Lessons of NYPD’s “friendly fire”

The death of New York City police Detective Brian Simonsen, who was fatally wounded Feb. 12 in a “friendly fire” incident, is tragic. The officers whose shots struck their fellow officers — not only killing Simonsen but also wounding another, Sgt. Matthew Gorman — are unlikely to ever fully recover emotionally and psychologically. They killed […]

The racist history of blackface

February is the time for the ritual observance of Black History Month — a brief period when schools, government institutions and even commercial enterprises feel compelled to commemorate a handful of famous black folk who made substantial contributions to American history. It’s a gimmick, an awkward and superficial observance aimed at ameliorating the centuries spent […]

Abrams’ push for voting rights

Stacey Abrams, who will deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union address, is a dynamic speaker, a skillful political organizer and a gifted legislator. Those qualities no doubt played a role in the decision to choose her to rebut President Donald J. Trump. There is also little doubt that race and gender […]

The problem with MAGA caps

Symbols are powerful, conveying profound messages with the simplest images. Soldiers carry a flag into battle and face death to hoist it aloft. Christian churches are identified by T-shaped pieces of wood or metal affixed to prominent places. In some ancient Eastern religions, the swastika represented peace, but it is today universally recognized as a […]

MLK changed his nation

It’s been more than a half century since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, 51 years since he was shot dead standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. In this era of resurgent bigotry, of hateful rhetoric emanating from the White House, of violent protests by white supremacists, it […]