Bharat’s pocket scraps August 18

What I found interesting this week

A note on Charlottesville

There are lots of articles on white supremacy I read last week, too many to scrap for you, so I will do the opposite and leave you a”note” with no links, all free form!

I lived in the American south for years, met many good people, many of whom were white and identified as being from the south. Some identified with the confederate south, though my progressive bubble meant these were a minority. While I didn’t quite understand why anyone would continue to support an ideal that relied on the active enslavement of people (blah blah states rights something something), I figured this was nostalgia not connected to the active racism I also observed (and occasionally experienced, though given my upbringing, most racism directed at me went over my head).

The way I see it now, the people (of the south and sympathizers) who fought the civil war did not lose it, they lost the battle of the 1860s. By the late 1800s, they were back to life as normal, segregation, intimidation and subjugation of the Black population with Jim Crow, and commemorating their ongoing war with a slew of monument building that served both to celebrate and intimidate. The civil rights era was a temporary setback, but we’re back to business as usual, with gerrymandering, voter suppression, policing, selective application of laws, zoning, school funding and other modern war tools. The civil “battle” never ended the African American subjugation, the project continues. Charlottesville is an overt expression, with the more extreme white supremacist elements emboldened by a sympathetic leader.

The war needs to be won by progressive and moderate white people taking on and excising the fundamentalism in their communities. The people of colour will fight for justice and equality, and will win occasionally, and will always survive and thrive as a community, They will also organize with you and for themselves to end white supremacy. But, White people, this is your war.

Babies and the Rebirth of Men

My son is six. He has a thing he does lately where he puts his wide-open mouth about a tenth of an inch from my nose. Then he just freezes there, panting on my nose. It’s pretty annoying. After the 500th time, I’m just trying not to go ballistic on him. He’s a sweet kid.

Not sure if I’ve had a rebirth yet, but 8 months on, having a baby is a very different experience from not having one. Either way, I just enjoyed this article!

Read Babies and the Rebirth of Men

The partition goes on: A Pakistani perspective

Twenty years ago I visited India for the first time. We were doing the same thing back then, celebrating 50 years of independence, or mourning 50 years of partition to a steady beating of breasts: why can’t we live like friendly neighbours?

Read The partition goes on: A Pakistani perspective

One of my favourite authors on the partition of the south asian subcontinent, in this, the week of commemoration of the ongoing decolonizing of India and Pakistan

Partition Changed India’s Food Cultures Forever

At the far end of a crammed Daryaganj gulli, bustling with all manner of trade, is a heavy wrought iron gate. Push it ajar and you step into an overgrown garden defining its central courtyard. The Terrace is an old sprawling home that takes you back in time.

More on how the massive displacement of muslims and hindus out of their ancestral homes changed Indian food forever, and established the tandoor as the quintessential “Indian” food. Loved this article!

Read Partition Changed India’s Food Cultures Forever

Scott Pruitt is dismantling the EPA in secret for the same reason the GOP health care bill was secret

The New York Times had a big story on Friday about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s propensity to operate in secret.

While Zaphod Beeblebrox (oops, Trump) distracts every one with his words and actions, the US ruling party goes about its job of dismantling government quietly, and with little attention. Trump is very useful in this regard

Read Scott Pruitt is dismantling the EPA in secret for the same reason the GOP health care bill was secret

The Science of Sex Differences Is Complicated (and Biased)

There’s a lot of discussion about the problematic Google manifesto, and one of the issues brought up is the science of sex differences. Part of the problem is that it’s easy to cherry-pick evidence to support your own biases.

Yes indeed, there’s so much we don’t know about gender/sex differences, how they happen, what their magnitude is, and whether we can ever disentangle human intervention and culture from the biology. But, dude bros know everything, that much science is clear on :)

Read The Science of Sex Differences Is Complicated (and Biased)

Why Climate Change Isn’t Our Biggest Environmental Problem, and Why Technology Won’t Save Us

Our core ecological problem is not climate change. It is overshoot, of which global warming is a symptom. Overshoot is a systemic issue.

I guess this is true, though I am always hesitant to support arguments about overpopulation because they lead to the next steps of blaming countries with larger birth rates and advocating for “depopulation” (not in this article, but you know, it does happen!). Also, technology could save us, it is just not the most probable outcome, that’s all.

Read Why Climate Change Isn’t Our Biggest Environmental Problem, and Why Technology Won’t Save Us

‘This could happen in Canada’: Indigenous musician on Charlottesville

The violent events that unfolded in Charlottesville, N.C. on the weekend is a steady reality for Canada’s Indigenous community, a First Nations musician says. “The idea of North America stems from white supremacy. You can’t come and colonize people without thinking that you’re superior to them.

Yes yes Canadians, while we don’t have armed white supremacist militia roaming the streets unchecked yet, our colonial project is the same as the US’, we just happen to be more subtle about our expressions, though even that is changing

Read ‘This could happen in Canada’: Indigenous musician on Charlottesville