81 Comments

Dear Kareem, Whether can make the dance move or not, you will still be Hip!

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This old white lady is so glad she discovered your epistles. So well written. Inspiring. Timely. Accurate. Thank you, Kareem. You make a difference.

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As usual, a fantastic essay to start my day. For those who don't follow him, I highly recommend Robert Reich's substack. I thought of him while reading this - he grew up with Michael Schwerner and has written about it a few times.

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Excellent journey on why we need Black History Month. If white people actually knew details about how we've treated Black America, we'd be horrified and repulsed. As we should be. But it's easy to ignore the uncomfortable.

You are as gifted a writer as you were a basketball player. And an even greater thinker. Love your column.

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Always get excited to see a new Kareem piece. In today’s missive about police using AI, there appeared “ In addition, we have a tendency to be more receptive to anything that sounds scientific, even if it is completely baseless.”. I immediately thought of the vaccine resistance and climate change denialism championed by so many of my fellow citizens and only wished we really were more receptive to scientific data.

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Using DNA to “create” a suspect’s face should be unconstitutional! Being called a “junk” science, is inherently, an oxymoron! That is why I avoid all computerized face recognitions for identity…I’ve already shared my parent’s history, when trying to register to vote. I failed to mention the water stains on my mother’s coat, from the sprinkler system turned upon them. Unfortunately, there remains a barrier to the Black vote, but it is a struggle where one cannot become weary. It would be too unfair to Schwerner, Chaney, Goodman, Dr King, Mrs. Liuzzo, and others, who gave their lives, just so I could partake in that “American promise.”

Speaking of Barbara Jordan, if one wants to hear the greatest oratory in reasons for impeachment, listen to her introduction on “Articles for Impeachment of Richard Nixon,” 1974. Fabulous!

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Ditto to starting my day with your writing -- a sheer pleasure that teaches and makes you think, too. Particularly loved this one. Couldn't agree more about Do The Right Thing; it was a world-historical fiasco (and very telling about the state of racial consciousness in the entertainment industry circa 1990) when Lee's movie was left out of the Oscar race in the same year that Driving Miss Daisy won best picture. And a great, new-to-me story about the "I have a dream" speech. Anyway, thank you for the Black History lessons and for your brilliant, passionate writing.

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That Nicholas brothers clip is outrageous! I had never seen the entire number - only the descending stairs splits. Wow! Thank you for sharing.

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Kareem you have about as much chance of making one of the Nicholas Brothers moves, as they would have had completing a sky hook over Moses Malone. Both performances a thing of beauty.

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I was going to tell you that of course you'll be able to dance with the Nicholas Brothers as long as you keep up with your PT, but then they started jumping over each other down those stairs, straight into splits, over and over, and I realized that nope, you and I and most of the world aren't going to be doing that stuff anytime soon. Wow! They are/were amazing.

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Amazing how you have woven together the beauty of art and the ugliness of racism in another powerful and entertaining essay. Thanks for the perspective on Black History Month, having never heard about its early twentieth century roots.

Spotlighting the murders of the three men attempting to register black voters is especially relevant during this year’s Black History Month. What is still palpable to those of us old enough to recall having learned of these efforts is forgotten or unknown ancient history to many young voters today. (Which explains why we desperately need Black History Month .)

As a former prosecutor I became aware of the CSI Effect first hand when confronted by jurors who fully expected dazzling Hollywood special effects evidence when only routine testimony was available.

The ingenuity shown by some in law enforcement to devise shortcuts based upon their own “gut instincts/ hunches/personal experiences “ never ceases to amaze. If only that effort was used to fully investigate and fairly analyze cases instead.

Loved the use of tapping as musical percussion in the bravura performance by the Nicholas brothers . Don’t try that at home Kareem.

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Thanks for pointing out the use of "junk science" to destroy people's lives with erroneous suspicion, accusations, and convictions for crimes--being the target of investigation alone can be harmful to people's lives. Too little attention is paid to this subject. Small correction--the source you cite for estimated percent of wrongful convictions actually has 0.5% rather than 5%--that would account for the low number of people relative to the actual prison population. It should be noted that we don't really know the numbers. The Innocence Project website has used 1% as the estimate, Prof. Sam Gross of U-Mich law school published a paper that estimated 4% in murder cases, and an Urban Institute study of sexual assault cases in Virginia included it was over 11% for those cases. Your fundamental point is absolutely correct: the need to call out, resist, oppose, and block the use of junk science--the costs to human lives and the concept of justice are unacceptable. Thank you.

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Oh Kareem, thank you for reminding me of the incomparable Barbara Jordan. I can still hear her marvelous voice from the Watergate hearings when she discussed “the diminution of the Constitution”. And the Nicholas brothers doing full splits all the way down the stairs—priceless!

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Feb 6·edited Feb 6

I loved your comments on junk science, Kareem. A good education, including an honest and full understanding of history, an understanding of science and the scientific method, and critical reading and thinking skills, is anathema to the kind of authoritarian state that the Right is seeking to create.

I remember that in the late 60s (when I walked picket lines with my HS teachers) the struggle was already on, to underfund the public schools in Los Angeles, a struggle that the Right has initiated all over this country.

We can draw a straight, bright line between that struggle to the inability of voters to tell junk science, such as this fake profiling, from real science, such as the reality of climate destruction and the public-health needs for vaccination and masking during Covid. And, ultimately all the way to the gaslighting behavior of the Trump administration and the destruction of trust in and support of fine journalism.

We cannot have a democracy under these circumstances - and this has been the plan the Right has had for a half century. They have all but destroyed the ability to make healthy voting choices, other than to reject any candidate whose party affiliation is not Democrat.

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Thank you for all this, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It all complemented gratitude for the parents (z”l) I was fortunate to have. I am reading Norman Lear’s autobiography (“Even This I Get To Experience”) in which he mentions his first awareness of antiSemitism bc of Father Coughlin’s radio screeds. My parents tried to explain hate to me through those broadcasts and taking me to see “Birth of a Nation.” Very young (born the same year you were) then, they talked about housing, redlining, other hate.

How will the children in too many US states not exposed to ideas and discussions ever learn unless someone exposes them? How will we gain educated voters who know the sacrifices to get there?

You expressed and gave us education and joy and passion. Now we must act.

Thank you.

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Embracing that guilt keeps us from making the same horrific mistakes again, is why we need Black History Month.

YES!!!!!!

And this from a 1st generation American.

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