Economic Anxiety, Elementary School Robotics Edition

In early February, after the students won a local robotics challenge — a steppingstone to qualify for a state robotics championship — a couple of competitors from other schools were heard screaming, “You need to go back to Mexico!”

Washington Post: These robotics students were told ‘to go back to Mexico.’ The taunt only fueled their success.

I Guess This is Progress

In the summer of 1949, a 17-year-old white girl named Norma Padgett accused four black men of kidnapping her from a dark road in central Florida and then, in the back seat of their car, taking turns raping her.

Within days of Padgett's accusations, three black men from the city of Groveland were in jail and a fourth, Ernest Thomas, was dead, shot and killed by an angry mob — led by [Sheriff] McCall — who had chased him 200 miles into the Panhandle. In Groveland, black-owned homes were shot up and burned, sparking chaos so intense the governor eventually sent in the National Guard.

Based on little evidence, a jury quickly convicted the living three.

Charles Greenlee, just 16 at the time, was sent to prison for life.

Samuel Shepherd and Walter Irvin, friends and Army veterans, were sentenced to death, but the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned their convictions and ordered a retrial. Before that could happen, though, McCall shot them both. Shepherd died at the scene, but Irvin — who played dead — survived, and his sentence was later commuted to life in prison.

Washington Post: “We're truly sorry”: Fla apologizes for racial injustice of 1949 ‘Groveland Four’ rape case

Some decades later…

Fear gripped the small town of Denison, Tex., after 18-year-old Breana Harmon Talbott burst into a church on a Wednesday night, bleeding and wearing only a shirt, bra and underwear. She said that three black men in ski masks had kidnapped her.

On Wednesday, nearly two weeks after Talbott burst into the church, police said called her story a “hoax” and the allegations deemed “officially UNFOUNDED.” In a statement, the police chief admonished Talbott for the turmoil she caused in the community and for making offensive claims about African Americans.

“The so-called victim in the case confessed to the hoax last evening (March 21) to a member of the investigative team working the case,” read a news release by the Denison Police Chief Jay Burch. “Talbott’s hoax was also insulting to our community and especially offensive to the African-American community due to her description of the so-called suspects in her hoax.”

Washington Post: ‘Hoax’: Texas teen made up widely publicized story of being kidnapped, raped by 3 black men, police say

Not on the ballot this year

Trump said at the meeting that he has yet to attack Flake hard but threatened to begin doing so. Flake stood up to Trump by urging him to stop attacking Mexicans. Trump predicted that Flake would lose his reelection, at which point Flake informed Trump that he was not on the ballot this year, the sources said.

Several lawmakers said questions were raised about derogatory comments Trump has made about minorities and women, as well as his inability to stay on message.

Trump dismissed the issue and insisted he has great support from Hispanics, Dent said.

WaPo: Trump, seeking GOP unity, has tense meeting with Senate Republicans

Sounds about right.

Accurate and Fair

But the durability of Trump's appeal creates a conundrum for many Republicans. For decades, some of us have argued that the liberal stereotype of Republicans as extreme, dim and intolerant is inaccurate and unfair. But here is a candidate for president who fully embodies the liberal stereotype of Republicans — who thinks this is the way a conservative should sound — and has found support from a committed plurality of the party.

Michael Gerson: The worst stereotype of the GOP is coming to life in the form of Donald Trump

You built that.

The Oppressed Majority

In a new poll released by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) on Tuesday, a whopping 43 percent of Americans told researchers that discrimination against whites has become as large a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minority groups.

White Americans long for the 1950s, when they didn't face so much discrimination — The Washington Post

Absolutely pathetic.

How the South Skews America – Michael Lind – POLITICO Magazine

In practice, however, much of what sets the United States apart from other countries today is actually Southern exceptionalism. The United States would be much less exceptional in general, and in particular more like other English-speaking democracies such as Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were it not for the effects on U.S. politics and culture of the American South.

I don’t mean this in a good way. A lot of the traits that make the United States exceptional these days are undesirable, like higher violence and less social mobility. Many of these differences can be attributed largely to the South.

How the South Skews America – Michael Lind – POLITICO Magazine

I saw a woman at Dallas-Fort Worth International yesterday wearing a shirt with the outline of Texas and the word “Secede” on it.

Equal Opportunity Harassment

Moreover, if police start stopping and frisking hundreds of thousands of white women and men in the manner they’ve been searching young men of color, they will undoubtedly issue some summonses and make some arrests. There are middle-class white people in possession of illegal guns — not to mention heroin, illegal prescription painkillers, and marijuana. The success rates may not be high. But this shouldn’t deter police officials. After all, low success rates haven’t dissuaded them from searching young men of color for contraband and firearms.

— Christopher E. Smith: What I Learned About Stop-and-Frisk From Watching My Black Son

Sounds fair to me. If you object to being stopped by the police, you probably have something to hide, right? Only criminals need to worry.