Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

IN  WHICH Ross Rheingans-Yoo—a sometime economist, trader, artist, expat, poet, EA, and programmer—writes on things of int­erest.

Stand With Mizzou

I was asked on Monday by a friend if I was going to write about the goings-on at Yale. I will at some point, but now's not the time.

A little more than two and a half years ago, our school spent a day on lockdown after a twenty-one-year-old shot a police officer at MIT and drove through our campus on his way to Watertown, where he would eventually be captured by police.

We stayed in our dorms, not knowing whether he was just outside the door. He probably wasn't anywhere near campus, the rumors went, but better to keep the doors locked, just to be sure. I lived just next door to my friends, but I didn't dare to step outside for the ten seconds it would have taken me to get from my door to theirs.

I've written before about the moment that we raised our voices together, after the campus had begun to open up again, but I haven't said much about the terror of that day


Words for Baltimore


Now I wanted to say something about the fact that we have lived over these last two or three summers with agony and we have seen our cities going up in flames. And I would be the first to say that I am still committed to militant, powerful, massive, non­-violence as the most potent weapon in grappling with the problem from a direct action point of view. I'm absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results.

But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to


What is happening in my hometown

I'm from Columbia, Maryland -- a town which is often acurately described as "a satellite suburb of Baltimore". There's still a "Member of the Baltimore Aquarium" decal on the sliding-glass door to our back porch -- has been for fifteen years -- so this one hits incredibly close to home, if not literally in my backyard.

content warning: police brutality, institutional racism

epistemic status: angry. white. inevitably biased; unable to write dispassionately; unable to not write.


This is not what I had in mind.

This is not at all what I had in mind when I wrote, two weeks ago:

Just once, couldn't someone pitch a "controversy" slow and over the plate, so I can opine against [X]ism and for the way in which good people have chosen to oppose it?

And yet...

xkcd #791: Leaving

...they're words which are stuck in my head.


A week ago, William Murphy, Jr., an attorney representing the surviving family of Freddie Gray, released the statement:

On last Sunday morning at about


False Flag Flyers

content warning: defense of satire of certain critiques of racism; critique of censorship of satire of certain critiques of racism; critique of certain critiques of racism

content note: As should go without saying, zero defense of racism intended.

socioepistemic status: white male ally


The Harvard Crimson | Posters Parodying Advocacy Magazine Prompt Controversy

Posters that parodied a new campus arts and advocacy magazine that focuses on issues of race and diversity prompted criticism from students and administrators in Pforzheimer House this past weekend.


Official Renegade posters in Pfoho had white backgrounds with black text containing phrases about race and diversity, such as "because Mather owned slaves"... The apparent parody posters, however, were black with white text and included the messages "because all straight white men are racist" and "because anyone that disagrees with me is racist." The posters included the url of the magazine’s website and its launch date. (...)

note: After reading a few articles in Renegade, one of my friends needed to take a break so badly they


Jon Stewart Vidwrap: Brown, Garner, and Race

1) Go on a Daily Show binge.

2) Write about it on your blog, because sometimes, Jon Stewart is damn well on point.

3) Maybe add some other links as well?

4) I dunno; I actually have no words here. Have some from some other people. (Post title is misleading; there's non-Daily Show links below the three videos linked.)

(This is a one-off post; generic weekly linkwrap service returns tomorrow.)

On the St. Louis Rams "Hands Up"

edit: These videos were originally embedded, but then they started auto-playing

...joining in a common signal of solidarity, like that Hunger Games Katniss three-finger salute. Of course, obviously, the District Eleven residents who held up their hands like that were immediately attacked by the police, which is where our metaphor...uh...um...alright.

(related: Salon | Mockingjay's eerie echoes of Ferguson: Our real dystopian nightmare)

Larry Wilmore: "We're race-aholics. We'll always


The only thing I'm going to say about Ferguson

Ore Babarinsa, one of my classmates, had the following to say on recent events in Ferguson, MO via Facebook. With permission, I've copied his words without modification below.

So, I've purposefully stayed off facebook for the last 12+ hours because I wanted to spend some time thinking about this whole mess because I specifically since I find so often that immediate outrage requires reflection before it can be distilled into meaningful wisdom.

Firstly, to address the immediate situation. There's a critical failure of justice, and the rule of law that has occurred. Once again, the forces of moral cowardice and systemic racism have won out over wisdom, fairness, and any sort of allegiance to due process. There's no working around that simple fact. The necessity of an open, public, and fair trial for Officer Wilson was paramount, and that the grand jury failed to acknowledge this is galling.

Secondly, the riots on the ground are understandable, and I'm not going to sit in my Harvard Ivory Tower and finger-wag at

1 / 1