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“Sports are not neutral. They are a political battlefield. This is especially true along the color line in America. These moments can consist of singular events: Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their black-gloved fists in defiance against American injustice at the 1968 Olympics, Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali mastering the sweet science of boxing and delivering devastating blows against Jim and Jane Crow white supremacy and its assumptions about the mental, intellectual and physical inferiority of black people.
Black women are central to this story as well. Althea Gibson was the first black woman to break the color barrier in professional tennis. Decades later Venus and Serena Williams are trailblazing pioneers for their skill and dominance in women’s professional tennis.
More recently, of course, there is former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other black athletes (along with a few white ones) who have taken a knee during the national anthem to protest oppression and social injustice in post civil rights America.
There has been blowback, of course: Donald Trump won a presidential election (if only by a fluke) and remains remarkably popular among Republican and other white right-wing voters. At least in part, this reflects his strategy of condemning and threatening black athletes who dare to stand up for the value of black lives.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."
"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."
"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"
"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."
"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."
"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"
"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."
"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."
"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."
"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."
"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "
"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."