October 2018 Issue
In 1858, Abraham Lincoln warned that America could not remain “half slave and half free.” Today, the country remains divided by racism—and the threat is as existential as it was before the Civil War.
June 28, 2018
Political moderates who counsel against confrontation and warn of incivility would abandon the tools that have changed America for the better.
May 14, 2018
Communities of color are actually disproportionately likely to report crimes—it’s police themselves who have maintained a corrosive culture of silence.
March 20, 2018
They’re both blamed for predisposing their members to violent acts, but they’ve sparked radically different public-policy responses.
The New York Times
January 13, 2018
The antiracist lives by the opposite heartbeat, one that rarely and irregularly sounds in America — the heartbeat of confession.
November 13, 2017
The White House's fumbling about slavery and the Civil War fits a long pattern in American politics.
The racial story is often told from assuming lips.
August 13, 2017
The statue of Thomas Jefferson looked at them, those several hundred torch-waving men and women marching at the University of Virginia late Friday night in opposition to the city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. The protesters and counterprotesters who violently clashed in Charlottesville on Saturday passed by Jefferson’s monuments.
July 2, 2017
Fifty-three years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and forcefully challenged “all” Americans to “close the springs of racial poison.”
June 26, 2017
As many cities debate what to do about monuments to Confederate leaders and soldiers, defenders of such monuments commonly claim they “have nothing to do with hate or racism but everything to do with our history and heritage,” as a Tampa resident proclaimed Wednesday to his county commissioners before they voted to keep a nearby monument.
New York Times
FEBRUARY 22, 2017
Many Americans might not know the more polemical side of race writing in our history. The canon of African-American literature is well established. Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, James Baldwin are familiar figures. Far less so is Samuel Morton (champion of the obsolete theory of polygenesis) or Thomas Dixon (author of novels romanticizing Klan violence). It is tempting to think that the influence of those dusty polemics ebbed as the dust accumulated. But their legacy persists, freshly shaping much of our racial discourse.
FEBRUARY 11, 2017
Contrary to popular conceptions, ignorant and hateful people have not been behind the production and reproduction of racist ideas in America. Instead, racist ideas have usually been produced by some of the most brilliant and cunning minds of each era.
JANUARY 23, 2017
I think I first read All About Love sometime in 2010. I had just earned my doctorate and was stepping into my career as a professor. At 28 years old, I was also stepping into a conscious understanding of who I was: I was consciously trying to understand who I wanted to be, and what I wanted to be. Every draft of myself contained the chapter of love.
New York Times
JANUARY 21, 2017
Barack Obama said in his final news conference that he planned to use his time off from politics “to do some writing.” I am hoping in his post-presidency, he begins to write a different racial history from the one he proclaimed from his presidential pulpit.
NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2016
Barack Obama’s presidency will forever be connected to postracial ideology. The postracial idea that racism has been marginalized or eradicated came of age during the early years of his tenure in office. It was mortally wounded during the final years of his presidency by a rash of police shootings and Black Lives Matter protests.
NOVEMBER 6, 2016
When right-wingers set fire to Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi last week, they helpfully added the spray-painted message “Vote Trump.” So, at least we know who we’re dealing with. It was only the latest violent prelude to what may come on Election Day and beyond.
OCTOBER 20, 2016
This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the academic achievement gap–built and continuously renovated by the 100-year-old standardized testing movement. It is a centennial that hardly anyone knows about.
OCTOBER 11, 2016
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. I must ask: should we be celebrating or lamenting the sesquicentennial of this inaugural civil rights act?
SEPTEMBER 12, 2016
In his continuing (and perhaps increasingly desperate) bid to win over black voters, Donald Trump — and many other Republicans — have been framing the Republican party as “the party of Abraham Lincoln” in recent weeks.
AUGUST 22, 2016
Dear Brother Nate: I write to you as my brother because I cannot think of anything else to call you but my brother. When I learned about how you and your friend were tried for raping an intoxicated fellow student at Pennsylvania State University in 1999, the anger, embarrassment, and shame I felt were feelings I would feel for a family member.
AUGUST 5, 2016
It’s a truism of presidential elections that the candidate must appeal to non-Whites. Political consultants know well that a small increase in the Black voting block can go a very long way. George W. Bush’s re-election was credited in part to his ability to increase his support from Black voters in Ohio and Florida. Political pundits have been warning the Democrats about the growing appeal of Trump to certain Black voters, according to a poll released in May. Numbers in that study indicated that in Ohio — a critical swing state — Trump might garner as much as 15% of the Black vote against Clinton. That’s a staggering jump from the 4% support for Mitt Romney in 2012.
JULY 4, 2016
“We, the people” seem to enjoy sleeping on our comfortable bed of myths about the United States’ “founding fathers,” documents and creeds. Every 4th of July, we seem to remake this bed of mythology.
History News Network
JUNE 29, 2016
Melania Trump is still correct. Her husband is no Adolf Hitler. Even after his latest racist flop—accusing U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel of bias because of his “Mexican heritage”—Trump is still no Adolf Hitler.
JUNE 21, 2016
For a generation of open-minded Americans, the original Roots miniseries in 1977 uprooted fields of racist ideas of backward Africa, of civilizing slavery, and of African American roots in slavery. The timeworn plantation genre of happy mammies and Sambos was gone with the wind.
MAY 30, 2016
Black lives in the United States are surrounded by memorials to people who did not think that black lives mattered. That is a fact of black life in America. That is a fact of black life in American academe.
MAY 26, 2016
Let’s imagine the unimaginable: Donald Trump was elected president in November. Yes, president of the United States. Let’s imagine the impossible: he forced Mexico to build a border wall. Let’s imagine the unthinkable: he deported millions of Latino/as. Let’s imagine the unconscionable: he ruthlessly terrorized Muslim Americans and #Black Lives Matter activists. Let’s imagine the unacceptable: middle and low income people suffered horribly under the weight of this billionaire’s policies.
MAY 13, 2016
George Zimmerman is not dead. But he’s dead broke. That is the only reason he has put the firearm he used to kill Trayvon Martin up for auction. That is the only reason he started the bidding at a lucrative $5,000 for the Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm handgun.
APRIL 13, 2016
The timeworn political controversy over crime in America reappeared yet again last week. Former President Bill Clinton defended the 1994 “tough on crime” bill before protesters at a Philadelphia rally, and regretted the showdown the next day.
FEBRUARY 24, 2016
A whopping zero Black people were nominated in the individual acting categories for the upcoming 88th Academy Awards. And the Academy’s recent pledge to double its non-White members has hardly calmed the storm of dissent surrounding the So White Oscars. Jada Pinkett Smith still plans to boycott the Oscars. Other Black stars are being courted by the Academy to appear as presenters.
FEBRUARY 21, 2016
It is always quite difficult for me to watch Hollywood biopics on celebrated African Americans figures. Too many of these figures have been wrapped tightly in myth and hyperbole, and these films often wrap them ever tighter. Rarely do the true and complete stories of these historic figures appear on the big screen.