Boycotts aren’t an ideological purity test

Recently, anti-Trump folks launched a #BoycottUber campaign. Tons of people deleted the Uber app off their phones and/or deleted their Uber accounts. Many of those former Uber users went to Lyft.

Immediately, I saw the "Are you a real progressive?" purity tests surface on Facebook. "Wait, so are you also boycotting X, Y, and Z companies?" and "You know Lyft has ties to Trump, too." Of course it does. Facebook itself has ties to Trump (Google Peter Thiel).

A lot of people tied to Trump are rich corporate types. So if you use corporate products, you're likely using something tied to Trump. We are in a messy web right now. You cannot fully disentangle yourself without going completely off the grid.

The point of a protest is not to say "I am pure. I do nothing to support... whatever I'm objecting to." You're most likely wearing clothes produced by overworked, underpaid child laborers. You're likely eating chocolate harvested by child slaves. If you can afford to, you're likely paying to live in an area with cleaner water and less pollution than areas where people with less money than you live.

It's complicated. You can't solve all the world's problems through a boycott. And you will never, in the foreseeable future, pass any kind of progressive purity test.

But a progressive purity test is not the point of an effective boycott. The point is to influence companies and to remind them that they can lose a lot of money if they don't listen to their consumers. And you'll notice once you do participate in an effective boycott, the companies usually scramble to apologize and try to make it right with their consumers. They do not want to lose money.

Also keep in mind that even incremental changes can be good. Remember that environmental slogan of "reduce, reuse, recycle"? Imagine if it was "Never use anything or else you're ruining the earth!" How effective do you think that slogan would have been? Yes, people who use gas-fueled cars still object to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Should they not drive less? Or should they just throw up their hands and say "Well, I'm supporting the oil industry anyway... might as well keep driving more"?

Waves crashing repeatedly against a rock will wear that rock down. There is death by a thousand papercuts. And we can, each in our own little way, help to make the world a better place. Beware of the tempting false dichotomy of "I'm doing everything right" or "I'm doing nothing right." Do what you can. You can, for example, reduce your carbon footprint without eliminating it. You can boycott one company and influence it and then boycott another company later. You do not have to boycott all the bad at once—and I'd challenge you, if you think you're already doing that, to dig more deeply into how interconnected everything is.

The Trumpism-is-not-normal reading list

(Cartoon from Amy Martin)

Here is a bipartisan reading list I've put together as essential to understanding what's happening and hopefully what you can do to resist the normalization of what should not be normal.

Trump names his Inauguration Day a ‘National Day of Patriotic Devotion’
By Abby Phillip (23/01/17)

White House Shuts Down Phone Comment Line, Tells Callers to Use Non-Existent Facebook Messenger Account Instead
By Janko Roettgers (23/01/17)

Sean Spicer defends inauguration claim: 'Sometimes we can disagree with facts'
By David Smith (23/01/17)

Kellyanne Conway says Donald Trump’s team has ‘alternative facts.’ Which pretty much says it all.
By Aaron Blake (22/01/17)

With False Claims, Trump Attacks Media on Turnout and Intelligence Rift
By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Matthew Rosenberg (21/01/17)

Civil Rights, Climate Change, and Healthcare Were All Scrubbed from the White House Website
By Jack Holmes (20/01/17)

Trump Won’t Remove Press From White House, But Says He Will Pick Who Gets In
By Gabrielle Levy (18/01/17)

With All Due Disrespect
By Paul Krugman (16/01/17)

No, Trump’s America Won’t Be The Hunger Games
By Graham Vyse (16/01/17)

Top Senate Democrat Says Russian Hacks, Disinformation Influenced Election Outcome
By Alexandra Jaffe (15/01/17)

America, America
By Jonathan Kirshner (15/01/17)

Trump aide Reince Priebus warns ethics chief to ‘be careful’
By Abby Phillip (15/01/17)

Explosive memos suggest that a Trump-Russia quid pro quo was at the heart of the GOP's dramatic shift on Ukraine
By Natasha Bertrand (15/01/17)

Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele's frustration as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months
By Kim Sengupta (14/01/17)

‘My confidence has been shook’: Dems furious after meeting with James Comey — but they can’t say why
By Travis Gettys (13/01/17)

Newt Gingrich: Trump Should Use The CNN Confrontation As An Excuse To Break The Press
By Matt Gertz (13/01/17)

Trump Orders DC National Guard Chief To Leave In Middle Of Inaugural Ceremony
By Caitlin MacNeal (13/01/17)

AP Source: Trump aide in frequent contact with Russia envoy
By Julie Pace (13/01/17)

Chaffetz threatens to subpoena federal ethics watchdog over Trump criticism
By Darren Samuelsohn and Josh Gerstein (12/01/17)

Why Are the Trump Allegations Hanging Around When They Haven’t Been Substantiated?
By Susan Hennessey, Benjamin Wittes (12/01/17)

Rep. Lieu Statement on His Review of Classified Report on Russian Hacking of U.S. Elections

Donald Trump just used his presidential power to advertise L.L. Bean
By Danielle Paquette (12/01/17)

Clapper puts the ball back in Trump’s court
By Jennifer Rubin (12/01/17)

Comey Letter on Clinton Email Is Subject of Justice Dept. Inquiry
By Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, and Matt Apuzzo (12/01/17)

Remarks of Office of Government Ethics Director Walter M. Shaub Jr.

BBC correspondent: Ex-British intelligence officer ‘not the only source’ for Russia’s Trump dossier
By David Edwards (11/01/17)

These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia
By Ken Bensinger, Miriam Elder, and Mark Schoofs (10/01/17)

Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him
By Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper and Carl Bernstein (10/01/17)

Senate Intelligence Committee Member Suggests FBI Is Sitting on Information on Trump-Russia Ties
By David Corn (10/01/17)

Donald Trump’s ‘first attempt to ignore the law’
By Aaron Blake (10/01/17)

A Troll Outside Trump Tower Is Helping To Pick Your Next Government
By Ryan Mac (09/01/17)

Donald Trump was bailed out of bankruptcy by Russia crime bosses
By Mark Summer (09/01/17)

ExxonMobil and Iran did business under Secretary of State nominee Tillerson
By Oren Dorell (09/01/17)

We were ethics lawyers for Bush and Obama. Trump's cabinet hearings must be delayed
By Norman L. Eisen and Richard W. Painter (09/01/17)

Trump Just Dismissed the People in Charge of Maintaining Our Nuclear Arsenal
By Ashley Feinberg (09/01/17)

Donald Trump and the Tainted Presidency
By Charles M. Blow (09/01/17)

Intelligence Report on Russian Hacking
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (06/01/17)

 The American Press Is Under Threat as Never Before
 By Eric Alterman (05/01/17)

Countering Trump, Bipartisan Voices Strongly Affirm Findings on Russian Hacking
By Matt Flegenheimer and Scott Shane (05/01/17)

Donald Trump Plans Revamp of Top U.S. Spy Agency
By Damian Paletta and Julian E. Barnes (04/01/17)

Media standards on lies and false statements are changing fast
By Callum Borchers (03/01/17)

By NoFortunateSon (01/01/17)

Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Made over $420,000 Selling Access to the President-elect on New Year's Eve
By Lauren Duca (01/01/17)

I watched a populist leader rise in my country. That’s why I’m genuinely worried for America.
By Miklos Haraszti (28/12/16)

Intelligence agencies sued for records on Russian election interference
By Lydia Wheeler (27/12/16)

Lindsey Graham shoots down Trump’s denials: 99 senators believe Russia behind DNC hacks
By Eric W. Dolan (27/12/16)

A journalist is suing U.S. spy agencies for more details on Russia’s hacking of the U.S. election
By April Glaser (27/12/16)

Seattle’s Franz Wassermann, 96, warns of chilling parallels with Nazi era
By Jerry Large (26/12/16)

Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer Asks for Apology from BuzzFeed
By De Elizabeth (26/12/16)

Trump adopting same behavior he criticized Clinton for
By Lisa Lerer (25/12/16)

GOP declares Donald Trump to be new king
GOP website and then in correspondence with Dan Rather (25/12/16)

The Stolen Supreme Court Seat
By New York Times editorial board (24/12/16)

Donald Trump plans to shut down his charitable foundation, which has been under scrutiny for months
By Mark Berman and David A. Fahrenthold (24/12/16)

Trump and Putin: The worst case scenario
By Sarah Kendzior (23/12/16)

White nationalist groups raise millions tax-free after IRS grants nonprofit status
By Travis Gettys (22/12/16)

Prince Charles issues veiled warning over Donald Trump and return to 'dark days of 1930s'
By May Bulman (22/12/16)

Moscow on the Potomac
By By the CAP National Security and International Policy Team (21/12/16)

Trump posse browbeats Hill Republicans
By Rachael Bade (21/12/16)

In Donald Trump’s Washington, corruption will be utterly shameless
By Paul Waldman (20/12/16)

Time to End the Electoral College
By the New York Times editorial board (19/12/16)

Austria’s Far Right Signs a Cooperation Pact With Putin’s Party
By Alison Smale (19/12/16)

Gingrich: Congress should change ethics laws for Trump
By Darren Samuelsohn (19/12/16)

Trump’s own ‘truther’ act is frightening
By Jennifer Rubin (19/12/16)

Russian Hacking Poses a Threat to American Security and the Presidency
By Lincoln Blades (19/12/16)

Trump private security force ‘playing with fire’
By Kenneth P. Vogel (19/12/16)

In last-shot bid, thousands urge electoral college to block Trump at Monday vote
By Robert Samuels (17/12/16)

Court: Removing 'faithless' electors may be unconstitutional
By Kyle Cheney (17/12/16)

Donald Trump raises specter of treason
By John Shattuck (16/12/16)

Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?
By Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (16/12/16)

Russian hacking activity continues unabated
By Shimon Prokupecz, Evan Perez, Pamela Brown and Jeff Zeleny (16/12/16)

Now, America, You Know How Chileans Felt
By Ariel Dorfman (16/12/16)

The fake war on fake news
By Sarah Kendzior (16/12/16)

Celebrities Call on the Electoral College to Vote Against Donald Trump
By Chelsea Stone (16/12/16)

Putin Attacked the 2016 U.S. Election
By Alexandra Chalupa (16/12/16)

U.S. election agency breached by hackers after November vote
By Joseph Menn (15/12/16)

Obama On Russian Hacking: 'We Need To Take Action. And We Will'
By Scott Detrow (15/12/16)

Trump calls on Pennsylvania crowd to cheer African-Americans who 'didn't come out to vote'
By Tribune News Service (15/12/16)

Trump’s national security adviser shared secrets without permission, files show
By Craig Whitlock and Greg Miller (14/12/16)

Twitter cut out of Trump tech meeting over failed emoji deal
By Nancy Scola (14/12/16)

Trump Lets the Truth Come Out Post-Election
By Michael K. Williams (14/12/16)

How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler
By John Broich (13/12/16)

Former CIA Officer On Trump's Battle With Intelligence Community
By Caitlin O'Keefe, Meghna Chakrabarti (13/12/16)
By various (13/12/16)

A Brief History of U.S. Intervention in Foreign Elections
By Dana Roberson and T.J. Raphael (13/12/16)

A professor called Trump’s election an ‘act of terrorism.’ Death threats forced her to flee
By Peter Holley (13/12/16)

Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump
By Brady Dennis (13/12/16)

Bipartisan Electors Ask James Clapper: Release Facts on Outside Interference in U.S. Election
By Christine Pelosi (12/12/16)

GOP leaders shield Trump from expanded Russia probe
By Austin Wright (12/12/16)

Former CIA chief calls Russia’s meddling in US elections ‘political equivalent of 9/11’
By POLITICO (12/12/16)

McConnell Supports Inquiry of Russian Hacking During Election
By Jennifer Steinhauer (12/12/16)

McCain, Schumer urge unity in combating Russian interference in elections
By Daniel Chaitin (11/12/16)

C.I.A. Judgment on Russia Built on Swell of Evidence
By Mark Mazzetti and Eric Lichtblau (11/12/16)

Russia Hacked Republican Committee but Kept Data, U.S. Concludes
By David E. Sanger and Scott Shane (09/12/16)

Secret CIA assessment says Russia intervened in election to help Trump win
By Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller (09/12/16)

A big change to U.S. broadcasting is coming — and it’s one Putin might admire
By Editorial Board (09/12/16)

Trump transition team for Energy Department seeks names of employees involved in climate meetings
By Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin (09/12/16)

Notes from the Resistance: A Column on Language and Power
By Summer Brennan (09/12/16)

Bipartisan group urges Trump, family to divest from private business
By Rosalind S. Helderman (09/12/16)

Obama orders 'full review' of election-related hacking
By Josh Gerstein and Jennifer Scholtes (09/12/16)

This is what happens when Donald Trump attacks a private citizen on Twitter
By Jenna Johnson (08/12/16)

Republicans ready to launch wide-ranging probe of Russia, despite Trump’s stance
By Karoun Demirjian (08/12/16)

Graham says he'll lead probe of Russian intervention in election
By Brooke Seipel (07/12/16)

It Was a Corruption Election. It’s Time We Realized It.
By Sarah Chayes (06/12/16)

Half of Detroit votes may be ineligible for recount
By Chad Livengood and Joel Kurth (06/12/16)

Why I Will Not Cast My Electoral Vote for Donald Trump
By Christopher Suprun (05/12/16)

An unaired interview on Trump, authoritarianism and kleptocracy
By Sarah Kendzior (05/12/16)

Trump’s Threat to the Constitution
by Evan McMullin (05/12/16)

Orwellian euphemisms like “post-truth” and “alt-right” are perfect for whitewashing fascism
By Noah Berlatsky (05/12/16)

You Heard It Here First: Trump May Not Propose A Budget Next Year
By Stan Collender (04/12/16)

A Warning for Americans From a Member of Pussy Riot
by Jim Rutenberg (04/12/16)

Law professor: Trump’s businesses make him a ‘walking, talking violation of the Constitution’
By Tom Boggioni (04/12/16)

Now Is the Time to Talk about What We Are Actually Talking About
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (02/12/16)

Authoritarianism and Post-Truth Politics
By Jacob T. Levy (30/11/16)

Spy chief adds to warnings of Russian cyber attacks on Germany
By Caroline Copley (29/11/16)

McConnell says he won’t recuse himself from wife’s cabinet confirmation
By Elise Viebeck (29/11/16)

The US election recount is a long shot – but the alternative is catastrophe
by Rebecca Solnit (29/11/16)

In Defense of Doomsaying
By Graham Vyse (28/11/16)

Why Outrage Is So Important
by Joshua Foust (28/11/16)

Conflicted Elector in a Corrupt College
By Art Sisneros (28/11/16)

Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say
By Craig Timberg (24/11/16)

Former Bush Counsel: Electoral College Can’t Vote For Trump if He’s in Violation of Constitution
by Justin Baragona (23/11/16)

Journalism faces an 'existential crisis' in Trump era
by Christiane Amanpour (23/11/16)

White nationalist who led 'Hail Trump' chant to speak at Texas A&M, though school didn't invite him
by Lauren McGaughy (23/11/16)

Trump turning away intelligence briefers since election win
By Greg Miller and Adam Entous (23/11/16)

Want to Know if the Election was Hacked? Look at the Ballots
by J. Alex Halderman (23/11/16)

An Erosion of Democratic Norms in America: The president-elect is testing the limits of political convention.
by Claire Foran (22/11/16)

Now is a time when none of us can afford to remain seated or silent. We must all stand up to be counted....
by Dan Rather (22/11/16)

What Journalism Needs To Do Post-Election
by Carrie Brown (22/11/16)

Voting Rights in the Age of Trump
by Ari Berman (22/11/16)

A thought on reality: Fungible, at best. Things we're not blinking an eye at today would have been unthinkable a month ago....
by Linda Tirado (21/11/16)

Wisconsin legislative map ruled illegally partisan; case will go to Supreme Court
By Robert Barnes (21/11/16)

The Scramble Has Some Questions About Our New Trumpian Reality
by Jonathan McNicol (21/11/16)

Don’t Offer To Sign Up—Stop The Muslim Registry Before It Begins
by Josh Shahryar (21/11/16)

My name is Andrew Joseph Barkett. I was the first-ever CTO of the Republican National Committee. I am currently a Central Committee Member-elect for the Republican Party Central Committee in San Mateo County, CA....
by Andrew Barkett (21/11/16)

Alt-Right Neo-Nazis Exult[s] in Donald Trump’s Election With a Salute: ‘Heil Victory’
by Joseph Goldstein (20/11/16)

Wrong. Normalizing Trump is dangerous, because Trump isn’t normal. And his presidency is unlikely to be "just another conservative" presidency....
by Robert Reich (20/11/16)

Donald Trump Meeting Suggests He Is Keeping Up His Business Ties
by Eric Lipton and Ellen Barry (20/11/16)

McCain warns Trump on torture, waterboarding
by Michael Crowley (19/11/16)

The First 100 Day Resistance Agenda
By Robert Reich (19/11/16)

Don’t let Donald Trump’s antics distract you from what’s really important
by Matthew Yglesias (19/11/16)

Normalising Trump: The US media whitewash - The Listening Post
by Al Jazeera English (19/11/16)

AM Joy panel: Trump will manipulate foreign policy so that he and his kids can reap billions
by Tom Boggioni (19/11/16)

Steve Bannon, chief strategist for President-elect Donald Trump, gave the above quotes in an interview with a major publication this week. Needless to say, this is not how political operatives normally speak to the media....
by Murtaza Hussain (18/11/16)

An updated 'First they came for' poem written on social media is worth remembering
by Walter Einenkel (18/11/16)

A Dark View from Flyover Country
by Sarah Kendzior (18/11/16)

#TrumpTreason?—and 99% of the mainstream news media have yet to report the story
by Reyesanfrancis (18/11/16)

We’re heading into dark times. This is how to be your own light in the Age of Trump
by Sarah Kendzior (18/11/16)

Still time for an election audit: Column
by Ron Rivest and Philip Stark (18/11/16)

1. Update on Russia hacking the US election and collective actions we must take now to stop Trump and Putin from stealing the White House....
by Andrea Chalupa (17/11/16)

Nation state made 'conscious effort to influence US election' by leaking Hillary Clinton's emails, NSA director says
by Samuel Osborne (17/11/16)

No, This is Not Normal Pre-Presidential Behavior | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ
by Keith Olbermann (17/11/16)

We have 100 days to stop Donald Trump from systemically corrupting our institutions
by Matthew Yglesias (17/11/16)

Trump’s Foreign Business Ties May Violate the Constitution
by Zephyr Teachout (17/11/16)

Watching the Election from The Post-Truth Future
By Christina Xu (17/11/16)

To all those who are requesting us to "give Trump..., and his band of regressive racist cronies "a chance"....
by Bill Sienkiewicz (17/11/16)

Look, people. Donald Trump told us who he was. And people didn't believe him....
by Imani Gandy (17/11/16)

The Lies Begin As Trump Takes Credit For Keeping Ford Plant In The US That Wasn’t Leaving
by Jason Easley (17/11/16)

So, first. While I appreciate the outrage at this Muslim registry thing, where have you guys been?
by Arnesa Buljusmic-Kustura (17/11/16)

#HamiltonElectors: Stopping Trump with A Vote of Conscience (Hamilton Electors)
by D.C. Douglas (16/11/16)

More than peanuts at stake in Trump business interests
by Rachel Maddow (16/11/16)

Russia's Involvement in the 2016 Election Is Growing by the Day
by Charles P. Pierce (16/11/16)

Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon suggests having too many Asian tech CEOs undermines ‘civic society’
by Ashley Carman (16/11/16)

White House Confirms Pre-Election Warning to Russia Over Hacking
by David E. Sanger (16/11/16)

This is not about political parties. This is about an authoritarian kleptocracy which will use extreme brutality....
by Sarah Kendzior (16/11/16)

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham wants Congress to investigate Russian cyberattack on DNC, election
by Lisa Mascaro (15/11/16)

A number of people have been asking me for resources with which to educate themselves on what's happening in the US....
by Christopher Stroop (15/11/16)

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience....
by Timothy Snyder (15/11/16)

This Is Not Normal
by Joshua Foust (15/11/16)

When 9/11 happened, the Muslim communities I lived in did register....
by Darakshan Raja (14/11/16)

Glenn Beck: Bannon has ‘clear tie’ to white nationalism
by Mark Hensch (14/11/16)

Post-election spate of hate crimes worse than post-9/11, experts say
by Melanie Eversley (14/11/16)

Christoph Waltz talking About Trump

What Now?
by Jay Ulfelder (12/11/16)

Irish Lawmaker: 'America Has Just Elected A Fascist' (Video)
by Aodhan O'Riordain (11/11/16)

An early New York Times article about Adolf Hitler catastrophically misjudged the authenticity of his anti-semitism.
by Alex Kasprak (11/11/16)

Autocracy: Rules for Survival
by Masha Gessen (10/11/16)

Farewell, America
By Neal Gabler (10/11/16)

Russia says it was in touch with Trump's campaign during election
By Andrew Osborn (10/11/16)

Day 1 In Trump's America
by Insanul Ahmed (09/11/16)

Call for a Congressional Investigation: An Open Letter from Concerned Scholars
Various scholars (Nov. 2016)

Letter from Harry Reid to James Comey
From Harry Reid (30/10/16)

Trump’s unusual conflict: Millions in debts to German bank now facing federal fines
by Drew Harwell (30/09/16)

The Road Ahead
Kirk Douglas (19/09/16)

How Donald Trump is leading the transformation to turn the Republican Party into the new KKK
by Shaun King (09/09/16)

An American Authoritarian
by Ruth Ben-Ghiat (10/08/16)

#ShowUsYourTaxes: Here’s Every Time Donald Trump Has Said He Would Release His Tax Returns
By Teo Armus (28/06/16)

Donald Trump’s distinctly American authoritarianism draws equally from the wacko right and wacko left.
by Jacob Weisberg (04/03/16)

Here’s what demagogues like Trump do to their countries when they take power
By Michael Signer (29/02/16)

Donald Trump says he is not bothered by comparisons to Hitler
By Jenna Johnson (08/12/15)

Donald Trump's 2014 political predictions
by Donald Trump (listen around 2:03) (10/02/14)

Excerpt from They Thought They Were Free
by Milton Mayer (1955)

Progressives: it’s okay to diversify tactics

Post-election, there has been a lot of hand-wringing among Democrats and progressives in the U.S. I'm not going to argue with you if you think I'm too obsessed with "identity politics" or you think I live in a "coastal elite bubble."

What's most dangerous isn't slight differences in ideology amongst progressives but the sameness in clinging to the idea of the one good tactic and an obsession with what is immediately directly pragmatic.

I've seen in Twitter snark, impassioned Facebook rants, and long-form blog posts progressives railing against the futility of marches, the futility of petitions, the futility of tweets, the evils of the non-profit industrial complex... only phone calls matter. Phone calls are the only thing!

Now, I happen to believe that phone calls to representatives and senators do matter, but when people post inspiring images from the 50s/60s civil rights movement or from 60s/70s second-wave feminism, it isn't usually of crowds of people at telephones calling their representatives. Marches do matter. Protests do matter. Even petitions can sort of matter. Do they have an immediate and direct impact on legislation? Maybe not. Does it matter? Does everything have to have an immediate and direct impact on legislation? And legislation can't be the only thing that matters especially if laws themselves aren't enforced or laws are enforced but in an awful, twisted way.

Sophie Scholl was an anti-Nazi activist who distributed pamphlets telling the truth, and she was executed for it. Should she have been making phone calls?

Václav Havel wrote plays and was jailed for his resistance.

Pussy Riot was imprisoned for a musical performance in a cathedral.

Anna Politkovskaya was a reporter murdered for criticizing Putin.

Read about Steve Biko, Mary Dyer, Ariel Dorfman, Chiune Sugihara, Marion Pritchard, Elijah Lovejoy, Liu Di, or Fred Hampton. I can't list every single activist, resistor, and dissident in history, but if you take a look at what they did to "warrant" imprisonment, exile, torture, and/or death, it's usually not phone calls to politicians. It could be community organizing, writing, speeches, journalism, music, marches, boycotts—any number of things.

Activism can and should take many forms. There is no one right way. You want to make phone calls? You want to mobilize people to make phone calls? Great! Do it. I applaud you. Those phone calls will do something. But please don't tell others marches are useless, petitions are useless, talking and discussing online are useless, making art and music is useless, or writing articles is useless.

Don't chastise people for resisting in different ways. Chastise people for chastising (that's what I'm doing right now) others' resistance methods, but don't chastise people for their methods of resistance. You do you. She does her. He does him. They do them. I do me.

Honestly, a lot of the important resistance, whence outward resistance manifests, comes from within:

We’re heading into dark times. This is how to be your own light in the Age of Trump

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

Be your own light and work with others and their lights. Don't be divided; don't be conquered.

P.S. The other problem I've seen lately is a tendency to waffle between demonizing and deifying public figures. Deify this progressive. Oh, the progressive said a problematic thing. Demonize! Oh, this ally on one issue said a horrible thing on another issue. We can't work together. Horrible person. Horrible. Obviously form strong alliances with those whose values align most with yours, but you can pragmatically temporarily set aside differences on a particular issue to get stuff done on another issue you share concerns about. Temporary alliances are okay!

Next steps for anti-racist White Americans…

First of all, if you're not anti-racist, but you're a White American, this isn't for you. If you're going to pull some old-line "rebuttals" to well-established academic scholarship on race, this post isn't for you, and your comments will be deleted. I don't have time for your questioning arithmetic when you're in a calculus class. You're a derailer, and I've heard all of your tired arguments before. Nothing new here. Move on.

Still here? Actually want to be a better White person in America? You've already read/watched/participated in stuff like these:

  1. "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" and "Some Notes for Facilitators"
  2. Project Implicit
  3. ELI5: Why is it so controversial when someone says "All Lives Matter" instead of "Black Lives Matter"?
  4. White Fragility
  5. Racial Bias in Perceptions of Others’ Pain
  6. Are You Sure You’re Not Racist?
  7. 13th
Cool. That's a good start.

It's also great that you actually challenge your racist relatives and friends, because that matters, and you are making a difference, and frankly they're more likely to listen to you than to me or other non-White people. Good on you for fighting that good fight.

Some people think it's ridiculous to give "cookies" to people for being decent human beings, but you're trained and raised not to be, so when you fight that, it requires effort.

But you still might feel like "I'm not doing enough. I have a lot of privilege as a White person. What should I be on the lookout for?"

Obviously, call out overt and physically violent racism. That should be obvious. Racial slurs. Harassment.

But also be on the lookout (in yourself and others) for these subtler forms of racism:

  1. Do I think it's okay that White people defend themselves with weapons but insist non-White people resist only non-violently? Why are the Founding Fathers praised for a violent revolution against the British but Martin Luther King, Jr. is praised for being non-violent?
  2. Along similar lines, do I often rush to ask non-White people to forgive White people who've wronged them but show more understanding for White people who are resentful when wronged?
  3. Do I ever feel uncomfortable when I'm the racial minority in a situation? How much control do I have over being in the situations in which I'm the racial minority?
  4. Do I accept unquestionably narratives about all great things (literature, inventions, etc.) being created by White people? What have I done to seek out information on non-White historical figures?
  5. What media do I consume that features only White protagonists? What media have I sought out that features non-White protagonists? Why do I have to seek that out?
  6. Even though I try to treat non-White people well, am I acting more as if they're a guest in my house than as if we are equals in a house that is for all of us?
  7. Do I ever make assumptions that Whites hold majority positions of power because of merit alone? If non-Whites held majority of positions of power in Hollywood, politics, corporate boards, etc. and said it was just meritocracy, how would I feel? How would I imagine fellow White people would feel?
  8. It can be more difficult to see how "meritocracy" works in private hiring practices, but take a look at how straight-presenting cis able-bodied white males get scrutinized for in running for office versus... other folks. Good exercise: imagine public reaction to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton doing anything Donald Trump has done.
  9. Do you say you're not proud of slavery but still uphold narratives of slaveholders as noble in some way? How have you reacted to buildings named after slaveholders being renamed?
  10. Have you considered how questions like "If you could travel to any time in the past?" or "What actor would play you in a movie of your life?" are different from non-White people in the U.S. than for you?

This isn't a comprehensive list. Just a start. If you're reading this, you've probably gotten through a lot of anti-racism 101. This is your 201. Ask these questions of yourself and other White people as you go through your daily life.

P.S. Even though this is a 101 (not 201) point, just a reminder that this isn't about "White guilt." Feeling guilty or bad about yourself does nothing productive to end racism. See racism, call it out. Fix the system.

P.P.S. Here's an excellent example of White supremacy disguised as sincere concern (i.e., an example of concern trolling with a mix of gaslighting): Regarding “Did Oscar voters go for best or adjust for color?” (Jan. 25): The Oscar’s brilliance has dimmed. Because the question presented itself, it is already done. The once proud symbol of accomplishment in the entertainment industry has been smudged. An evaluation of skills and talent have been tainted by the irrelevant factors of diversity and political correctness. The pinnacle sign of accomplishment in the entertainment industry cannot recover and regain the respect it once had even with its sometimes troubling history. Most hurt of all are the nominees and recipients who can never know if they earned the award through talent or ethnicity. Oscars were always about merit before? Non-Whites didn't win Oscars in the past, not because they didn't get leading roles and juicy dramatic roles, but because they just weren't as good actors? Everybody knows that's hogwash. White actors now don't know if they won awards through talent or ethnicity. Why is it suddenly a bad thing for non-White actors to not know?

This is how you implement editing tweets on Twitter


Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asked for suggestions on how to improve Twitter, and lots of great suggestions came out (better ways to cut down on harassment, trolling, and bots, for example).

The one idea that seemed to gain some traction with him was the ability to edit tweets. Currently, if you post a tweet and notice a typo, you can either let the typo stand or delete the tweet and then re-create it sans typo.

For some reason, there's a lot of hand-wringing about how best to implement an edit-tweet feature (Twitter’s Jack Dorsey says support for tweet editing is needed, but implementation questions remain), but there's a fairly easy solution ("easy" here doesn't mean the woman-power and man-power to implement it would be trivial—just that the problem-solving aspects of it don't introduce complications).

Proposed Solution

If a user tweets and wants to edit her post before anyone has liked or retweeted it, she can do so. No harm, no foul. This would be the most likely option for Twitter accounts with few followers.

If a user tweets and wants to edit her post after people have liked or retweeted it, then all the previous likes or retweets get temporarily invalidated. And then those users who liked or retweeted the uncorrected version earlier will have the corrected tweet show back up in their feed the same way they get "You might like" or "In case you missed it..." prompts now, with the option to re-retweet or to re-like. Something like "Still like these tweets...?" The liker or retweeter can then say "Oh, yeah, I like that edited version" and then redo the like or retweet... or just leave it as is.

For a popular Twitter account, this will be essentially a non-issue, as long as the tweet edit is used to correct an obvious typo and not to completely change the content.

Use Case

Celebrity tweets at 13:05 and notices at 13:10 she's made a grammatical error. By then, the tweet has already been liked by 20,000 people and retweeted 1,500 times. She makes her edit at 13:10, and all of those 20,000 likes and 1,500 retweets get temporarily invalidated. The subsequent 615,343 likes and 50,231 retweets for the newly edited tweet stand. And then the original early likes/retweets will show up in those users' feeds once to see if they approve of the new edit.

Technical Implementation

I don't know the inner workings of Twitter, but I'd imagine there's a database table for each tweet that has at least a unique tweet ID, the tweet itself, the ID of the user who originally tweeted it, and the timestamp of when it was tweeted. To implement this feature, another timestamp could be added to indicate when the tweet was last edited (null would be the default to indicate it was never edited).

There's probably also another table in the database for retweets and yet another for likes. Each of those probably already has a timestamp, so there would have to be some kind of process that gets triggered immediately when the edit is submitted that would search for records of that tweet ID that were before the edit timestamp, and then put a boolean value of true (this would be a new table field) for requires_verification for the likes and retweets tables.

There would also have to be some kind of cron job that would run periodically to see which requires_verification tweet-likes and retweets to pop back up in users' feeds, but that infrastructure is already in place for the "You might like" or "In case you missed it..." prompts.


Be a problem-solver, not a naysayer. Too many people hung up on it being done in an obvious way and then dismissing that implementation instead of thinking "Maybe there's another way." I don't claim to have the solutions to everything. In fact, I'm often in awe of the amazing solutions others come up with that I never could have, which is why I'm shocked no one (that I've seen anyway) has proposed this solution to the edit-tweets problem yet.