JB Smoove, writer and actor best known for Curb Your Enthusiasm and Real Husbands of Hollywood (and to the true film buff, Pootie Tang), appeared on the LA Times podcast “Can’t Stop Watching” recently. During his interview with host Yvonne Villareal she asked him to share his thoughts on the current political and social reckoning regarding America’s enduring racial caste troubles. He shared an anecdote that I felt in my bones.

I present it here, cut for length:

When I was younger I was terrified of the police. Because I’ve seen them in action. I might have been 12 years…

It is no surprise that in the aftermath of the worldwide uprising over centuries of violent racism the private business sector is jumping on the Black Lives Matter bandwagon.

In some ways, this is a good thing. When business joins in the struggle to end racism — more specifically anti-blackness and its attendant ills — that creates a powerful tool in the quest to change a nation’s behavior. In a perfect world racism wouldn’t just be shunned, it would be rooted out and destroyed in every aspect of American life. It would have happened hundreds of years ago.

But something…

Protestors in Los Angeles, June 2020

In 1494 the Roman Catholic Church sanctioned the plunder of dark-skinned people by Europeans with the treaty of Tordesillas. With pen and paper they named millions of people property as they sought to build Europe from a muddy backwater, to a gilded kingdom. This act of heartless greed laid the foundation for the modern western hemisphere and set in motion a history with which we vie today.

In the late 18th century the colonists inhabiting the eastern seaboard of what would later become the United States of America realized they were sitting on literal gold mines. They rebelled against their…

Alex Ivey

writer, photographer

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