I have no hot takes.

Historians for the most part believe that knowledge about the past which helps explain and contextualize a present-day problem is a good thing.  The stories we tell are not always (or even very frequently) soothing, but somehow in telling stories that feature historical information over the longue durée we feel like we can get a handle on the problem before us.  I don’t feel that way today, and it’s disorienting.

I have no hot takes.  I have no opinions or ideas worth sharing.  Every time I’ve thought about writing a blog post this week, another fresh hell is being reported, making anything I meant to write about a previous nightmare seem irrelevant.  While a major theme on this blog is the racialized and gendered violence that underlays the United States in both its past and its present, and gun violence in particular, I have nothing new to add to that observation today. And while I’m a bigger fan of continuity than change as an explanatory framework for understanding history, I would like to see a heck of a lot of change just about now.  For all of us.

Here’s just about the most reasonable statement on the events of the previous three nights as anything I’ve seen yet.  “More Guns, More Fear, More Killing.  It’s a Vicious Cycle and There’s No End in Sight,” by and .  Here’s their core insight:

The profoundly sad lesson of Louisiana and Minnesota is that it is now objectively reasonable for black civilians to be ever more afraid of routine traffic stops. The lesson of Dallas is that it is also objectively reasonable for cops to be ever more afraid of civilians with guns. So we have mistrust and fear and panic on both sides, both apparently reasonable. But what makes these encounters lethal—as opposed to merely ambiguous and fraught—is the guns. And what makes it “reasonable” to use force in response to the reasonable fear, is the lethality of guns. This ends only in more death on both sides, death all couched in legal standards of reasonableness. And that death will always be racially disproportionate.


7 thoughts on “I have no hot takes.

  1. I’ve been flirting since January with the question of how much, and how, this year does or doesn’t resonate of and with 1968, I’ll spare the lecture, because there just isn’t one. In certain idiosyncratic particulars, that is the year that leaps to mind. Then in all of the actual particulars, it mostly falls apart. There is definitely more downside continuity than to the occasionally exhilarating aspects of that year. And the smell of gunpowder is definitely the most resonant part. One could imagine a stiff-necked people, about to be smote by a meteor or something like that. Maybe thrown back this way from Jupiter.

    Wasn’t a good night to sleep last night.


  2. I couldn’t get my mind on work this morning until I’d fired off another few letters to my representatives about gun control. Last time I emailed. This time I’m going with paper. I don’t want to think about how I’m probably going to have to call next time because I do not want there to be a next time. But there will be.

    I don’t know what it’s going to take to get change to happen, but I do know that it is my responsibility to do what I can, even if that isn’t much in the grand scheme of things. Writing my representatives is unlikely to get my children shot or to leave them motherless, so it’s something I should do without question. How to get more involved is a bigger question. I’m in a red state that could be purple. I should volunteer for the local DNC. I should help people register to vote. I should drive people to the polls on election day. But I don’t know if I will.


  3. Pingback: Our divisiveness and this violence is NOT new. So what are we going to do to change it? | History Headlines

  4. Thank you for this. I feel much the same way. I don’t post anything to Facebook or Twitter because I don’t think I have anything worthwhile to add. I have thoughts about the idea of how we work with our kids to understand racism – or rather, the lack of education on race I and so many of my age had growing up (I’m 37, for context, so grew up in the 80s with race-blindness, but am realizing how my parents’ own lives did not prepare them to engage with race as a subject to discuss).

    Dahlia Lithwick is always incredible. She was keynote speaker at a teacher institute I just attended, and she does a great podcast on the Supreme Court.


  5. Not the kinda “punk” you could take to the Mudd Club or to C.B.G.B., though, alas. But thanks for hanging in with us, Historiann. Hot take or not take, this is still a sane place, as it always was. Where else could you say that?


Let me have it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.