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Author: YES!

The concept of Han: Understanding how the ancestral heart of Korea’s spirit can teach us solidarity

At the heart of the Korean spirit is a concept called “Han.” It is central to Korean-ness in the same way “aloha” is to Hawaiian-ness. Oddly, however, it is rarely mentioned in conversation or in the media. Its English translation is nonexistent. But I will try to describe it, because Han is the resilience of my ancestors, who have endured the unendurable for the past 9,000 years. There may be clues here on how we in the U.S. may also carry on, as we witness, stunned, our political and ecological systems in collapse. Defining Han is indeed elusive. Han...

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How shadow Think Tanks are used as sock puppets by Hate Groups to legitimize their poisonous doctrine

Imagine you are reading a news story about race relations in the United States, and the reporter interviews the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan to get his opinion on Black people. Sounds outrageous, right? Reporters would never do this, because the KKK is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the opinion of the Grand Dragon is not newsworthy, because his views are predictable and beyond the pale. The KKK is just one of over 1,000 SPLC-designated hate groups, and news organizations generally refrain from interviewing any of them, with one conspicuous...

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Unlearning Racism: Experiencing racial discrimination is not actually doing anything to combat it

The first time I learned about the history of race and racism in America was during my first year of college, when I read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book “Between the World and Me.” Before then, I had plenty of lessons on race, only none of them had ever happened in the classroom. Growing up as a mixed-race Iranian American girl in the suburban Midwest, being the target of racism was as integral to my education as learning how to read. As a kid, my skin was much darker than it is today, and in my mostly White classroom, I was...

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The deep roots of America’s racial wealth divide and why it exists by historical design

In the more than 150 years since the end of the Civil War, Black American wealth remains a fraction of that held by White Americans. Just after emancipation in 1865, African Americans owned 0.5% of national wealth. By 2019, that percentage had not risen above 2%. An analysis by the Brookings Institution found that the median wealth of White families stood at $188,200 while the median wealth of Black families was a mere $24,100. What’s worse is that this chasm has continued to grow. Between 1983 and 2016, adjusting for inflation, median White wealth increased by 33%, according to...

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White America’s misplaced anger: Why rural areas have deteriorated under a party that promotes racism

Decades of political decisions and policies have created a massive and growing chasm between the economic and social disaster unfolding in small-town and rural parts of the United States, and the prosperity and safety of cities and suburbs. Many of those successful urban and suburban areas have reaped the rewards of electing largely moderate, competent Democratic leaders. Meanwhile, rural areas have elected Republicans drawn from a party that is increasingly incompetent, corrupt, and willing to engage in outright racism to win elections. This disparity may affirm progressive ideas about successful and inclusive governance, but it also holds grave implications...

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Beyond the “Magical Negro” trope and the rise of powerful roles for Black women in science fiction

Black women have long been fixtures in science fiction film and television. In the 20th century, they largely appeared in background roles as maids, cooks, sex workers, or dancers. Then, the 21st century ushered in high-profile roles like Halle Berry’s Storm, Danai Gurira’s Michonne, Javicia Leslie’s Batwoman, and so many more. Most recently, Marvel’s Black Panther featured numerous roles for powerful Black women characters and was wildly successful, making a billion dollars in 2018. But Hollywood didn’t decide on its own to portray Black women as heroes and women of power. The roles, their depictions, and even the credit...

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