Category: Everything Else

Are artists taking a knee ahead of the Super Bowl halftime show?

Travis Scott is reportedly booked, but some fans – possibly even Jay-Z – are opposed to it

Cardi B performs during the 2018 Z100 Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden on December 7, 2018 in New York City. Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

By David Dennis, Jr.

Update: TMZ is reporting that Travis Scott has signed on to join Maroon 5 for the group’s Super Bowl LIII halftime performance. The decision certainly adds some hip-hop weight to the show, as Scott has had a massive year, dropping his critically acclaimed No. 1 album Astroworld, and selling out tour dates across the country. 

However, Meek Mill has already spoken out against the decision, and fans are also pointing out that it’s only natural for Scott to strive for even more mainstream attention, given his relationship with Kylie Jenner (the couple has a child together). 

Now, the NFL has a hip-hop star, weeks of social media publicity thanks to whatever the Kardashians have up their sleeves, and the perception that they do, in fact, welcome urban acts. My prediction: Scott proposes to Jenner onstage.

Variety is also reporting that Jay-Z is trying to talk Scott out of performing.

The NFL may have an accidental decentralized protest on its hands as performing artists take a metaphorical knee ahead of Super Bowl LIII’s halftime show on Feb. 3 in Atlanta. Artists are doing this either in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, or because performing at the show doesn’t do much for their actual or cultural bottom lines. And the league has no one to blame but itself.

In September, a month after news broke that Maroon 5 would be the headliner, speculation abounded as to who might be the special guest or co-headliner. In October, US Weekly reported that Rihanna turned down an offer to perform, citing solidarity with Kaepernick. Over the summer, Jay-Z, who has been vocal about his solidarity with the exiled quarterback, made it known that he’d previously declined to perform at a Super Bowl. And just this week, Variety reports that upward of six acts, from Mary J. Blige to André 3000 have been offered the opportunity to perform with Maroon 5. All, at this time, and citing various reasons, have turned it down.

Jay-Z rapped about the NFL’s biggest musical showcase on his and Beyoncé’s recent, Grammy-nominated “Ape S—”: I said no to the Super Bowl / You need me, I don’t need you / Every night / We in the end zone / Tell the NFL / We in stadiums too. The lyric isn’t hyperbole either, as Jay-Z and Beyonce’s 2018 On the Run II tour grossed upward of $150 million as they performed at stadiums around the world. Yes, even including the very same Mercedes-Benz Stadium that will host the Super Bowl in Atlanta.

The message is clear: These artists, especially the many hip-hop and urban acts on the bill, just aren’t valuable enough for the main stage.

The NFL has yet to make a declaration, but the unofficial officialannouncement about Maroon 5 was met with near universal confusion and/or disdain. Yes, they’ve been platinum recording artists since their 2002 Songs About Jane, and have headlined seven tours. Regardless, though, having them headline the halftime show is another instance of the NFL picking white or non-urban artists when any number of as-successful black artists would fit.

As the NFL — even with rebounding ratings — loses black cultural cachet (which in so many ways determines overall American cultural cachet), some black artists who may have previously seen the Super Bowl show as a way to reach a wider audience don’t really need it. Artists such as Beyoncé — with 121 million Instagram followers, and Rihanna with 66 million — nearly reach daily the amount of people (roughly 100 million people a year) who watch the Super Bowl in a given year.

The NFL has been at best reluctant and at worst discriminatory in its avoidance of urban artists headlining the halftime show since Justin Timberlake snatched off a piece of Janet Jackson’s top, exposing her breast during Super Bowl XXVII in 2004. It would be three years before another black artist (Prince) even touched the stage, and a rapper has yet to be named as a headliner — despite hip-hop/R&B being America’s foremost cultural music genre, surpassing rock in 2017 (the elephant in the room being the Black Eyed Peas, who headlined in 2011, but they are led by a white female vocalist, and were releasing a brand of music that was hip-hop adjacent at best).

Instead, the NFL has largely opted for legacy acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and The Who, and new pop from Katy Perry, who appeal to so-called middle American audiences. The situation reeks of a league that wants to appeal to its white fan base while ignoring the black fans who are dedicated to it — not to mention the majority of people who play in it. This is the same criticism the league has dealt with in relation to its handling of the Kaepernick protests and the ongoing refusal to rehire him after he kneeled during the national anthem to protest the police brutality and systemic inequality faced by people of color in the United States.

And it’s not like people don’t feel that energy. Take, for instance, Cardi B, who appeared on Maroon 5’s chart-topping “Girls Like You” and seemed a sure bet to join them in their set for the seemingly annual Urban Performer Who Outshines The Vanilla Headliner While Not Being Billed As A Headliner Invitational. But back in February, TMZ cameras caught up with the then still-relative newcomer and asked her — rather sarcastically — when she’d perform in the Super Bowl and she said that she would “when they hire Colin Kaepernick back.”

The situation was easy to dismiss because the idea of Cardi B (known back then for Love & Hip-Hop, and one hit about bloody shoes) being a big enough star for the big game was a long shot. Now, though, as Billboard’s Top New Artist, with seven current Grammy nominations, and a record-breaking year in sales and streaming, Cardi B could surely headline. However, she’s yet to commit to Maroon 5 or the NFL. In September, TMZ reported that Cardi B would only perform if given her own set.

The booking of Grammy-winning Maroon 5 for the 2019 Super Bowl is even more of a transgression given that majority-black Atlanta is an African-American cultural capital with a rich history of music that has dominated the American music scene for most of the 21st century. So it’s absolutely a slap to not have a global superstar from ATL — Usher, TLC, Ludacris, Outkast, or Monica — get the Super Bowl halftime showcase.


The first Bud Light Super Bowl Festival will take place from the Thursday to the Saturday before the game and will feature Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Migos and Ludacris. One night will also feature Aerosmith, who headlined the Super Bowl in 2001.

So it’s clear that the NFL understands there’s a demand to see these acts, both locally and for the swarm of fans who will enter Atlanta for the event. The message is clear, however: These artists, especially the many hip-hop and urban acts on the bill, just aren’t valuable enough for the main stage. So here, perform for our fans off camera. “Between bringing some of the biggest acts out there right now,” said a Budweiser rep, “along with some local Atlanta flavor, we hope that we can give people a chance to come together, drink a few beers and have an unforgettable experience during Super Bowl weekend.”

The situation reeks of a league that wants to appeal to its white fan base while ignoring the black fans who are dedicated to it — not to mention the majority of people who play in it.

But there’s another concert series, curated by Grammy-winningAtlanta legend Jermaine Dupri. He’s collaborated with everyone from Mariah Carey to Usher to Jay Z, and was recently inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Organized by the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee seemingly in direct response to the local artists’ halftime snubs, the concert, free to the public, will be held the week leading up to the game and is set to be a true ode to Atlanta culture with artists such as the Ying Yang Twins, Goodie Mob, Waka Flocka and more to be announced. “I don’t care what anybody say,” Dupri told Atlanta last week, “besides what the people of Atlanta feel is being represented with this show.”

So, sure, the Super Bowl bump exists, with artists enjoying sizable boosts in streams and YouTube views post-performance. That was the major selling point to persuade artists to foot the bill and do a show pro bono for the NFL (the league covers production costs). But such a national TV audience isn’t as important for artists who have many other ways to reach fans in 2018, and especially for black artists who have to weigh the pros and cons of the crossover exposure of a halftime show compared with the potential backlash of looking like a sellout for teaming up with an NFL that has earned the ire of so many black Americans.

Twenty-five years ago, Michael Jackson changed the Super Bowl halftime show forever, transforming the event from a negligible, boring few minutes featuring local marching bands and dancers to a must-see spectacle of the most popular musicians in American history. For these 2½ decades, it has seemed impossible that we’d ever get to a point in which the Super Bowl halftime show would ever lose relevance again. But thanks to the NFL’s handling of the black artists who are at the forefront of pop music and the black fans who support them, the unthinkable is on the horizon: a Super Bowl halftime show that it simply isn’t worth it for artists to be a part of. And one in which fans opt to re-up on pizza and nachos instead of tuning in.

David Dennis, Jr. is a writer and adjunct professor of Journalism at Morehouse College. David’s writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Smoking Section, Uproxx, Playboy, The Atlantic, and wherever people argue about things on the Internet.

Judge Rips Flynn, Asks About Treason Before Delaying Sentencing For Lying To FBI

The former national security adviser to President Donald Trump admitted to lying about his contacts with the Russians.

By Ryan J. Reilly

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 12: Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor, waits for an elevator in the lobby at Trump Tower, December 12, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON ― A judge tore into Michael Flynn Tuesday before delaying the sentencing of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser and prominent campaign supporter for lying to the FBI.

Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, was an early supporter of the Trump campaign, and infamously called for the incarceration of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during his speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

He came under scrutiny for a variety of potential criminal activities, and reached a plea deal in December 2017 with the special counsel team led by Robert Mueller. As part of the deal, he agreed to cooperate and admitted making fraudulent statements in an interview with FBI agents at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017. Flynn stepped down as national security adviser in mid-February 2017, less than a month into the Trump presidency, because the White House says he misled officials there about his contacts with the Russians.

“I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense,” U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in Washington told Flynn.

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has admitted to lying to the FBI.
Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has admitted to lying to the FBI.

Sullivan also walked through a number of procedural steps to make sure that Flynn was pleading guilty because he was guilty and not for any other reason. He seemed frustrated with many of the arguments from Flynn’s team that he suggested took away from Flynn’s supposed acceptance of responsibility for his crime.

Sullivan had Flynn admit, once again, that he had lied to the FBI and was pleading guilty because he was guilty. He gave Flynn ample opportunity to back out of his guilty plea, discussed with the prosecution the variety of other crimes Flynn could have faced, and said Flynn’s criminal exposure would have been “significant” had be been charged with the other offenses.

“This crime is very serious,” Sullivan said, noting that Flynn lied “In the White House! In the West Wing!” Flynn shouldn’t “minimize” his “very serious” offense, Sullivan said.

“Arguably, you sold your country out,” Sullivan told Flynn. He then asked the government whether undermining U.S. sanctions against Russia for their interference in the 2016 election could be considered treason, a suggestion the government didn’t want to weigh in on. (Soon after, the judge said he did not mean to suggest Flynn committed treason.)

Arguably, you sold your country out.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, speaking to Michael Flynn

After nearly two hours in the courtroom, the judge ended up agreeing to delay sentencing Flynn so the former adviser can cooperate further with Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as well as with a case against Flynn’s former business partner. Flynn will now be sentenced in March.

Flynn’s plea deal prevented his prosecution on a host of other potential charges. One example: An indictment against Flynn’s former business partner at The Flynn Group, Bijan Kian, was unsealed on Monday, the day before Flynn’s sentencing. That indictment, which refers to Flynn as “Person A,” says that Kian and Flynn worked together on an illegal campaign to do the bidding of the Turkish government, which was seeking to extradite a cleric living in the United States that the Turkish government accused of instigating a failed coup in 2016.

Flynn’s attorneys had argued for leniency ahead of his sentencing. Mueller’s team indicated it was open to a sentence in the range of zero to six months, but encouraged the court to reject Flynn’s “attempt to minimize” the seriousness of his crime.

“A sitting National Security Advisor, former head of an intelligence agency, retired Lieutenant General, and 33-year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents,” Mueller’s team wrote on Friday. “He does not need to be warned it is a crime to lie to federal agents to know the importance of telling them the truth.”

Is it safe for a black man to be the ‘good guy with a gun’?

                                           Why We Wrote This

Whom do Americans think of when they think of heroes? That’s one of the questions raised by recent tragedies in which black men tried to stop active shooters and police killed the good Samaritan rather than the criminal.

By Patrik Jonsson Staff writer @dixiebureau

On Thanksgiving night, a shooter opened fire at the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, Ala. Police killed one man.

But as has become increasingly clear, Emantic “E.J.” Bradford Jr. was one of the good guys.

The military veteran and legal gun carrier from Hueytown, Ala., was likely killed while trying to protect his fellow citizens, according to eyewitness reports. And for that, his family says, he died ignominiously. Police arrested the alleged shooter Thursday.

The Thanksgiving tragedy in Hoover, Ala., highlights an American problem: The deaths of black men, legally armed and who have committed no crime, at the hands of police. At a time when the president and guns rights activists have suggested that “good guys with guns” are a solution for stopping mass shooters, some black gun owners are wondering if “helping while black” is too dangerous.

“Black heroes don’t get the same deference that white heroes do,” says Chad King, an African-American IT worker and co-founder of the Black Bottom Gun Club in Detroit. “In fact, I wish that wide latitude of deference was extended to African-American heroes and victims in the same way that it is extended to white American perpetrators of mass shootings [who have been taken alive]. That is a gap that is irreconcilable to me. It can’t work like that.”

When the helpers get killed

The killing of Mr. Bradford is not a stand-alone example. Three days before his death, a young man named Jemel Roberson was buried in Illinois. An aspiring police officer and legal gun-carrier, Mr. Roberson singlehandedly apprehended a mass shooter at Manny’s Blue Room bar in Robbins, where Roberson worked as a security guard. A Midlothian police officer responded, and shot and killedRoberson. In June, Navy veteran Jason Washington was shot and killed by Portland State University police in Oregon, after reportedly trying to stop a fight outside a bar. Witnesses say Washington was trying to de-escalate the situation, including confiscating his friend’s gun. He had a pistol permit. A grand jury declined to indict the two officers involved.

“We now live in a time where there are no longer clear rules of engagement on the street for law enforcement, and where people who try to help often wind up suffering the most – for trying to help,” says Charles Rose, a law professor at Stetson University, in DeLand, Fla. “It also points to a fundamental problem in society: that a black man carrying a weapon is a suspect and a white man carrying a weapon is not always a suspect. That doesn’t speak to law enforcement. That speaks to American society.”

Studies have found that Americans are more likely to see armed black men more as threats than armed white men. Active shooter situations leave police officers little time and space to sift through biases.

“Cops have to assume that when they roll up on a situation everybody is armed, and you have to assume that anyone with a weapon that is not identified as a police officer is a potential threat,” says Professor Rose. “And those decisions have to be made in a split second.”

In both cases, law enforcement faulted the men – Bradford for allegedly “brandishing” his weapon, Roberson for not responding to police orders quickly enough. Investigations will determine whether eyewitness accounts agree with those assessments.

“One of the real issues here is that law enforcement cannot change the way they address people that they see with weapons in a shooting confrontation area. We can’t change our training or else we are going to suffer from that,” says Sheriff A.J. “Andy” Louderback of Jackson County in Texas. “Make no mistake, this is not a race issue. We have over a million concealed carry license permits in Texas alone and here we have two shootings where people happen to be black. But the way to address it is that we have millions who carry and who make that choice and accept that risk, and may not be handling law enforcement intervention correctly.”

Sheriff Louderback believes that license-to-carry programs should better train people on how to interact with law enforcement and to minimize risk.

“You know that law enforcement is coming to every shooting. It is just a matter of minutes, seconds, for them to get there,” he says. “What you do after that time frame is critical, and that’s the message.”

Even as a majority of states have embraced laws that support expanded gun and self-defense rights, the US is also seeing shifts in African-American perceptions about gun ownership. While the majority of African-Americans support gun control, Pew found that the percentage of black Americans who support gun rights rose from 18 percent in 1993 to 34 percent in 2014.

It also comes amid a philosophical clash among those who see themselves as armed protectors, also highlighted by the shooting at Riverchase: Bradford was trained as a soldier in deescalation techniques, but a different use of force paradigm was in operation on Thanksgiving.

“As a side effect of the global war on terror, the military is very well-trained in how to deal with noncombatants in volatile situations without having to engage in deadly force,” says Rose, a former US Army judge advocate. “US law enforcement is routinely trained to start with deadly force. Those two mindsets don’t cross-pollinate very well, and I don’t know that it’s law enforcement’s fault.”

The shootings have shocked communities and stunned police departments.

The mayor of Hoover and other officials offered an apology to Bradford’s family Tuesday for the city initially publicizing a false narrative that Bradford was the shooter. “The mayor was shaking like a leaf,” Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson told “The family was crying; the mayor was about to cry; I was crying.”

In Illinois, Midlothian Police Chief Daniel Delaney called Roberson “a brave man who was doing his best to end an active shooter situation.”

African-Americans and the Second Amendment

The victims “are the idealized armed citizens … yet time after time our law enforcement and our legal structures do not support their Second Amendment right,” says Harvard University historian Caroline Light, author of “Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense.” These tragic police shootings are “evidence of the massive gaping holes in our understanding of self-defense in the nation. It is about who is really allowed to protect and defend themselves, … [which] is exclusionary to its very core. No matter how law-abiding you are, a black man holding a gun is perceived as a criminal – not a good Samaritan or lawfully armed citizen.”

But even as departments assess the incidents – and state authorities investigate more deeply – the killings suggest an uncomfortable truth about the Second Amendment itself, historians say: That it was at least in part designed to give legal leeway to settlers to deal with Native Americans and to stamp out slave rebellions in the South. Echoes of that history still infiltrate the modern gun rights debate.

“The history of this country suggests that the Second Amendment [is] not intended for people like the gentleman in Alabama, which is why he got shot,” says Gerald Horne, author of “The Counter-Revolution of 1776.”

In researching her latest book, the University of Arizona gun culture expert Jennifer Carlson interviewed 79 US police chiefs. She found that active shooter scenarios especially are “scramb[ling] the racial politics of policing.” It leaves police chiefs “grasping for a narrative” that explains the “unpredictable vulnerability of active shooter situations.”

For one black gun owner, the shootings reinforce the broader struggle for police – and Americans more broadly – to address biases that become heightened when guns are drawn.

“There are 16 million concealed carry permit holders around the nation and less than two decades ago there were a minuscule amount, and the training has not caught up from the law enforcement side or the civilian side,” says Maj Toure, a Philadelphia hip-hop artist and founder of Black Guns Matter. “Meanwhile, the television has told you that the white dude with the AR-15 is supposed to have it. When you see a black guy with a gun, the ‘good guy with a gun’ goes out the window. There is conditioning involved, and we have to break that stigma.”

The white privilege of Chad Kelly

The former Broncos quarterback wouldn’t have made it this far in football if he wer a different color

By Martenzie Johnson

On Tuesday morning, Denver Broncos quarterback Chad Kelly was arrested for criminal trespassing after he entered the home of an Englewood, Colorado, man and woman at 1 a.m. and proceeded to sit down on the couple’s couch next to the woman, who was holding their young child. The man yelled at Kelly, who was “mumbling incoherently,” and hit the quarterback in the back with a vacuum cleaner tube before the 24-year-old left the residence and was later found in his SUV by police. Kelly was released by the Broncos on Wednesday morning, a year after the team invested a seventh-round draft pick in the former Ole Miss quarterback, possibly ending Kelly’s five-year collegiate and professional career, the latter of which might not have materialized if Kelly weren’t white.

There are certain qualities that NFL quarterbacks must check off to make it in the league. You must be accurate and capable of reading defensive coverages, possess a strong arm and pristine throwing mechanics, be a smart decision-maker, stand at least 6 feet tall and be a good team leader. If you’re a white quarterback, you can lack a few of those traits — such as mechanics and reading defenses (Tim Tebow), or accuracy and decision-making (Josh Allen) — and still be given an opportunity in the league. For African-Americans, if you’re missing more than one of those traits, you’re either quickly disposed from the league or asked to switch to a different position, as in the case of Baltimore Ravens quarterback/running back Lamar Jackson.

But for Kelly, the privilege of being both white and the nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly afforded him more opportunities and chances than any other mediocre quarterback in recent memory.

The Buffalo, New York, native was a four-star recruit coming out of high school with offers from Power 5 powerhouses Alabama, Florida State and Michigan State. He eventually signed with Clemson in 2012, but his stay was short. During the Tigers’ 2014 spring game, Kelly got into a sideline argument with his coaches over a fourth-down call. Sometime before that game, he told the coaching staff he’d quit football entirely if he weren’t named the starter (Kelly appeared in five games during the 2013 season). But after the spring game blowup, Kelly was kicked off the Clemson roster. His problems would not end there.

Kelly was arrested back in Buffalo eight months later after getting kicked out of a local restaurant, later attempting to re-enter the restaurant and then punching a bouncer after refusing to leave the restaurant a second time. According to police reports, Kelly, who had committed to Ole Miss a week before, allegedly threatened to “go to my car and get my AK-47 and spray this place.” Once police were called to the scene, Kelly “allegedly scuffled with officers while being removed from a pickup truck.” Fourteen unarmed black people have been shot and killed by police in 2018, yet threatening the deadly use of a military-grade assault rifle and wrestling with a police officer ended in 50 hours of community service and a starting job in Oxford, Mississippi.

In his first season at Ole Miss, Kelly threw for more than 4,000 yards and 31 touchdowns while leading the Rebels to a 10-3 record and a Sugar Bowl victory. The next year, though, he threw eight interceptions through just nine games before a torn anterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus ended his season; the Rebels were 4-5 at the time. That 2016 season was a disaster, and that was before Kelly bumrushed a Buffalo high school football field that December after opposing players issued late hits on Kelly’s younger brother.

The once-revered college prospect had regressed. An Ole Miss blog said Kelly “hasn’t been as accurate with the deep ball and has shown regression in decision making this season.” An draft profile said he was “inconsistent working through progressions” and “lacks desired size.” Black quarterbacks with those marks, such as Braxton Miller and Terrelle Pryor, are forced to change positions.

Regardless, Broncos general manager John Elway drafted Kelly 253rd overall in the NFL draft in April 2017 based heavily on whom Kelly was related to. Elway and Jim Kelly were both a part of the vaunted 1983 draft class and have remained friends ever since. It took one call to the elder Kelly to make Elway ignore every red flag associated with the draftee. “I called his uncle, and he said, ‘He’s a good kid,’ ” Elway said after the 2017 draft. “I said, ‘OK, that’s all I need.’ I trust Jim with that.”

To various decision-makers, no matter Kelly’s immaturity or penchant for violence and possible substance abuse, he’s been viewed as a “good kid.” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney — who had a freshman named Deshaun Watson waiting in the wings, which made his decision easier — hoped Kelly would “mature and grow” after kicking him off the team. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze called him “emotional” after the high school incident.

Character issues for black quarterbacks have been overlooked in the past, most notably JaMarcus Russell, but those players had otherworldly talent that, at the time, overshadowed any negative traits. But Kelly, who beat out Paxton Lynch in the offseason and very well could have replaced a struggling Case Keenum, wasn’t always viewed as a viable NFL option. Kelly was the last pick in the draft, after all.

It took nearly two seasons for the Broncos to realize Kelly couldn’t be counted on. Meanwhile, Josh Freeman has been out of football for three years, Robert Griffin III and Lamar Jackson are parked behind an (until recently) abysmal Joe Flacco, and Colin Kaepernick, whom Elway has had multiple opportunities to acquire, has most likely already played his last down of football.

When Hate Goes Mainstream

The Pittsburgh massacre is only the latest, word instance of rising anti-Semitism. Americans of conscience must now push back. 

Members of the Jewish community and their supporters held a vigil outside the White House for the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

By Jonathan A. Greenblatt

This has been a very difficult 24 hours for the Jewish community — and for America. What started as a normal Sabbath for Jews — a time to be with family and community, celebrate bar and bat mitzvahs, hold baby namings, pray to God — ended with news of the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. This was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history.

While the horror of this massacre is shocking, it is not entirely surprising.

At the Anti-Defamation League, we have been tracking and fighting anti-Semitism for over a century. And while Jews have enjoyed a degree of acceptance and achievement in the United States perhaps unrivaled in our people’s history, recent trends have been alarming.

While the overall trend in anti-Semitic incidents has been a downward one, last year we saw the largest single-year increase since the A.D.L. began this annual audit in 1979 — a 57 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017. These incidents include high-profile ones such as neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, Va., chanting “Jews will not replace us,” physical assaults, vandalism and attacks on Jewish institutions.

Part of this sharp rise comes from a large increase in anti-Semitic incidents in grade schools and on college campuses, which nearly doubled for the second year in a row. The latest F.B.I. statistics corroborate what our researchers found: a 5 percent increase in reported hate crimes, with more than half of faith-based hate crimes — 53 percent — against Jews.

Feeding this upsurge in hate is the toxic soup of anti-Semitism found online. According to a report that the A.D.L. released just a day before the Pittsburgh attack, far-right extremists and the so-called alt-right have stepped up their efforts on social media to attack and intimidate Jews, and especially Jewish journalists, in the run up to the midterm elections. These radicals engaged in “Twitter bombing” of Jews, barraging our community with an estimated five million highly politicized and anti-Semitic tweets per day.

Social media creates its own realities for individuals, where people feed off the anonymity and tailor what they read and whom they speak with so that it can feel that everyone thinks and talks as you do. As much as this is distorting, it also can be empowering.

Similarly emboldening is when anti-Semitism and hateful rhetoric is elevated or tolerated, either through appropriating the anti-Semites’ rhetoric outright, “dog-whistling” to them, or allowing their hate to go unanswered. And this is what has accelerated over the past few years.

Anti-Semitism is being normalized in public life.

As you read this, there are television ads being run by mainstream political candidates and parties that invoke the specter of the Jewish philanthropist George Soros to instill fear in voters’ hearts. This year, there are a record number of right-wing extremists and bigots running for office. There are those — including the president of the United States — who rail against “globalists” that are ruining the country, a term those on the far-right use as code for Jews.

Earlier this year, a member of Congress, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, invited a Holocaust denier to be his guest at the Capitol to watch the State of the Union. A council member in our nation’s capital, Trayvon White, claimed that the Rothschilds — a legendary Jewish banking family — controlled the weather. Neither of these elected officials was censured or disciplined by their respective bodies.

Over the past few weeks, another member of Congress, Representative Steve King of Iowa, endorsed a neo-Nazi for elected office and met with a far-right, anti-Semitic political party in Austria, and faced no consequences. Earlier this month, Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, called Jews“termites,” and too many leaders — many of whom have dedicated their lives to social justice — excused it, said nothing or continued to embrace him nonetheless.

These incidents seem small, but add them together, nurture them with silence and acquiescence, and what grows is the poisonous weed of anti-Semitism.

This must end.

All Americans — online and in their communities — and all responsible leaders from across our society must step forward and clearly denounce this hate. People of all faiths and ideologies must speak out clearly and forcefully against anti-Semitism, scapegoating and bigotry in our society.

If your candidate is attacking George Soros or the “globalists,” or a member of Congress from your party is embracing Holocaust deniers, you must stand up and tell them to stop.

If your allies in a range of social justice causes either explain away the anti-Semitism of the Nation of Islam by citing the good work they may do or justify demonizing the Jewish state of Israel and its existence, then they need to know that they can no longer be your ally.

If your favorite social media platform continues to refuse to remove anti-Semitic garbage from its site, then vote with your clicks and deactivate your account.

More than 100 years ago, the lynching of a Jewish factory superintendent, Leo Frank, in Marietta, Ga., shocked the Jewish community and the nation. It directly led to the formation of the A.D.L. to fight anti-Semitism.

The Pittsburgh massacre should be a similar shock to us today, waking us up to the anti-Semitism and hate in our midst and reminding us all that the fight against them must be diligently fought at every turn by each and every one of us.

The Rich White Civil War

A Smarter look at America’s divide.

By David Brooks, Opinion Columnist

Mark Peterson/Redux

Every few years one research group or another produces a typology of the electorate. The researchers conduct thousands of interviews and identify the different clusters American voters fall into.

More in Common has just completed a large such typology. It’s one of the best I’ve seen because it understands that American politics is no longer about what health care plan you support. It’s about identity, psychology, moral foundations and the dynamics of tribal resentment.

The report, “Hidden Tribes,” breaks Americans into seven groups, from left to right, with names like Traditional Liberals, Moderates, Politically Disengaged and so on. It won’t surprise you to learn that the most active groups are on the extremes — Progressive Activists on the left (8 percent of Americans) and Devoted Conservatives on the right (6 percent).

These two groups are the richest of all the groups. They are the whitest of the groups. Their members have among the highest education levels, and they report high levels of personasecurity.

We sometimes think of this as a populist moment. But that’s not true. My first big takeaway from “Hidden Tribes” is that our political conflict is primarily a rich, white civil war. It’s between privileged progressives and privileged conservatives.

You could say that tribalism is the fruit of privilege. People with more stresses in their lives necessarily pay less attention to politics. People with college degrees are more likely to describe their ideology as central to their identity. They are much more likely to derive moral meaning from their label, more likely to affiliate with a herd based on their label and more likely to vote on the party line.

My second big takeaway from the report is that ideas really do drive history. Progressive Activists and Devoted Conservatives organize around coherent philosophical narratives. These narratives aren’t visions of a just society. They are narratives of menace — about who needs to be exorcised from society.

Devoted Conservatives subscribe to a Hobbesian narrative. It’s a dangerous world. Life is nasty, brutish and short. We need strict values and strong authority to keep us safe.

Ninety percent of Devoted Conservatives think immigration is bad, while 99 percent of Progressive Activists think it is good. Seventy-six percent of Devoted Conservatives think Islam is more violent than other religions; only 3 percent of Progressive Activists agree. Eighty-six percent of Devoted Conservatives think it’s more important for children to be well behaved than creative. Only 13 percent of Progressive Activists agree.

Progressive Activists, on the other hand, subscribe to a darkened Rousseauian worldview. People may be inherently good, but the hierarchical structures of society are awful. The structures of inequality and oppression have to be dismantled.

Ninety-one percent of Progressive Activists say sexual harassment is common, while only 12 percent of Devoted Conservatives agree. Ninety-two percent of Progressive Activists say people don’t take racism seriously enough, compared with 6 percent of Devoted Conservatives. Eighty-six percent of Progressive Activists say life’s outcomes are outside people’s control; only 2 percent of Devoted Conservatives agree. Progressive Activists are nearly three times as likely to say they are ashamed to be American as the average voter.

This philosophical dispute is not new. There have always been some people who thought we need hierarchical structures to keep us safe and others who thought we need to be emancipated from oppressive structures so we can be free.

What is new is how cultish this dispute has become. The researchers asked a wide variety of questions, on everything from child-rearing to national anthem protests. In many cases, 97 to 99 percent of Progressive Activists said one thing and 93 to 95 percent of Dedicated Conservatives said the opposite. There’s little evidence of individual thought, just cult conformity. The current situation really does begin to look like the religious wars that ripped through Europe after the invention of the printing press, except that our religions now wear pagan political garb.

The good news is that once you get outside these two elite groups you find a lot more independent thinking and flexibility. This is not a 50-50 nation. It only appears that way when disenchanted voters are forced to choose between the two extreme cults.

Roughly two-thirds of Americans, across four political types, fall into what the authors call “the exhausted majority.” Sixty-one percent say people they agree with need to listen and compromise more. Eighty percent say political correctness is a problem, and 82 percent say the same about hate speech.

Unfortunately, people in the exhausted majority have no narrative. They have no coherent philosophic worldview to organize their thinking and compel action. When they get one I suspect it will look totally unlike the two dominant narratives today. These narratives are threat narratives. But the people who make positive change usually focus on gifts, not deficits. They tell stories about the assets we have and how we can use them together.

I don’t know what the next political paradigm will look like, but I bet it will be based on abundance, not deficits; gifts, not fear; hope, not hatred.