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Author: TheGuardian

Swastika Bumper Stickers: Why Americans reject Nazi symbols but display Confederate ones with pride

Last month, amid America’s confrontation with its racist legacy – which has seen monuments to Jefferson Davis toppled, the Mississippi state flag lowered, Gone With the Wind pulled from HBO’s streaming service, and music groups such as Lady Antebellum and the Dixie Chicks rebranding in an effort to distance themselves from memory of the Confederacy – I came across a tweet that put these headline-grabbing goings-on, and the backlash to them, in perspective: “Trying to imagine a version of WW2 where the Nazis just get pushed into Bavaria and surrender, but keep the swastika on the state flag, slap...

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A Confederate Mount Rushmore: Options for removing Stone Mountain’s controversial carving

The largest celebration of the Confederacy should be obscured by vegetation and the park outside Atlanta repurposed away from white supremacy. The current national attention to the interrelated issues of policy reform and representation, along with the murder of two Black men here in Georgia, got me thinking again about the state’s giant monument to white supremacy on the side of Stone Mountain. It is too big to just tear down, like they are doing with statues in Richmond and elsewhere, but something is going to happen with it eventually. Anti-racist sentiment is growing, and the makeup of Georgia’s...

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State-sanctioned brutality: Report finds many police fail to comply with basic human rights laws

Police in America’s biggest cities are failing to meet even the most basic international human rights standards governing the use of lethal force, a new study from the University of Chicago has found. Researchers in the university’s law school put the lethal use-of-force policies of police in the 20 largest US cities under the microscope. They found not a single police department was operating under guidelines that are compliant with the minimum standards laid out under international human rights laws. Among the failings identified by the law scholars, some police forces violate the requirement that lethal force should only...

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More likely to hurt than help: Police have proven they are not allies of women’s rights

As uprisings have spread through American cities in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a once fringe leftwing position has become rapidly mainstream: abolishing the police. Police abolition means different things to different people, but to most activists “abolition” means a radical shrinking, defunding and disarming of police forces. The call to “abolish the police”, then, amounts not to a wholesale abandonment of the state’s enforcement of criminal law, but rather to a reimagining of the nature and responsibilities of that enforcement. Many abolition advocates imagine a future in which the police no longer constitute an...

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Keep Your Distance: Creative ways to socialize with boundaries in the pandemic era

From dining mannequins to tables with bumpers, restaurants and attractions around the world are using creative ways to ensure guests keep their distance. Restaurants and bars around the world are starting to reopen, often at just 50% capacity. But how do you make a half-empty bar look buzzing? And how can owners ensure that diners stay a safe distance from one another? Here are five creative answers to the problem of socializing while social distancing. Mannequins Some enterprising owners are using mannequins to get bums on seats. The idea started in the US, where the three-Michelin-starred Inn at Little...

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Definition of Violence: A distinction between destroying people and inanimate objects matters

The word “violence” is going to be used a lot to describe the events in American cities over the coming days. So it is going to be important to be clear about who is violent and what violence is. Property destruction and harming human beings are profoundly different actions, and with a few exceptions – seemingly interlopers in the protests – virtually all the violence visited on human beings during this round of civil unrest across the United States has been inflicted by police. This began with the death of George Floyd in public in direct violation of what...

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