Paula Young Lee

Native American Student’s Grade Docked for Refusing to Say Pledge of Allegiance: 'My People Risked Our Lives for Our Land, for Our Freedom'

Starting in second grade, California high school student Leilani Thomas has been refusing to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States. For years, she told Sacramento ABC affiliate KXTV, she’s been quietly affirming her First Amendment right to free speech, a right encompassing the freedom to dissent, to critique the powerful, to think and act as a self-determined human being. Thomas is also Native American. As such, she has expressed complex feelings regarding the United States and its flag. Until now, however, there has been no incident, no controversy, no media coverage of steadfast actions borne of personal conviction. She is not a politician stumping for vote, or a selfie star hoping to gain followers. She is a teenage girl trying to make it through the social gauntlet of high school.

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Freddie Gray Was a Victim of Our Criminal Justice Slaughterhouse System

Last week, Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped charges against the final three officers awaiting trial for their role in the death of Freddie Gray, having determined there was no chance of successfully prosecuting them. “Gee, looks like NOBODY killed Freddie Gray,” writer Stephen King tweeted sarcastically in response to the first wave of acquittals. “Guess he just died of being black. Funny how that happens in this country.”

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'Idiocracy' Realized: How Our Current Situation Is Worse Than the Film Predicted

The 2006 cult comedy Idiocracy is having its moment in the sun. Written and directed by Mike Judge, creator of “Beavis & Butthead,” Idiocracy envisions a future corporate American wasteland where Costco is as large as a small city, the food pyramid consists entirely of fast food, and the president of the United States (Terry Crews) is a five-time "Ultimate Smackdown" professional wrestling champion and ex-porn star. “So you’re smart, huh?” President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho says to hapless time traveler Joe “Not Sure” Bauers (Luke Wilson), an Average Joe chagrined to discover he’s now the smartest man in the country. “I thought your head would be bigger,” Camacho bellows. “Looks like a peanut!”

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An Eerie Early Warning of Trump's Authoritarianism

Americans struggling to understand Donald Trump’s domination of the Republican primaries should consider that totalitarianism has already happened on U.S. soil—not as a political movement that swept the nation, but in the petri dish of one high school. The frightening but enlightening story is recounted in The Wave (Die Welle), a gripping 2008 German film that shows how a study in group psychology unexpectedly revealed the seductive lure of fascism. The plot is based on true events that took place in 1967 in a Palo Alto, Calif. high school.

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Justice Scalia Spent His Final Hours With Members of an Ancient, Secretive Society of Elite Hunters

When Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly on Feb. 13, he was at the Cibolo Creek Ranch in Texas, hunting for pheasant and chukar. It has now been revealed that he was in the company of 35 members of an “exclusive fraternity for hunters called the International Order of St. Hubertus, an Austrian society that dates back to the 1600s.” According to the Washington Post, the owner of the ranch, John Poindexter, and Scalia’s traveling companion are both high-ranking members of the group.

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Paul LePage’s Guillotine Dream: Executing Black Drug Dealers

The Queen of Hearts from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” had “only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. ‘Off with his head!’ she said, without even looking round.” Now the bellicose governor of Maine, Paul LePage, is pulling a page from the Queen’s playbook and calling for the return of the guillotine.

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It’s the 'Clock Kid' All Over Again: A 12-Year-old Sikh Boy Is the Latest Victim of Racist Terrorism Paranoia

Imagine that your twelve-year-old son doesn’t come home one day after school. You’re always worried about him because he’s not even a teenager but has already required three open heart surgeries thanks to a congenital condition. He’s not a tough kid but a “goofball,” and you’ve recently moved from San Antonio to Arlington, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, where everything is bigger, including the trouble. Nobody is telling you where he is. Nobody will answer your questions. He’s just…disappeared.

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Why Trump Is Proving a Master at Converting Hatred Into High Poll Numbers

If you want to understand why Donald Trump is crushing the rest of the Republican field, the explanation is the other mass shooting that happened Wednesday.

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Missouri Activists vs. the Press: This Is What Happens When Black Students Can’t Trust the Media

Following the stunning resignations of president Tim Wolfe and chancellor R. Bowen Loftin in the wake of Black student activism at the University of Missouri-Columbia, a secondary news story is developing at the school. It is a meta-narrative about the way news gets made, who controls the telling, and how stories get framed. It is a bit about the First Amendment–and perhaps academic freedom too, insofar as activist faculty are involved. But it mostly is a story about distrust. About Black distrust of the White gaze, and an utter lack of faith in the capacity of a White press to tell Black stories with honesty.

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'I Want to Talk About How We Can Use Our Anger to Heal': Badass Comic Margaret Cho Dishes

Over the years, comedian Margaret Cho has been called many things. Trailblazer. Fearless. Dangerously funny. But what she is can be summed up in one word: ajumma.

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