.

These divergent orientations can also be seen in a recent poll by P.R.R.I. that explored partisan perceptions of which groups are facing discrimination in the country. Like Americans overall, large majorities of Democrats believe minority groups such as African-Americans, immigrants, Muslims and gay and transgender people face a lot of discrimination in the country. Only about one in five Democrats say that majority groups such as Christians or whites face a lot of discrimination.

Republicans, on the other hand, are much less likely than Democrats to believe any minority group faces a lot of discrimination, and they believe Christians and whites face roughly as much discrimination as immigrants, Muslims and gay and transgender people. Moreover, only 27 percent of Republicans say blacks experience a lot of discrimination, while 43 percent say whites do and 48 percent say the same of Christians.

Taken as a whole, these partisan portraits highlight contrasting responses to the country’s changing demographics and culture, especially over the past decade as the country has ceased to be a majority white Christian nation — from 54 percent in 2008 to 43 percent today. Democrats — only 29 percent of whom are white and Christian — are embracing these changes as central to their vision of an evolving American identity that is strengthened and renewed by diversity. By contrast, Republicans — nearly three-quarters of whom identify as white and Christian — see these changes eroding a core white Christian American identity and perceive themselves to be under siege as the country changes around them.

These responses are shifting the political magnetic field that defines the parties. Republican leaders are finding strong support among their base for the Trump administration’s executive order barring travel to the United States from particular Muslim-majority countries. But their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was dramatically derailed by factions within their own party.

Democrats, on the other hand, are enjoying energetic backing from their base for pro-immigration and pro-L.G.B.T. stances, but they are experiencing increasing opposition to their support for free trade.

There have been other times in our history when the fabric of American identity was stretched in similar ways — the Civil War, heightened levels of immigration at the turn of the 20th century and the cultural upheavals of the 1960s.

But during these eras, white Christians were still secure as a demographic and cultural majority in the nation. The question at stake was whether they were going to make room for new groups at a table they still owned. Typically, a group would gain its seat in exchange for assimilation to the majority culture. But as white Christians have slipped from the majority over the past decade, this familiar strategy is no longer viable.

White Christians are today struggling to face a new reality: the inevitable surrender of table ownership in exchange for an equal seat. And it’s this new higher-stakes challenge that is fueling the great partisan reorientation we are witnessing today.

The temptation for the Republican Party, especially with Donald Trump in the White House, is to double down on a form of white Christian nationalism, which treats racial and religious identity as tribal markers and defends a shrinking demographic with increasingly autocratic assertions of power.

For its part, the Democratic Party is contending with the difficulties of organizing its more diverse coalition while facing its own tribal temptations to embrace an identity politics that has room to celebrate every group except whites who strongly identify as Christian. If this realignment continues, left out of this opposition will be a significant number of whites who are both wary of white Christian nationalism and weary of feeling discounted in the context of identity politics.

This end is not inevitable, but if we are to continue to make one out of many, leaders of both parties will have to step back from the reactivity of the present and take up the more arduous task of weaving a new national narrative in which all Americans can see themselves.

Walking In Their Footsteps At A Former Japanese Internment Camp : NPR

Good long read about one family’s visit to a former internment camp:

The military-style camps were intentionally located in remote areas. Manzanar is about four hours north of Los Angeles by car and 3,800 to 4,200 feet above sea level. It is on U.S. Route 395, east of the Sierra Nevada and west of Death Valley. The nearest populated area is a tiny village six miles north named Independence. Before the trip, I debated whether I should go. The drive from Northern California is long, and my car is old. But I decided that I wanted to see Manzanar with my own eyes, so that my understanding of history might feel deeper through the experience of place.

Two reconstructed buildings stand in the former Manzanar War Relocation Center. Once, 10,046 people were imprisoned here.

Melissa Hung for NPR

What we saw was a flat desert with vegetation scrappy and close to the ground, stubborn trees here and there, tumbleweed bounding across the landscape, propelled by the wind. In the distance, Mount Williamson, majestic and snow-covered, looked like a painting.

“I hadn’t pictured it this beautiful,” I said.

“I imagine it must have felt ironic for the people living here,” Erin replied.

Manzanar opened on March 21, 1942, so the weather would have been similar to what we were experiencing on this sunny April day. I was wearing a sweatshirt and a vest. But here spring gives way to summers of up to 110 degrees and winters below freezing. In all seasons, the wind covers surfaces with sand and dust. Like the force of history, it is a constant that cannot be ignored.

Our guide for the day was park ranger Mark Hachtmann. He dressed the way I imagined a park ranger would: a uniform of green pants, a matching green jacket with a U.S. National Park Service patch on the arm, and a brimmed hat. He led us through the few buildings in Block 14, which now serve as exhibits. After the war, most of the buildings at Manzanar were dismantled. After Manzanar became a historic site in 1992, buildings were recreated according to historical photographs. The two barracks in Block 14 were built in 2010.

From what had been rebuilt, we were to imagine the entirety of the camp. There were 36 blocks in all for Japanese Americans. Each block contained 20 buildings: 14 barracks, a mess hall, a recreation hall, a laundry facility, an ironing room, a women’s latrine, and a men’s latrine. Between 250 and 400 people lived in each block, the blocks separated by open areas to prevent fires from spreading, a real threat in this land of wind. The whole camp was just under one square mile.

The residents were resigned to being in the camp ¾ Shikata ga nai(nothing can be done) ¾ and tried to make life a little more normal and comfortable. They created sports teams, published a newspaper, and started a co-op store. I was impressed by their self-organizing and resilience, but also felt a lingering sadness, especially for the older adults who had built their businesses and professions in the face of discrimination, only to have almost everything taken away. Did they ever recover? As we walked from building to building, the boys picked up sticks and dug at the dirt. I wondered how much they understood and if they would remember any of this. They played, I imagined, as kids their ages had done when the camp was full of families.

While in use, the camp included a 250-bed hospital, a fire station, an orphanage for 101 children, and baseball fields. More than 10,000 people ¾ 6,000 adults and 4,000 children ¾ had lived here in a hastily built, temporary city of concrete blocks, wood, and tarpaper. The War Relocation Authority staff ¾ the camp director, police chief, fire chief, social workers, and others who were mostly white and often referred to as the “Caucasian staff” ¾ lived in other blocks with their families, in buildings with their own bathrooms, kitchens, and lawns.

Why American Sikhs Think They Need A Publicity Campaign : NPR

Given Canada’s large Canadian Sikh population, likely more awareness, but polling shows fewer Canadians view Sikhism positively compared to other religions, save Muslims and Mormons:

Nearly 60 percent of Americans admit knowing nothing at all about Sikhs. That lack of knowledge comes at a deadly cost. In the wake of recent incidents from the 2012 Oak Creek Massacre to a shooting of a Sikh man in Washington this March, the Sikh community is taking a more vocal stand against hate.

This month, the National Sikh Campaign, an advocacy group led by former political strategists, launched a $1.3 million awareness campaign, “We are Sikhs.” Funded entirely by grass-roots donations, the campaign’s ads will air nationally on CNN and Fox News as well as on TV channels in central California — home to nearly 50 percent of the Sikh American population — and online.

Some young Sikhs like Sabrina Rangi, a medical student at Michigan State, are optimistic about the potential impact of the campaign. “I think after years of struggling to find the right words, this campaign is getting it right,” says Rangi. “This initiative embodies everything that Sikhism represents, especially its emphasis on shared values and equality. I see this practiced in the gurdwara, where all of the participants sit together on the floor, beneath our holy book, to symbolize that regardless of gender, race or social standing, we are all one.”

Founded over 500 years ago, Sikhism is a monotheistic religion centered on the teachings of 10 spiritual gurus. Guru Nanak, the founder of the faith, rejected India’s caste system and declared all human beings equal. During Guru Nanak’s time, Indian women were considered property with little social standing. Nanak denounced the sexism of the day by proclaiming women equal and encouraging them to participate in all aspects of the gurdwara, or Sikh temple.

The 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, also promoted the principle of equality. During his time, family names signified social status and caste. To break this tradition, Guru Gobind Singh gave all men the last name “Singh,” meaning lion, and women the name “Kaur,” meaning princess. Sikh turbans, the most visible symbol of the faith, are also a rejection of hierarchy of the caste system. Worn historically by South Asian royalty, the Sikh Gurus adopted the practice of wearing the turban to demonstrate a public commitment to maintaining the values and ethics of the tradition, including service, compassion and honesty.

But the turban’s symbolism is lost on most Americans. According to Ahuja, “Our turbans, which are often perceived as symbols of extremism, are actually representations of equality.” Following Sept. 11, images of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida associates wearing turbans circulated frequently in the media. Heightened national fear in combination with poor awareness of America’s Sikh community has often made Sikhs the victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes.

Valarie Kaur, a Sikh civil rights activist and lawyer, warns that violence against Sikhs is not only cases of mistaken identity. Attacks against Sikhs in the United States pre-date the Sept. 11 attacks. In 1907, a group of Sikh immigrants were driven out of town by xenophobic mobs during the height of the American nativist moment. Whether 1907 or today, according to Kaur, “it appears to matter little to perpetrators of hate crimes whether the person they are attacking is Sikh and not Muslim. They see turbans, beards and brown skin and it is enough for them to see us as foreign, suspect and potentially terrorist. It’s time to retire the term ‘mistaken identity.’ It’s a dangerous term, because it implies that there is a correct target for hate.”

Source: Why American Sikhs Think They Need A Publicity Campaign : Code Switch : NPR

Religion Could Be More Durable Than We Thought : NPR

Part of the uniqueness of America:

Here is a proposition that may seem self-evident to many people: As societies become more modern, religion loses its grip. Superstition inevitably gives way to rationality. A belief in magic is replaced by a belief in science.

Sociologists call it the “secularization thesis.” In 1822, Thomas Jefferson suggested an early version of it, predicting that Unitarianism “will, ere long, be the religion of the majority from north to south.”

Some data from modern countries support the thesis. Fifty years ago, about four of ten children in England attended Sunday school. Today, it’s only about ten percent. In the United States, just five percent of the population in 1972 reported no religious affiliation. By 2016, one out of four said they were unaffiliated.

Recent research, however, has suggested that religion is more durable than was previously thought. While church attendance has declined sharply in western Europe, secularization has been less evident in the United States. The number of Americans who list their church affiliation as “none” has certainly increased, but more than 70 percent still identify generally as Christian.

A study released this week by the Pew Research Center on the relation in the United States between religiosity and educational attainment (one component of modernization, along with technological change and others) at first glance appears to support the secularization thesis: The more education people have, the less religious they are.

“College graduates are less likely to say they believe in God with absolute certainty,” noted the lead Pew researcher, Gregory Smith. “They are less likely to say that religion is very important in their lives. They are less likely to say they pray regularly, and college graduates are more likely than others to identify themselves as atheists and agnostics.”

A closer look at the data, however, offers a more nuanced picture. While highly educated Jews tend to be less observant than less educated Jews, the relation between education and religiosity is weaker among those Americans with a strong Christian identity.

“Highly educated [Christian] adherents are just as religious, in some cases more religious, than their fellow members who have might have less education,” Smith said. Among mainline Protestants, for example, college graduates were actually found to be more likely than non-college graduates to report weekly church attendance. Regardless of their educational attainment, these Christians find meaning in their church experience.

The sharp rise in the number of Americans who report no religious affiliation may also have an explanation that is unrelated to secularization. Research by Philip Schwadel at the University of Nebraska suggests it may simply be that it was less acceptable 50 years ago to identify as religiously unaffiliated than it is today.

Schwadel and others also argue there are significant differences between the United States and Europe when it comes to the process of secularization. In Europe, organized religion has generally been associated with governments to a far greater degree than in the United States. As a result, anti-government sentiment may have been more likely in Europe to produce antagonism toward the church. Government support for religion in many western European countries may also have weakened the vitality of those church communities.

“When a state creates a relationship with a religion, religious leaders no longer have the same impetus to go out and get people excited,” said Schwadel. “They get money from the state through taxes, so they don’t have to collect money from their congregants.”

In the United States, by contrast, religious leaders have to “hustle” more, Schwadel said. “They need to get more congregants if their church is going to survive.” Perhaps as a result, Americans are more committed than Europeans to their church congregations.

The notion that religious belief and practice have evolved with modernization does remain broadly accepted. As literacy has increased and scientific knowledge has advanced, supernatural explanations for developments in the natural world have become less important. Religion has nevertheless survived, Schwadel argues, because it plays a variety of roles.

“Religion provides people with a lot more than just explanations for the natural world,” Schwadel said. “It provides community. It provides them with friends. It provides them with psychological support and economic support. It provides a lot more than simply an understanding of where they are in the world in relation to the afterlife.”

A 2016 Pew study found that more Americans reported growing feelings of “spirituality” even while saying they were less attached to organized religion. To the extent that churches respond to that need, they will presumably have better prospects for survival.

The question facing religious leaders and sociologists of religion is whether modernization will eventually lead to secularization in the United States and other countries, just as it has in western Europe. Some argue that a diminished emphasis on traditional doctrine about the meaning of salvation, for example, or the existence of heaven and hell, is merely an early sign of growing secularism.

Source: Religion Could Be More Durable Than We Thought : NPR

In New Orleans, Monument to White Terrorism Finally Falls – The Daily Beast

Interesting account of a part of American history:

Since 1891 a monument celebrating white terrorism has proudly stood in the heart of New Orleans, yet this week the city of New Orleans finally removed the Battle of Liberty Place monument. The monument celebrates an attempt by the white supremacist terrorist group the White League to overthrow the government during Reconstruction, and return the city to being ruled by white oppression. Some residents of the city decried its removal and parroted the ludicrous “History Not Hate” rhetoric, and this only serves as a continuation of the pro-Confederacy propaganda movement the South has waged since the end of Reconstruction. As a society, we can no longer tolerate succumbing to this toxicity.

On Sept. 14, 1874, the White League stormed the New Orleans police station in an attempted coup d’état to remove the governor of New Orleans, Republican William Kellogg, and replace him with John McEnery, who had been his unsuccessful Democratic challenger in the 1872 election. The White League defeated the city’s integrated police department, and took control of the city for a couple of days before President Ulysses S. Grant sent down federal troops to reclaim the city. The White League quickly surrendered the city upon the arrival of federal troops, and the Battle of Liberty Place monument exists to remember the 100 White League members who died in the battle. That is to say, it exists to celebrate those who died in a failed coup with the explicit purpose of returning Louisiana to a white dominated society.

The White League, formed in 1874, was one of the last white terrorist groups that sprang up during Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan started in 1865 upon the completion of the war. The White League was founded by Christopher Columbus Nash, a former Confederate soldier who was a prisoner of war during the Civil War. On April 13, 1873, Nash led a white militia in the Colfax Massacre that killed approximately 150 freed blacks. The massacre erupted following white fury at the election of Kellogg to the governorship in 1872. This battle is one of the single biggest massacres of Reconstruction. Soon thereafter Nash formed the White League.

“Having solely in view the maintenance of our hereditary civilization and Christianity menaced by a stupid Africanization, we appeal to men of our race, of whatever language or nationality, to unite with us against that supreme danger,” read the platform of the White League.

Despite their clear racist and terroristic foundations, they represented a more palatable form of terror than the KKK. The White League was more mainstream than the KKK. This brand of terror had become normalized over the previous decade. The White League openly collaborated with the KKK, Southern Democratic politicians, and white business owners who facilitated the Redeemers movement to terrorize freed blacks and Union sympathizers to swing elections in favor of the Democratic Party.

President Grant was so alarmed by the threat to democracy that the White League posed that he wrote about them in his 1874 State of the Union Address: “White Leagues and other societies were formed; large quantities of arms and ammunition were imported and distributed to these organizations; military drills, with menacing demonstrations, were held, and with all these murders enough were committed to spread terror among those whose political action was to be suppressed, if possible, by these intolerant and criminal proceedings.”

In New Orleans, a monument to Robert E. Lee was completed in 1884, and the Battle of Liberty Place monument arrived in 1891. In the early 1900s, Confederate President Jefferson Davis received a monument in 1911, and soon thereafter the “Little Napoleon” P.G.T. Beauregard’s monument was completed in 1915. For over a century New Orleans celebrated and normalized “intolerant and criminal” white supremacy and the erosion of our democratic fabric, yet now all four of these monuments are slated for removal.

In 1932, a plaque was added at the foot of the statue describing that the purpose of the battle was for the “overthrow of carpetbag government, ousting the usurpers” and that “the national election of November 1876 [that ended Reconstruction] recognized white supremacy in the South and gave us our state.”

Since the fall of Reconstruction as before, American society has largely chosen to turn a blind eye toward the reimagining of American history along a skewed, and seemingly polite, white oppressive narrative. We hear people utter absurd statements like, “Slaves and slave-owners got along peacefully before the Civil War.” A defender of the Battle of Liberty Place monument even claimed that his ancestor who died in the battle wasn’t a racist because he did not own slaves.

And all this isn’t as ancient as you might think. The Southern Mount Rushmore in Stone Mountain, Georgia, that depicts Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson was completed not in 1912 or 1922, but in 1972—at the location of the founding of the second iteration of the Ku Klux Klan in 1915. The Daughters of the Confederacy had been dreaming about this monument since roughly 1912, and construction on the stone carving had been started in 1923, but largely remained unfinished for decades. Then, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s facilitated a renewed interest in repainting Georgia’s skyline in the image of Confederate heroes. And now all of America can visit this Southern Mount Rushmore, conveniently located at 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd.

Throughout the late 1800s and 1900s buildings, roads, schools, parks, and more have been named after treasonous Confederates to palatably normalize their terror. Children have been named after Confederate leaders, and even today I’ve had people ask me if Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III might have been named after Jefferson Davis. Considering that Jeff Sessions Sr. was born in 1860 at the cusp of the Civil War, and the reverence the South still holds for the Confederacy, this question may not be farfetched. And we may need to ask if he was also named after the “Little Napoleon” Beauregard too.

The pervasiveness of Southern oppression can creep into any aspect of American life, and historically, any form of tolerance for white racial oppression has facilitated the further spreading of white terror and a distorted, whitewashed retelling of American history. New Orleans’ decision to remove these monuments and celebrate the rich diversity that has always existed in the city is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, more municipalities will follow suit and free our society from the shackles of America’s pro-Confederate propaganda.

Source: In New Orleans, Monument to White Terrorism Finally Falls – The Daily Beast

A political scientist explains how multiculturalism’s “success” gave us Trump – Vox

Interesting and thoughtful interview with Pippa Norris, a Harvard comparative political scientist:

Last November, I interviewed moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt about the tensions endemic to multicultural societies, and he concluded that “diversity, immigration, and multiculturalism are right at the heart of the sociological problem in Western democracies.” Haidt wasn’t opposed to multiculturalism as such, but he worried that it leads to reduced social capital and the amplification of “tribal tendencies.”

Pippa Norris, a Harvard comparative political scientist, sees it much differently. In a conversation with me last month, she said:

“No, we’re actually witnessing the success of multiculturalism: It’s taking over in the broader sense in the population and in society. I can give you lots and lots of trends on that. You can look at various polls and surveys measuring things like tolerance of minorities, cosmopolitanism, the attitudes toward the United Nations, toward NATO, toward the European Union, and you find that young people are incredibly cosmopolitan, incredibly multicultural. They see their lives as being one where you work in one country, you live in another, you end up in a third.

But, predictably, there is a reaction against multiculturalism, which is a sign that it has succeeded. Social changes have accelerated multiculturalism, and that is perceived as threatening to those opposed to it. There are immense pressures to adapt and adopt.

We have to think about how best to adapt to multiculturalism, but in terms of broad social attitudes, there’s no evidence that, for example, attitudes toward homosexuality or gender or religion are in any way going in a more traditional direction.”

According to Norris, the ultranationalist drift we’re seeing is predictable: Societies are changing, becoming more inclusive, and that has occasioned a reaction from older, more traditionalist citizens.

The crucial question is whether individual states can absorb these reactionary movements. If, for the foreseeable future, we’re going to see more populist pushback, does that mean we can expect more societal disruptions and constitutional crises in Western countries?

Norris is cautiously optimistic:

“A lot depends on the type of system a country has. Different systems will respond in different ways to populist pressures. In most European systems, the party system is flexible. In the United Kingdom, for example, you have 13 parties sitting in Parliament. In Netherlands, Germany, and other countries, you’ve got a multi-party system. In a few countries, like the United States, you’ve only got two parties. Now, those parties themselves are umbrellas, so they’re ideologically indistinct in certain regards, but it’s also very difficult for other parties to break through.

Are there going to be populist parties in the future? Absolutely. They’re not going to go away. How successful they are depends on the institutional rules and depends on how other parties respond to them in terms of either taking over their issues, ignoring them, or trying to isolate them in certain regards. But the American system is resistant to major shocks because of the strength of the two-party structure.”

Ultimately, Norris sees more reasons to be hopeful than not. In America, at least, our institutions are doing precisely what they should do. But, she warns, the real test has yet to occur:

“The courts have done what the courts should do. The media has done what it’s supposed to do. Civil society is still vibrant. The protests are amazing. Young people are energized. Opposition groups like the ACLU are seeing a tremendous spike in contributions. But we haven’t yet been properly tested. The tests are not in the good times or safe times. The tests are when the major crises occur. There will be another crisis in the next four or eight years, another terror attack or some other emergency.

This will be the real test.”

Source: A political scientist explains how multiculturalism’s “success” gave us Trump – Vox

The Trump administration is weighing what to do about the spouses of high-skilled immigrants [H-1B] – Recode

Recruitment opportunities and advantages for tech companies operating in Canada:

The Trump administration’s next immigration target could be a program that allows the spouses of some high-skilled engineers to work in the United States.

Under former President Barack Obama, the government tried to help tech companies and other firms who employed H-1B visa holders by allowing their spouses to seek jobs here. The policy specifically focused on the families of H-1B workers who pursue green cards to become permanent U.S. residents.

Under Trump, however, the government has sought to rethink federal immigration programs. And in court documents quietly filed this week, the Trump administration indicated that it is reconsidering spouses’ rights, too.

Without much fanfare, the Justice Department’s lawyers asked a federal appeals court on Monday to pause consideration of a case challenging the Obama-era policy’s legality. The DOJ sought 180 days so the administration can decide “whether to revise” its rules.

The move drew sharp criticism from immigration reform advocacy groups, including the Mark Zuckerberg-backed FWD.us, which feared that the Trump administration had essentially paved the way to abandon the aid Obama extended to spouses.

“We strongly feel they should keep this regulation in place, and they should not deny a quarter million people” the ability to work, said Todd Schulte, the president of FWD.us, in an interview Tuesday.

The DOJ’s court move, however, raised additional alarm in light of previous comments made by Jeff Sessions, now the country’s attorney general. While serving in the U.S. Senate, the Republican lawmaker had been especially critical of the H-1B program. And Sessions sharply rebuked the Obama administration in 2015 after it issued its rules to permit the spouses of some H-1B holders to seek employment.

Fearing that the DOJ might ultimately choose not to defend the case, an immigration rights organization called Immigration Action sought to intervene“on behalf of thousands of its members who currently possess employment authorization as spouses of H-1B visa holders,” it said in a statement in March.

Earlier this week, the Trump administration promised greater scrutiny of the H-1B program. It pledged more targeted “site checks” to ensure that the program has been administered properly, along with greater scrutiny for computer programmers who apply for those visas. Both measures are viewed as early attempts to crack down on outsourcing firms like Infosys — and not on tech giants like Google, which told employees late Monday that they likely would not be affected.

Source: The Trump administration is weighing what to do about the spouses of high-skilled immigrants – Recode