Thursday, April 28, 2016

"The United Shades of America": What's going on in the rural south is still very disturbing, as W. Kamau Bell finds when he probes the KKK

On Sunday night, CNN premiered its series “The United Shades of America”, hosted by black comedian W. Kamau Bell, with the best link on CNN’s Money site here.  Kamau explores the activity of the Ku Klux Klan in Arkansas, particularly a town of Harrison, AK north of the Ozarks. (I let the definite article in the title stay; CNN sometimes uses it.)

There is a street sign “anti-racist is a sign for anti-white’ with no known owner or website.  Bell talks to the controversial local pastor Thomas Robb.

The views of many people seem tied to the idea of vicarious immortality, the idea of continuity with a lineage that somehow needs to remain distinct and pure.  Never mind that the only reason skin color varies among people is the varying exposure of their ancestors to ultraviolet light from the Sun, with more need for pigment the closer they were to the equator.  (And white man might have mated with Neanderthal, although that’s not completely clear.)

Bell watches the gathering of kindling for a cross lightning, and notes that today he can go to a cross brining as a black man, but leave.  In the past, as the unfinished film “American Lynching” by Gode Davis shows, he wouldn’t have been allowed out alive.

Paste magazine has a story about what Kamau learned from doing the show.

CNN has not explained the sudden postponement of “Why They Hate Us” about, as Ted Cruz calls it, “radical Islamic terrorism.” There’s a lot of suspicion that it has to do with objections from Saudi Arabia, after the president’s recent visit.  Conservative presidential candidate Ted Cruz should be jumping all over CNN and Zakaria for caving in to political demands, suppressing a free press.

Wikipedia link for Harrison “billboard” picture is here  (not embedded this time).

Update: May 21

In an episode May 15, Kamau examines community policing in Camden, NJ, near Philadelphia, one of the most troubled communities in the country. Yet at one time RCA Records had been a big employer there.

Update: May 28

Kamau visits people (including doomday preppers) who live off the grid, especially an intentional community south of Nashville, with a tofu business (like Twin Oaks in VA).  The commune is know as a place to come for midwives and to have babies -- the crops are human.  The commune tried to ban money, but is in danger of losing the land, so the people have to go out and get regular jobs. It's interesting how the people see this as "freedom".  There are about 1200 intentional income-sharing communities in the US, mostly rural.

Update: June 11

On June 5, Kamau visited Barrow, Alaska, in winter.

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