What I’m Reading

A Requiem for Florida, the Paradise That Should Never Have Been (Michael Grunwald, Politico.com) Interesting story of urban development, water management, and human hubris in the creation of modern Florida.

Can You Be Good Without God? (Brandon Withrow, TheDailyBeast.com) An article about negative stereotypes about atheists that goes beyond the usual Angry White Dudes (you know who they are) and interviews some fresh and reasonable atheist voices.

The First White President (Ta-Nehisi Coates, TheAtlantic.com) Long-ish read about white rage and the rise of Trump.

TBJE 21: Charlottesville

Luciano and Juhem recap the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia last month. They argue about what to do with Confederate monuments and disagree about what’s the best way of contextualizing those artifacts. They also discuss President Trump’s response. The show closes with observations about weaponizing vehicles and the GOP enablers of this practice.


After Charlottesville Rally Ends in Violence, Alt-Right Vows to Return (Sarah Posner, Rolling Stone)

Update: US President Trump’s Response to Charlottesville Events (Human Rights Watch)

Legislation, Cars, And Protesters: How Laws Can Be Affected By Tragedy (Luciano GonzalezSin/God)

Be Not Constrained: James Croft on Humanists’ Responsibility to Fight Oppression (Point of Inquiry)

Press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish

A Salvadorean-American family went for a celebratory meal to a Los Angeles-area IHOP. There, they did what people usually do, have a conversation in the language they are most comfortable with while waiting to be seated. That language happened to be Spanish and an older white woman decided to intervene and stand up for America…or something.

Old white woman just gave a textbook example of how white supremacy works. You are in place named “Los Angeles” and yet Spanish is prohibited. You ask a random person to go “back to Spain” because “Spanish” comes from there, but you don’t even realize that taking that statement to its natural conclusion means you live in England. Her ignorance is not a liability, she has the ego to think she can lecture another woman about what language she should speak.

I saw the mother and son fight back, in English. That fact made me happy, but the video still made me sad and angry for many reasons. One, that Latinos still have to go through incidents like this that ruin a birthday. That this happened in Los Angeles of all places also made me angry. If you can’t be left alone speaking Spanish in Los Angeles, where can you do it?

I often wonder why people do stuff like this. Is it because they’re naturally nosy and are mad they can’t eavesdrop on other people’s conversations? Is it because they feel “unsafe” about being invaded by “barbarian hordes” but safe enough to warrant a confrontation? I guess she didn’t expect a confrontation. They never do. They expect you to crawl back to your place, maybe even apologize and leave. But they are taken aback when you push back. That is when they know we’re here to stay and that always they will have to press 1 for English and 2 for Spanish.