The whitewashing of the violence that took place on January 6 marks a greater threat to our democracy than the riot itself

The violent mob that forcefully breached the halls of Congress on January 6 — assaulting officers of the law, trespassing on and destroying government property, and literally obstructing the process of democracy — consisted of more than just “protesters.”

(Protester, n. someone who shows that they disagree with something by standing somewhere, shouting, carrying signs, etc. — Cambridge English Dictionary)

And yet the initial instinct of many Americans, even when explicitly acknowledging the violence perpetrated that day, was…


Biden’s use of “Inshallah” in the first Presidential debate was far more radical and meaningful than commentators have thus far appreciated.

Biden to Trump: Inshallah we’ll see your taxes

“Inshallah,” an Arabic word that literally means “if God wills it,” expresses hope that something will come to pass in the future. The term can also be used to avoid committing to an action or to equivocate, as in “I may do this in some unspecified future, but I’m not making any concrete promises.”

Biden’s use of “Inshallah” was spot on: in the stroke of a word, he conveyed that Trump’s promises to release his tax returns were utterly…


From 2012 to 2016, the white “base” of the Republican party pivoted from free trade, fiscal prudence, a globally active military, and an unshakable commitment to NATO and our allies in Asia to protectionism, unbridled spending, isolationism, and Russophilia — all on a dime.

What has been consistent in the party’s rhetoric?

Republican leaders’ resignation to U.S. House candidates Marjorie Greene of Georgia and Laura Loomer of Florida points to the answer: ugly dog whistle politics stoking fear of any threat to racial hegemony. Initially spurned by the Republican party, Greene evokes the image of black and brown drug dealers…


Tom Cotton’s rehearsal of the founding father’s acceptance of Southern slavery reveals a persistent pathology in American attitudes towards race

According to Tom Cotton, “We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country. As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.”

The scars of Peter a whipped man who escaped slavery, Louisiana 1863

Cotton’s repetition of the phrase “necessary evil” here isn’t merely citational; it rehearses…


The brutal killing of George Floyd has prompted wide-ranging conversations about elements of systemic racism in our society. I want to flag one such element at the heart of our higher education system, perhaps to spur some conversations here and elsewhere with fellow academics.

Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy, cited in “A History of Grade Inflation,” New York Times, July 14, 2011

I have long suspected that grade inflation in the humanities marks a subtle and so all the more insidious contributor to the persistent racial hierarchy in our country. To begin with, the compression of grade ranges at the college level serves a certain class: students possessing the basic academic literacy that attends a privileged socioeconomic upbringing…


Republicans like Tim Scott and Ben Carson assert that the killing of Rayshard Brooks is “different” and so, they imply, at least in some respects justifiable.

The implication is clear: disobey or run from the police and they have the right to shoot and kill you — even if they know you are not bearing a lethal weapon.

It’s instructive to compare the killing of Brooks with the treatment of Joseph Parker, a white man who resisted arrest and assaulted a police officer in Massachusetts: “During a routine traffic stop in the early hours of Tuesday, Aug. 11, Joseph M…


Tom Cotton, with the silent consent of his colleagues, has threatened to “send in the military” into American cities, giving “no quarter” to violent actors in order to restore “order.” Trump has made similar statements.

Cotton, who has Presidential ambitions, proposes to deploy troops under a law from the early days of our Republic that allows a military response to an “insurrection.” But the acts of violence we have witnessed in no way represent a threat to the state, much less an organized revolution aimed at overthrowing the government. (See the definition of “insurrection.”)

Troops Deployed in Washington, D.C.

If peaceful protestors have given cover…


Much of the discourse in the wake of the murder of George Floyd includs diplomatic or defensive references to the violence perpetrated by a few bad actors “on both sides.”

There is a false equivalence here. The police force is an institution — an arm of the state meant to exercise legal violence as required to enforce the law. We are bound as citizens to condemn that institution when it engages in systematic and unlawful brutality, especially where a particular minority group suffers and even more so where that violence reflects a broader racialist pathology pervasive at all levels of…


On behalf of the Muslim community, we stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. We completely reject this hate and this fear that outsiders seek to instill within our community, within our country.” This from Omar Suleiman, resident scholar at the Valley Ranch Islamic Center, at tonight’s beautiful multi-faith press conference in Dallas. I wish such events, which featured Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders as well as a number of local politicians, were broadcast or at least reported nationally.

The outpouring of support for the victims of the Orlando shootings from Muslim communities all over the country, including many gay…


The Mascot Newspaper, Late 19th century

In 1891 the New York Times, echoing the longstanding anti-immigrant sentiment of newspapers like The Mascot, expressed sympathy for a New Orleans mob that lynched nearly a dozen Italian-Americans. The Times immediately and with little evidence caricatured the Italian-Americans as “mafia” deserving of their extrajudicial fate.

According to writer David Pachioli, the lynching was in fact precipitated not by actions of the mafia, but “by a rivalry between two groups of Italian dockworkers. When the city’s police chief was shot and killed shortly before he was to testify against one of these groups, Italian males in the city were rounded…

Hassanaly Ladha

Hassanaly Ladha is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store