In Morrison’s formulation, fear-driven devotion to racial status is more powerful to many White Americans than even self-interest, shame or any belief in humanity. And it is this reality, that White Americans’ anxieties in the face of a changing country have been and continue to be weaponized with disastrous and violent results, that has been instrumental in fueling the spread of so-called “replacement theory,” the false and bigoted claim that elites are conspiring to replace Whites with minorities.
Morrison passed away in 2019, but her words echoed with a prescient rattle this week. They hovered, hauntingly, over a Tops grocery store in a majority-Black East Buffalo neighborhood, where a young White man livestreamed the racist mass killing of 10 people. The alleged shooter also posted a hateful rant self-identifying as a White supremacist and expressing a belief in replacement theory.
Ghitis diagnosed deep irony that the “growing threat to democracy in the United States is occurring at a moment when US foreign policy has accomplished an extraordinary, historic feat; one that among other things serves to fortify democracy around the world.” That feat? Shoring up NATO, which is attracting new members, and leading America’s allies with a cohort that may soon include Sweden and Finland. “It’s a high point in America’s global leadership,” Ghitis concluded, “but only if you look at it with one eye closed.”
Like Morrison, theologian and activist Keith Magee pondered the brutal, dehumanizing cost of a race-fueled fear of change on all Americans. Writing specifically as a Black father of a young Black son, Magee addressed White teenage males after the slaughter in Buffalo to express empathy with the change and trauma of 21st century pandemic life — and ask a question.
He urged young White American men to consider that “luck, like love, is unlimited. The more you share it, the more there is to go around. You will not lose your place in the world if other people are no longer marginalized.”
Putin’s useful allies
All US political eyes were on North Carolina and Pennsylvania this week — with more action to come on Tuesday in Georgia. With Madison Cawthorn’s defeat and Ted Budd’s victory in North Carolina, plus primary wins for Big Lie proponent Doug Mastriano and unorthodox Democrat John Fetterman in Pennsylvania — where the GOP contest for US Senate remains too close to call — there was no one takeaway for conservatives, progressives or anyone in between.
Covid isn’t over
More than one million people have died of Covid-19 in the US, and cases are surging once again as the highly contagious BA.2.1.21 subvariant has become the nation’s dominant strain of coronavirus.
What women see in Amber Heard
These athletes deserve more
With the announcement of a new collective bargaining agreement with landmark provisions for equal pay, soccer is poised to lead the way on how to combat the consequences of the long-standing lack of investment in all women’s sports, wrote Amy Bass.
Sherlock Holmes Day
Did Sherlock Holmes (meaning Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) invent crime-solving methods like fingerprinting and blood testing years and even decades before law enforcement? That’s Roy Schwartz‘s question, posed for the occasion of Sherlock Holmes Day, which is celebrated on Doyle’s birthday, May 22.
Schwartz’s verdict: “What’s fair to say is that Sherlock Holmes was indeed a significant influence on the field of forensic science. He made its ideas accessible to the masses, popularized it as a unified field of knowledge, and inspired generations of criminal justice professionals who went on to solve crimes and save lives. That’s anything but elementary.”
CNN Opinion won’t be putting out a newsletter next week, but we’ll be back in action on June 5. To all of our readers who observe Memorial Day, we wish you a meaningful, restorative holiday!