race & culture

Can Bernie Sanders Be Less White? -- The Daily Beast

A little over a decade ago, I met Bernie Sanders when I was a pimply-faced undergrad interning in his Washington office. I was attending college at a small liberal arts school in South Carolina, and I desperately needed a change of scenery, and his was the political voice I related to the most at the time.

I needed to be around voices that ran counter to the toxic patriotic bravado that had consumed America in our post-9/11 world. Our gung-ho attitude was about to result in disastrous foreign policy decisions, and unprecedented infringements on civil liberties. Too many Muslim Americans were targets of unjust abuse as a fear of foreign “brown” people consumed the country, and this hit home to me as an African American even if the abuse was not directed at me. When I flew to DC to start my internship in 2003, I was still stopped and taken aside for a more thorough security check at the airport. My complexion and my beard had made me a potential threat to the state. Our world was getting out of hand, and I wanted to work for a voice of reason, so to the surprise of many I decided to intern for a socialist from Vermont.

Read the entire article at The Daily Beast: here.

No, the Young People of Baltimore Are Not ‘Thugs’ -- The Daily Beast

As rioters in Baltimore took to the streets this week, countless media organizations casually referred to the predominantly black protesters as “thugs.” Then, to the surprise of many reporters and anchors, black interviewees disputed this characterization and responded that you might as well call the protesters “niggers.”

On CNN, Erin Burnett referenced how President Barack Obama and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake both used the term “thug” to describe the rioters, and how plenty of voices on social media had objected to the characterization.

Burnett asked her guest, Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes, whether “thug” was an appropriate term by which to define the predominantly young and black rioters. Stokes vehemently disagreed. “No. Of course it is not the right word to call our children thugs. These are the children who have been set aside, marginalized, who have not been engaged by us. No. We don’t have to call them thugs,” said Stokes.

Read the entire article on The Daily Beast: here.

The Sad But Self-Inflicted Fall of Cornel West -- The Daily Beast

Michael Eric Dyson’s blistering takedown of Cornel West in The Ghost of Cornel West for The New Republic not only closed the door on a decades-long friendship that arguably led the way in black American thought at the end of the 20thcentury, but also displayed how the roles of black leaders have evolved during Barack Obama’s rise to prominence.

Dyson starts off by describing West’s animus toward the president as a love that has turned into a hatred so severe that it would make the heavens shudder. He mentions the times when West called Obama a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface,” on Democracy Now! and a “brown-faced Clinton” in Salon magazine. He discusses a moment when West told him, Dyson, that he does not “respect the brother at all,” referring to Obama. All this in the first two paragraphs.

Read the entire article on The Daily Beast: here.

Late Night Is About to Get Real on Race -- The Daily Beast

After Tuesday night’s episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, when he addressed last week’s “kerfuffle” regarding insensitive tweets made by his recently announced replacement Trevor Noah, much of the Twittersphere and media world has simmered down and come to the realization that Noah will indeed succeed Stewart in the coveted satirical news anchor chair.

Regarding the success of the new iteration of The Daily Show, Stewart said it best: “Trevor Noah will earn your trust and respect…or not.”

Yet regardless of the success of the Noah’s version of the show, the juxtaposition of South African-born, mixed-race Noah and African American Larry Wilmore ofThe Nightly Show, which replaced The Colbert Report in January, could be enlightening and influential concerning discussions about race in America.

Read the entire article on The Daily Beast: here.

Dangerous Speech is Not Free Speech or Even Hate Speech -- The Huffington Post

The video of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members at Oklahoma University chanting "niggers" would hang from a tree before ever joining their fraternity has sparked another furious national discussion over the limitations of free speech and the appropriate punishments for those who employ hate speech or dangerous speech.

And once again, too much of the media is focusing attention on the use of the "n-word" and not on the speech itself: a dangerous incantation and incitement to racial segregation, oppression and murder.

Read the entire article on The Huffington Post: here.

The Discussion on Capitalizing the 'B' in 'Black' Continues -- The Huffington Post

Last week The New York Times published "The Case for Black With a Capital B," an op-ed by Professor Lori L. Tharps. As a Black American and a proponent of the capitalization, I congratulate her for opening a conversation that is long overdue, a conversation that goes to the heart of how a large group of Americans with the most difficult of histories has struggled to express itself and gain greater agency in American society.

Tharps opens her critique by showing how The New York Times and the Associated Press style books continue to insist on using the lowercase "b" for "black Americans," specifically those whose genetic lineage is from the African diaspora in America. Yet the AP style book dictates that nationalities, races and cultures be capitalized. This should make one wonder about the proper identifier for Black Americans, because if we are neither a race nor a culture, what should the classification be?

Read the entire article on The Huffington Post: here.