Vann R. Newkirk II (fivefifths) is Co-Chief Scribe at Seven Scribes, a writer at Daily Kos, a fiction writer, blogger, futurist, and activist. Vann is currently working on a science-fiction novel and short story series and resides in Silver Spring, MD. Find him napping on a bus near you.

Posts By fivefifths

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Are Anti-Poverty Programs Really Substitutes for Reparations?

In News & Politics by fivefifths3 Comments

Racial inequality and economic inequality are not synonyms. That premise is the foundation behind an intellectual skirmish between The Atlantic columnist Ta-Nehisi Coates and other commentators about Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ stance (or lack thereof) on reparations for black people. What follows here is not a rehashing of that debate--that has been handled capably by…

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The Wonderful Afrofuturism of ‘The Wiz’

In Culture, Film by fivefifths1 Comment

The Wizard of Oz is, as the saying goes, as American as apple pie. Every year at least, I’d crowd around a screen with family to watch Dorothy’s teleportation from sepia-seeped Kansas to technicolor Oz, a tradition that I imagine many American families share. However, my family shared another tradition that many others did not.…

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Or, Can She?

In News & Politics by fivefifths2 Comments

“We need to take these people on. They are often connected to drug cartels. They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called 'super-predators.' No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about how they got that way but first we have to bring them to heel.”…

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Thoughts on Chi-Raq

In Culture, Film by fivefifthsLeave a Comment

I genuinely don’t know where to begin. All I know is that I watched Chi-Raq last night and I feel...feelings. So let me tease them out. First of all, Chi-Raq is a beautiful film, visually. Director Spike Lee is up to all of his old tricks, and a few new ones. There’s striking bold text,…

The First Year without Tamir

In Social Justice by fivefifthsLeave a Comment

Tamir Rice is not a martyr.   He did not die, one year ago, as another noble name on a list of noble names. While the year after his death has featured sustained cries for justice in his name and while his name has become a part of the litany that we now recite like…

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A Reflection on Starting Up: A Look at Our First Year

In Resources by fivefifthsLeave a Comment

Ferguson changed everything.   It’s only been a little over a year since Michael Brown was killed by Darren Wilson and just about a year since Darren Wilson walked away from it all, scot-free. Between the marches, the die-ins, and the growing frustration as names were added to our chants, what strikes me most about…

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The Evolution of Kendrick Lamar

In Music by fivefifthsLeave a Comment

Something special happened to me four years ago at the 9:30 Club in D.C, slam in the middle of the awful August 2011 heat wave in a room full of sweated-out shirts. A concert with some friends, one of those summer internship thrills that becomes all you remember after the coffee-making and dry cleaning delivery…

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Straw Freshmen: Why the War on Campus PC Culture is Bullshit

In Culture, Education by fivefifths3 Comments

PC culture. It’s the new evil gripping the millennials of this country, coddling all of our college students so they become unquestioning, reactive drones; social justice warriors who put their icky feelings above everything else, whine over perceived microaggressions, and shout down and sue everyone who disagrees with them. They label anything remotely offensive as…