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Say No to Hate: Josh McLaurin

A decline in trust. We're losing opportunities to get to know each other. We spend all kinds of time and money creating our own private, secluded spaces, both in the physical world and online, where we don't have to encounter people who look or think differently than we do.

Josh McLaurin is an attorney in Atlanta who has been active in statewide and Congressional politics.

Say No To Hate 1

Josh McLaurin: A decline in trust. We're losing opportunities to get to know each other. We spend all kinds of time and money creating our own private, secluded spaces, both in the physical world and online, where we don't have to encounter people who look or think differently than we do. This hurts our ability to develop compassion for other people, which in turn makes it so much more difficult for us to tackle any other social ill. Although Atlanta faces plenty of serious challenges, I think our clogged roads are a powerful symbol of this type of isolation. If Atlanta had more comprehensive public transit options, it would do more than just improve quality of life or the economy — it would allow us truly to share a sense of community with the people who live around us. I think we'd find that feeling of belonging in a community to be much more satisfying than sitting in traffic alone for hours. And likewise, if we're honest, our history of foot-dragging on transit hasn't been about economics or quality of life. It's about our fear of sharing, of getting to know each other.

Say No To Hate 2

Josh McLaurin: Somehow, we need to rebuild a culture that values engagement with diverse people in public spaces. We're good at this when it comes to sports and concerts, but we could do better. It means looking for opportunities to get to know our neighbors, both who live on the same street and who join community organizations serving similar interests and needs. No one can pass a law to make this happen, though. We have to want it. I'm hopeful that we will.

Say No To Hate 3

Josh McLaurin: Almost everyone shows reverence for the phrase "civil disobedience" now, as if it were always so accepted by the majority as a legitimate means to protest. The reason it worked in the '60s, however, is because it was a disruptive tactic that shook the majority to get the majority's attention. We must never oppose the means chosen by grassroots activists merely because they are uncomfortable to us or challenge us — in fact, that's the only way we get change.

But in an age where social media has encouraged us to grab way more attention than we could ever realistically use, I think activists have to be careful not to pursue tactics that have shock value or impose real pain on others simply for the sake of the disruption they cause. The young men who sat at the lunch counter at the Greensboro Woolworth in 1960 were not threatening anyone or asking for anything other than equal treatment. The only threat they posed was to others' unjustified sense of entitlement and racist hierarchies. The challenge for activists today is to make clear moral statements in public space that challenge all manner of social ills without infringing upon the rights of others.

Say No To Hate 4

Josh McLaurin: It's useful but dangerous. Useful because it connects us and allows us to share ideas and inspiration more than ever before; dangerous because it creates the illusion that we no longer need to find each other in person, or in other meaningful ways, to survive as a community. A great example of both the usefulness and limitations of social media is the onset of the Arab Spring protests and demonstrations from 2010. In a way that never before was possible, protesters made use of Twitter to organize and coordinate their protests. But Twitter itself didn't change the politics of the North African and Middle Eastern countries affected by the movement — it was the millions of people who put their bodies at risk in the streets who changed the course of history there. Politics changes when real people take real risks to show how much they believe in the need for change.

The last two questions were intentionally left blank.




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Sunday August 26, 2018 03:18 pm EDT
One of the most important problems facing Americans today is our loss of focus on living together as one nation. Because we are more divided in many ways, we are losing ground in the global landscape and will not be able to compete on a global scale if we don't figure out how to work in accordance with one another. | more...

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Sunday August 26, 2018 03:30 pm EDT
There are so many problems we’re facing, it’s overwhelming: systemic racism, sexism, ageism, inequity, homelessness, marginalization, immigration policy, school shootings/gun violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, climate change … this is an incomplete list, and I feel sick to my stomach thinking about it. Much of it stems from hatred and fear of “the other.” It feels like we’ve lost a basic sense of human decency. | more...

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Monday August 27, 2018 04:37 pm EDT
I want very badly to name the issues of poverty, wealth inequality, and class oppression, but all of these are intertwined with, and compounded by, the problem of race, difference, and grappling honestly with America’s history and identity. I have a metaphor for this process, it is a cracked egg with the yoke running long. | more...

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Monday August 27, 2018 05:43 pm EDT
Healthcare is a human right.  That means ensuring that every person doesn’t just have access to health care, but has the ability to afford health care. | more...

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Monday August 27, 2018 06:10 pm EDT
Apathy towards injustice is toxic. We have become so entangled in conversational clouds on social media that we honestly feel that ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ are making a direct impact. This helps to a certain degree, but it does not solve the problems plaguing our nation today. | more...

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Tuesday August 28, 2018 08:27 am EDT
The biggest problem facing Americans today is the stark difference between where we have made progress in this country under the Obama Administration and where the Trump Administration is going. With regards to the Trump Administration right now on immigration and voting rights, we believe they are moving in a direction against the values of most Americans. | more...

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Tuesday August 28, 2018 08:38 am EDT
I believe that racial discord remains the most divisive issue facing Americans. It continues to suppress wages for all and promotes anger that leads to violence within the oppressed communities. Remove racist symbolism and implement long-term remedies to counter the long-term legacies of discrimination. | more...

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Tuesday August 28, 2018 08:54 am EDT
Of all the global issues facing us, including biggies like climate change and nuclear war, what troubles me currently is the rise of fascism in governments around the world. This is what also troubles me about America. People are emboldened to openly discriminate and hate because our elected officials represent values of hate. | more...

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Tuesday August 28, 2018 02:38 pm EDT
The most important problem facing Americans today is partisan politics that removes empathy from the conversation toward compromise on the real issues that are affecting everyday Americans. Everything is viewed through the lens of tribal political division, when the solutions to most problems facing the nation can be solved through bipartisan collaboration. | more...

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Tuesday August 28, 2018 02:50 pm EDT
There are so many things that need to be fixed but somehow we need to stop the OTHER mentality. Trying to embrace difference — and understanding that our differences are what make us stronger — will lead to a better unity within our populations. We spend so much time hating and singling out those that are different. If we used that energy to come together we could make a better life for all of us. | more...

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Tuesday August 28, 2018 03:53 pm EDT
The continued oppression of marginalized people. | more...

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Tuesday August 28, 2018 04:50 pm EDT
Atlanta and America have never participated in reparations for its genocide, land theft, and displacement of indigenous peoples, its kidnapping and enslavement of African peoples, or its destabilization, colonization and assassinations in other nations. So, in 2018, what we are still faced with is the displacement, incarceration, and murder of black and brown people in this city, this country, and this globe. | more...

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Tuesday August 28, 2018 05:06 pm EDT
The most important problem facing all of us is our increasing inability to work with and get along with those who don't share our views. I know it's a cliché, but "United we stand, divided we fall." | more...

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Tuesday August 28, 2018 05:24 pm EDT
The most serious issue for all Americans is the very real risk of our democracy being taken away, which is happening on a daily basis. There are so many issues: racism, human rights, climate change denial, guns, income equality, lack of a universal heathcare system, police brutality, tearing refugee families apart and putting them in interment camps, our status in the world and how we interact with other nations, and a government party in charge that refuses to act in the best interest of the American people. | more...

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Wednesday August 29, 2018 08:05 am EDT
The greatest problem facing USA citizens today, is how to become a global citizen without having an imperialist or colonial mentality. The greatest problem facing Atlanta today is how to move from the white and black mentality to become a multicultural city in action and not in words only. | more...

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Wednesday August 29, 2018 08:25 am EDT
Greed. The only consistent measure of success is wealth. If you’re so good, so smart, so talented, why aren’t you rich? Why should anybody listen to you? You’re accomplished, but if you’re poor, you haven’t “succeeded.” Rich, therefore smart. Rich, therefore good. There’s a paucity of everything, so you’d better have dough. If you’re needy, it’s because that’s what you deserve. Loss of wealth is loss of power, loss of status. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 08:40 am EDT
The most important problem is the denial of the problem. Most white people have been lulled into the myth of a “post-racial” America. Research on implicit bias and the persistence of numerous forms of institutional racism, including in the criminal justice system, demonstrate the reality of racism in 2018. A much greater threat than hate crimes and organized white supremacists is our inability to address core issues like white privilege and internalized white supremacy. We cannot progress until we have that honest reckoning. Atlanta paints itself as the city “too busy to hate,” but it’s been too busy to do the real work to begin to heal the very old wounds of its racist history. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 08:53 am EDT
The most important problem facing Americans today is the pervasive ideology of white settler colonialism. By this I mean that we live with a way of thinking brought over to America that goes back as far as the English Reformation in the 16th century — the belief that God has ordained a select group of white people to claim land — regardless of who might already have been on it — as a God-given right. | more...

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Wednesday August 29, 2018 09:21 am EDT
"The most important problem facing Americans today" is that we have so many problems that rotate in and out of first place that we cannot choose and therefore cannot answer the question. The second part of the question is easier (for me). Atlanta's most important problem is a subset of a national problem.  | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 02:45 pm EDT
A decline in trust. We're losing opportunities to get to know each other. We spend all kinds of time and money creating our own private, secluded spaces, both in the physical world and online, where we don't have to encounter people who look or think differently than we do. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 03:12 pm EDT
The most urgent problem facing not just Atlanta, but all of humanity, is the fact the U.S. is now ruled by a fascist regime (Trump/Pence) set on reshaping society in a way that will be catastrophic for humanity and the planet. | more...

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Wednesday August 29, 2018 03:23 pm EDT
The rise of white supremacy. | more...

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Wednesday August 29, 2018 03:52 pm EDT
How to get people to follow The Real Donna J. Trump instead of Donald J. Trump. This is true throughout the world. | more...

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Wednesday August 29, 2018 04:14 pm EDT
One of the most important problems facing America is the widening income inequality/economic mobility gap. For many, the “American Dream” is just that, a dream they will never realize. Many of the social and political challenges we are dealing with today stem from this problem. | more...

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Wednesday August 29, 2018 04:40 pm EDT
The list is long and it’s all really important. But most of the things on that list have a root cause, and I think it’s greed. People’s desire for power and wealth outweighs their humanity and their ability to see humanity in others. | more...
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