Quote MLK fully or don't quote him at all

I keep running into white people who cherry pick quotes about non-violence from MLK or twist his words into admonishments to Black people. White people: please stop doing this. There are thousands of famous white Americans to quote if you'd like to talk down to Black people. If you feel the need to use an historical figure to bolster white supremacy, why not pick a quote or two from Jefferson, Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, or even Abe Lincoln. But MLK was a radical who had few words of kindness for white people of his time, particularly the white liberals and moderates.

To give you a sense for what I'm getting at, allow me to quote the real MLK, from his book Where Do We Go From Here? On the need for white empathy
[I]f the present chasm of hostility, fear and distrust is to be bridged, the white man must begin to walk in the pathways of his black brothers and feel some of the pain and hurt that throb without letup in their daily lives.
This is what we're getting at with #BlackLivesMatter. This is precisely what is missed when white people callously and reflexively cry "white lives matter" or ask about Black-on-Black crime, not realizing that they are simultaneously turning a deaf ear to the cries of their Black brothers and sisters, their fellow citizens, but also refocusing the discussion on whiteness while criminalizing Blackness. Talk about a dick move. The King I'm learning about had no patience for this.

One common observation by white people defending their racial innocence is summarized and refuted thusly:
Insensitive whites say: "Other immigrant groups such as the Irish, Jews and the Italians started out with similar handicaps, and yet still made it. Why haven't the Negroes done the same?" These questioners refuse to see that the situation of other immigrant groups a hundred years ago and the situation of the Negro today cannot be usefully compared. Negroes were brought here in chains long before the Irish decided voluntarily to leave Ireland or the Italians thought of leaving Italy. Some Jews may have left their homes in Europe involuntarily, but they were not in chains when they arrived on these shores. Other immigrant groups came to America with language and economic handicaps, but not with the stigma of color [of Blackness]. Above all, no other ethnic group has been a slave on American soil, and no other group has had its family structure deliberately torn apart. This is the rub.
So please stop with the "I have a dream" quotes. This is the true King, who was able to see whiteness and the attendant ignorance of history, as a barrier to justice. The truth lies not in ignoring color, not in "colorblindness," not in present white liberal conceptions of "one race the human race." Instead
[t]he value in pulling racism out of its obscurity and stripping it of its rationalizations lies in the confidence that it can be changed. To live with the pretense that racism is a doctrine of a very few is to harm us in fighting it frontally as scientifically unsound, morally repugnant and socially destructive...[R]edemption can only come through a humble acknowledgement of guilt.
He wasn't talking to Black people who call white people "white people" when addressing the doctrine of racism, which somehow has become white people's new definition of racism, frequently deployed against social justice activists.

No, King knew what was up. If he were on Twitter, he'd come down hard on these fools because he was in the business frontally challenging white supremacy. Not attributing it the doctrine of a few hood-wearing monsters, but the commonly held worldview of an entire people in this country.

So, in his view, what was needed for change? Improved police training? Less dependence on the "welfare state?" Destruction of affirmative action programs? No, King's view of the path forward was far more radical
Justice for black people will not flow into society merely from court decisions nor from fountains of political oratory. Nor will a few token changes quell all the tempestuous yearnings of millions of disadvantaged black people. White America must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society. The comfortable, the entrenched, the privileged cannot continue to tremble at the prospect of change in the status quo.
Social justice, y'all. It won't come easily, and we certainly won't get there with white people cherry picking quotes from my Black hero.

On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…

The Long Con

Hiding in Plain Sight

ESPN has a series of sports documentaries called 30 For 30. One of my favorites is called Broke which is about how professional athletes often make tens of millions of dollars in their careers yet retire with nothing. One of the major "leaks" turns out to be con artists, who lure athletes into elaborate real estate schemes or business ventures. This naturally raises the question: In a tightly-knit social structure that is a sports team, how can con artists operate so effectively and extensively? The answer is quite simple: very few people taken in by con artists ever tell anyone what happened. Thus, con artists can operate out in the open with little fear of consequences because they are shielded by the collective silence of their victims.
I can empathize with this. I've lost money in two different con schemes. One was when I was in college, and I received a phone call that I had won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. All I needed to do was p…