A Martin Luther King, Jr. Day resolution

“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.”

-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his 1967 book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

Remington Gregg reminded me of that observation today in this Twitter thread “on lesser quoted words of Dr. King and sitting in your discomfort as a white person in America.”

As 2020 began, one of my goals was to put a lot of writing energy into coverage of racial disparities or other topics particularly impacting people of color in Iowa. I got off to a decent start a few days into the year with a deep dive Julián Castro’s critique of the Iowa caucuses, which was partly grounded in this state’s relative lack of diversity. I marked the last Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a post about an exhibit on “redlining” and other racist housing policies in Des Moines. That piece ended up among the 25 most-viewed that Bleeding Heartland published during a year of higher traffic than ever.

But as the year progressed, other pressing political topics–the Iowa caucuses and their aftermath, turnover on the Iowa Supreme Court, the Iowa legislative session, a huge number of competitive election campaigns, and of course the the coronavirus pandemic–consumed most of my headspace.

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Guerrillas in our midst

Ira Lacher wonders, “Will America bring to bear on white-power domestic terrorists the same tools it hauled out to fight ‘Muslim extremists’ after 9/11?” -promoted by Laura Belin

Donald Trump didn’t start the white supremacy fire; it was always burning since Europeans used the fabricated concept of “race” to justify human slavery.

Of course, no president has used it to justify his election and call for re-election. In his 2016 campaign and four-year reign of terror, Trump emitted enough dog whistles to stage his own Iditarod.

But until an organized, armed phalanx of militant white people pillaged the U.S. Capitol on January 6, threatening the vice president and Congressional leaders, the existence of a longstanding white-power militant movement escaped the myopia of most Americans.

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Provider practices in Iowa lead to more c-sections, complications

Rachel Bruns continues a series of posts addressing the quality of maternal health care in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

My first post here addressed a number of outdated and non evidence based practices that continue in Iowa. My second post addressed how expanding access to midwives could help improve access to quality care, reduce the incidence of cesareans, and save lives.

This post will continue on those themes addressing additional practices of concern surrounding cesareans and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).

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Birthing a conference: A celebration of Black kin

Des Moines-based holistic doula and lactation counselor Olivia Samples first published this post on Kismet Doula Services’ blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

Last year I attended two conferences centered around Black Maternal Health. After the first one I attended, I had a dance party in my room to the playlist they sent us. The discussion, resources, and connection I got from this event totally filled my cup; left me energized and ready for more.

A few weeks later, during the second conference, I felt the anger rising from my gut into my face. I cried and stepped away after hearing so many statistics of the disparities for Black birthing people in Iowa. I learned a lot from other sessions throughout the conference, but at the end of the day, I closed my laptop, journaled, and took a nap.

Something that sticks out from the entry that day:

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The story and stamp of the 442nd — Overdue, but so timely

Herb Strentz recalls the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, comprised of second-generation Nisei (Japanese-Americans) who fought for the U.S. during World War II. -promoted by Laura Belin

Not often is something timely when it is 70 to 75 years overdue.

But that is the case with an upcoming 2021 commemorative stamp, a tribute to World War II patriotism.

The nation finally is giving such recognition to some 33,000 Japanese-Americans who served in U.S. armed forces in World War II. At the heart of this recognition are the combined 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, comprised of second-generation Nisei, American citizens by birth. The 442nd became the most decorated American military unit ever for its size and length of service.

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Populisms Left and Right

John Whiston contrasts two strains of American populism and ponders how a populist agenda could unite diverse Democratic constituencies.-promoted by Laura Belin

You hear a lot of anxiety these days about the rising tide of “right-wing populism.” How in God’s name did Donald Trump increase his share of the vote in localities like Lee and Clinton counties in Iowa and Kenosha and Dunn ounties in Wisconsin?  So, maybe it’s time to take a step back and think about what “populism” really means – today, historically,  and for the American future.

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