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Archive for the ‘racial representation’ Category

OK, so a long election cycle is over. I wondered if the chattering class – a class to which I aspire – would have much left to say. I mean, seriously, so much has been said already. I’m of course wrong. I should have known that the big and apparently only question would be raised: will this election lead people to say that racism is over?

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I’ve been reading the goodbye tributes to Isaac Hayes. I lived in Memphis for a handful-plus years and have, since I was a teenager, loved Memphis music. Hi-Records has always been by far my favorite, but the Stax sound is really the only thing in Memphis that can compare. So, I read the tributes to Isaac Hayes in search of remembrance of his place in that history. But that’s not what you find.

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Basketball versus bowling. Who knew it had such implications? I mean, seriously, when is the last time we talked about the Dream Team in the Professional Bowlers Association? Or even just saw bowling on television at a time other than 3pm on a Sunday? Turns out, this might be an important signifier in electoral rhetoric. How?

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I’m really not enjoying the strange journey of race in the presidential election thing. I doubt many people are, save for the occasional Karl Rove, for whom it is a fabulous tactic – if you’re creative. I must admit to being surprised, though, to see the issue of reparations come up. It’s a nuanced and compelling issue, if one has the time to examine all of the folds. It’s about memory, state history, back wages, social justice, economics, the nature of representation, and so on. But that’s too much to ask. Turns out, sometimes a non-reparation actually is one.

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I’m officially a regular blogger again, starting today.

I really have a small comment to make, but maybe one that has big implications. No matter, I guess, as only a couple of hundred will read this, though I feel compelled to say this because I care about things like reason. To start: I remember the original Sister Souljah moment. It confirmed what I thought then and have always thought: Bill Clinton was icky, cruel, and actually quite comfortable being anti-black. That’s why this primary season had me barely (if that) restraining “told ya” every time the news had Bill’s newest quip about Obama.

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Reprinted from The Public Humanist. It is always a nice thing to see Socrates made contemporary. Or at least have something to say about about contemporary things, so I’m just so pleased to see Robert Meagher write this piece about fear and hope. The range – and so the possibilities – of human emotion is one of those perennial philosophical issues. And too much evidence points to the constant presence of fear, too little presence of hope. I find a small thread of both hope and fear in the same place these days: race and all those companion emotions.

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I’ll add to the huge number of editorials and blogs on Obama’s “big speech on race.” I read the transcript and watched a bit of it, but not without some regret that it had come to this moment. Why did Obama have to give this sort of speech? Who provoked it and why? But it was provoked. No going back from that. And he gave what, to my mind, was a solid and actually quite brave account of his relation to all sorts of pain. (more…)

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