Nov 13, 2017


Trump sounds ignorant of history. But racist ideas often masquerade as ignorance.

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.

Aug 13, 2017


What would Jefferson say about white supremacists descending upon his university?

Thomas Jefferson is everywhere and nowhere in Charlottesville. Truly, after all these years, Jefferson’s beloved city and his beloved nation are suffering at the hands of his two warring children: the older child of bigotry and the younger child of equality.

July 2, 2017


The Civil Rights Act was a victory against racism. But racists also won

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.” The landmark legislation spurred all sorts of racial progress — from desegregating Southern establishments, to driving anti-discrimination lawsuits, to opening the doors of opportunity for the new black middle class.

June 26, 2017


Confederate Monuments and the Forgotten Warning of a Crisis to Come

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.

June 18, 2017


How to Avoid a Post-Scholar America

Scholars can defend truth, if they can only yank themselves out of their conferences, their journals, and their academic jargon. Now more than ever before, scholars must be at the forefront of public debate. This means more public scholarship, not more public scholars. The distinction is a crucial one. Public scholars are known by the public. Public scholarship directly impacts the public.

May 24, 2017


Racism as Colorism: Garvey, Du Bois and the Other Color Line

We have to recognize light-skin privilege and the other color line. We have to recognize that dark skin is not the essential and pure standard of Blackness. We have to recognize colorism as racism.

April 29, 2017


100 Words By 10 Writers On 100 Days

I daydream of a future historian titling her book 100 Days of Resistance, framing Trump’s election as the defibrillator of a revived American democracy.

April 27, 2017


What Will Future Historians Say About President Trump's First 100 Days?

All those yesterdays are today. But they do not have to be tomorrow. There is an alternative to the alternative that is Donald Trump.

Feb 22, 1017


A History of Race and Racism in America, 24 Chapters

I would argue that together, these works tell the history of anti-black racism in the United States as painfully, as eloquently, as disturbingly as words can. In many ways they also tell its present.

Feb 22, 2017


The Antiracist Philosophy of Malcolm X

In burning through the old forests of assimilationist ideas, Malcolm X paved the way for antiracist ideas. He paved the way for Black is beautiful then, and Black lives matter today, for being conscious then, for being woke today.

Feb 11, 2017


Racist Ideas Are Spread by the Powerful to Support Racist Policies

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. (this article first appeared in The Conversation)

Feb 5, 2017


Uncovering the Roots of Racist Ideas in America

Time and again, racist ideas have not been born and bred in the cradle of ignorant, hateful or unpatriotic minds. Time and again, powerful and brilliant men and women have produced racist ideas in order to justify the racist policies of their era, in order to redirect the blame for their era’s racial disparities away from those policies and onto black people.

Jan23, 2017


The Book That Made Me: Learn How to Love

If only Americans were nurtured in antiracist ideas, then that would unleash what hooks calls the “healing power of redemptive love.” It is a line I hold dear to my heart. If only Americans were nurtured in antiracist ideas, then Americans would love.

Jan 21, 2017


The 1967 MLK and the Politics of Transcendence

And in order to sustain the fight to change anything, you have to philosophically believe change is possible. Cynicism is the kryptonite of change.

Jan 21, 3017


Racial Progress Is Real. But So Is Racist Progress

But what if there have been two historical forces at work: a dual and dueling history of racial progress and the simultaneous progression of racism?

Dec 18, 2016


5 Must Read Books of 2016 by Black Millennials

As I reflected on 2016, Black millennials and how we made our mark on the year immediately came to mind. Here is a list of five amazing books written (or co-written) by Black millennials in 2016. They are absolute must reads.

Dec 11, 2016


Ibram X. Kendi's 6 Favorite Books

The whole time I was reading Wilkerson's book, subtitled The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, my mind was filled with mental pictures. The scene-setting, the dialogue, the character development...I still cannot believe that this award-winning work is nonfiction.

Dec 2016


Why Standardized Tests Have Standardized Postracial Ideology

Affirmative action, despite the Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, may be on its last legs. The antiracist fight of the future should not be merely a defensive fight to save it. The antiracist fight of the future should be an offensive one, against postracial ideology, and against postracial admissions factors, starting with standardized tests.

Nov 7, 2016


There's a History of White Terror Suppressing Black Voters

But Americans rarely, if ever, call them what they are: terrorists. Instead, we call them white nationalists and white supremacists and right wingers and hate groups — any term but terrorists.

Oct 20, 2016


Why the Academic Achievement Gap is a Racist Idea

But few testing critics are bursting its biggest bubble: the existence of the achievement gap itself. To believe in the existence of any sort of racial hierarchy is actually to believe in a racist idea.

Oct 11, 2016


The Promise and Peril of the Civil Rights Act of 1866

I, like many historians, have used the term “voting rights” while chronicling this political bloodbath. But voting has been a contested privilege, not a right.

Oct 6, 2016


Clinton and Trump need to address police violence in debate

These staggering statistics underscore the urgent need for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to move beyond symbolic gestures and instead clearly articulate how they intend to address this issue if elected president of the United States.

Sept 13, 2016


The Party of Lincoln? Yeah That Was Racist Too

So yes, Republicans are “the party of Lincoln” — in all the flawed, conflicted, racist roots of the party’s actual creation story. The Party of Lincoln remains the grand old party of racist white men.

Aug 22, 2016


Brother to Brother: An Open Letter to Nate Parker

I have felt these feelings many times during my scholarly gazes into the past at Black male radicals who were as powerfully sexist as they were antiracist—men who felt as threatened by feminism as they were by racism; men who reinforced rape culture as tightly as they reinforced an antiracist (patriarchal) culture.

Aug 5, 2016


What on Earth are Trump's Black Supporters Thinking?

In fact, it is exactly what it looks like: Trump’s Black supporters share his racist ideas. They are as rabidly anti-Black as their candidate. They have thoroughly consumed quite possibly the most sophisticated racist idea to date: the idea of a post-racial America.

Aug 3, 2016


'Black Soul'? Why I Felt Offended By Khizr Khan’s Choice Of Words For Trump

Khizr Khan should have used a different choice of words on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. He should have found a different metaphor to convey Trump’s obvious lack of compassion and empathy. Because the metaphor he used had racist undertones.

Aug 1, 2016


On the Gender Racism of Black Men Towards Black Women

Gender racism is any idea that suggests any racial-gender group is inferior or superior in any way to another racial-gender group. Think about it this way. To call women lazy is sexism. To call Black people lazy is racism. To call Black women lazy is gender racism.

July 4, 2016


Three Comforting Myths About the Declaration of Independence

"We, the people" seem to avoid the hard floor of truth. And too often, our historians and memories are hindered by duty, blinded by patriotism and restrained by ideology in splashing water on us, in soiling our bed of mythology, in forcing us to wake up to the complex and sometimes awful truth of the American foundation.

June 29, 2016


Could Trump Be Nurturing the Next Hitler?

Donald Trump more closely resembles in history that leading American eugenicist whose ideas nurtured Hitler: Madison Grant. This year marks the uncelebrated centennial of Grant’s most infamous polemic—The Passing of the Great Race—a book that passed across the Atlantic and into the arms of Germany’s future Fuhrer.

June 21, 2016


Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome is a Racist Idea

I am faintly hoping that the new Roots miniseries on the History Channel had the same antiracist impact, especially in uprooting one tree of racist thought that has grown rapidly in recent years. I am talking about the theory that Black people are suffering from post-traumatic slave syndrome, or PTSS. 

May 31, 2016


Racism Is Not a Teaching Tool

I can find museums and plaques but I am struggling to find prominent buildings and institutions, on or off college campuses, named after people whom white Americans commonly consider their enemies. I am struggling to find buildings named for those who terrorized white people on the scale that slaveholders, Confederates, and Klansmen terrorized black people.

May 27, 2016


The 11 Most Racist U.S. Presidents

There have been many frightfully racist U.S. presidents in American history. Here are the 11 most racist U.S. presidents of all time.

May 13, 2016


George Zimmerman is a poor man's Donald Trump

Zimmerman is almost certainly lying. He probably has no plans to give the money to all those police unions that are imagining a war against law enforcement and dismissing the statistics that say otherwise.

April 13, 2016


'Tough on Crime' and the Roots of Racist Ideas in America

Throughout the 2016 campaign, Black Lives Matter activists have soundly attacked the defenders of the 1994 crime bill as part of their larger attack on the criminal justice system, and the racist ideas rationalizing the system’s racial disparities in everything from arrests, to incarceration rates, to deaths at the hands of law enforcement officials.

Feb 24, 2016


The 15 most racist Oscar films of all time: Here's why #OscarsSoWhite is not a surprise

Since the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929, bodies and images clothed in racist ideas have found it much easier than non-stereotypical Black bodies and images to reach the White halls of the Oscars. #OscarsSoWhite is about the glaring lack of antiracist bodies and images and the glaring abundance of racist bodies and images honored in the White halls of the Oscars.

Feb 21, 2016


On the Racist Ideas Jesse Owens Could Not Outrun

If I watch Race, I do not expect to see Owens’s true after story to the 1936 Olympics. I do not expect to see the true story of both Adolf Hitler and Franklin Delano Roosevelt standing on the same racist plain in refusing to congratulate Jesse Owens. I do not expect to see the true story of Owens bitterly complaining about receiving better treatment in Nazi Germany than the United States.

Feb 14, 2016


Beyoncé: Black Power, Her Opponents, and their Dances with History

When Beyoncé jolted 100 million viewers back to Black power on Super Bowl Sunday, she was dancing with history. She was dancing for history. She danced with a fierce Black women dance troupe of black leather, black berets, swaying Afros, stomping Malcolm “X” formations, raised fists, posing with sign that boomed: “Justice 4 Mario Woods,” referring to the Black man killed by San Francisco police on December 2.

Jan 22, 2016


Reclaiming MLK's Unspeakable Nightmare: The Progression of Racism in America

When Americans remember Martin Luther King Jr., we first and foremost remember his “dream” that “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” And when we celebrate and observe King’s dream from the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, we celebrate and observe America’s march of racial progress over the last five decades.

Dec 17, 2015


We Can No Longer Ignore the Power of Woodrow Wilson's Racist Ideas

About a month has passed since members of Princeton University’s Black Justice League staged their 32-hour sit-in in the president’s office. The argument over whether to purge President Woodrow Wilson’s name from a Princeton dining hall.