Maya Angelou: a titan who lived as though there were no tomorrow
Thursday 29th May 2014,
, Photograph: Martin Godwin
The first time I interviewed Maya Angelou, in 2002, I got hammered. What was supposed to have been a 45-minute interview in a hotel room near Los Angeles had turned into a 16-hour day, much of it spent in her stretch limo, during which we'd been to lunch, and she had performed. On the way back from Pasadena she asked her assistant, Lydia Stuckey, to get out the whisky.
The Truth About Race In America: It’s Getting Worse, Not Better
Progress is an essential tenet of America’s civic religion. As someone born and raised in England, where “not bad” is a compliment and “could be worse” is positively upbeat, this strikes me as an endearing national characteristic. But as with any religion, when faith is pitted against experience, faith generally wins. And at that point, optimism begins to look suspiciously like delusion.
Racism is far more than old white men using the N-word
Sunday 18th May 2014,
, Photograph: Jim Cole/AP
Let's hear it for Robert Copeland. The police commissioner of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (population 6,083) sticks to his principles. Even if those principles are stuck in a previous century and mired in bigotry. In March Jane O'Toole was finishing her dinner at a bistro in town when she heard Copeland, 82, announce loudly that he hated watching television because every time he turned on the TV he kept seeing "that fucking nigger". The "nigger" in question was the president of the United States.
Tighter gun control won't stop the violence on its own
Sunday 4th May 2014,
, Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images
On a huge banner straddling an entire block of downtown Indianapolis the National Rifle Association convention promised "Nine Acres of Guns and Gear". It didn't disappoint. In a cavernous exhibition hall showcasing the industry's finest killing machines, scores of white men (few other demographics were present) aimed empty barrels into the middle distance and pondered their purchases. All the big names were there: Mossberg ("Built rugged. Proudly American"); Smith & Wesson ("Advanced by design"); and Henry ("Made in America. Or not made at all").