[caption id="attachment_19280" align="alignleft" width="200"] By Eduardo Montes-Bradley, CC BY-SA 4.0[/caption] Melvin Rogers argues that faith is at the very center of the black American experience. Rogers seeks a space to disagree with Ta-Nehisi Coates, for whom "white supremacy not as a political ideology, but [is] the defining feature of the U.S. polity—its essential nature." Writing with and against Coates, Rogers asks that we see ourselves as more than what has been and recall that the United States has always been a future-directed project."
Coates describes the pain visited on black bodies and engenders white guilt. He erodes the idea that who we are need not determine who we may become. He obstructs rather than opens any attempt to reckon with our racial past and present in the service of an inclusive future. And he participates in a politics where words and actions can never aspire to change the political community in which we live, and for that reason they only fortify our indignation and deepen our suspicion—namely, that as black Americans, we are as alien to this polity as it is alien to us. The aspiration to defend a more exalted vision of this country’s ethical and political life is taken as the hallmark of being asleep, dreaming in religious illusions. To be alive to an unvarnished reality, to be woke, is to recognize that no such country is possible. This runs roughshod over that thread in the grand tradition of U.S. struggles for justice—a tradition in which hope and faith are forged through political darkness. Hope involves attachment and commitment to the possibility of realizing the goods we seek. Faith is of a broader significance, providing hope with content. Faith, the black scholar Anna Julia Cooper suggested in 1892, is grounded in a vision of political and ethical life that is at odds with the community one inhabits. It is a vision that one believes ought to command allegiance, for which one is willing to fight, and in which one believes others can find a home. Faith looks on the present from the perspective of a future vision of society, and uses the vision as a resource to remake the present. And so faith, the philosopher and psychologist William James explained in 1897, is “the readiness to act in a cause the prosperous issue of which is not certified to us in advance.” In other words, faith has never been exhausted by the political reality one happens to be living in. Political faith has always rested on the idea that we are not finished, a thought that Coates rejects out of hand. In the nineteenth century, Ralph Waldo Emerson called this capacity for human renewal “ascension, or the passage of the soul into higher forms.” In our political life this means, as James Baldwin well knew, that both our liberal democratic institutions and its culture “depends on choices one has got to make, for ever and ever and ever, every day.” Faith has always been a loving but difficult commitment precisely because it makes politics about maybes rather than certainties. One of the greatest dangers of U.S. exceptionalism, for instance, is that it has habituated us to think about the structure of political life as necessarily progressing. Writing in the wake of the Montgomery bus boycott—a successful nonviolent campaign against racial segregation—King sought to chasten the obvious excitement: “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Even a superficial look at history reveals that no social advance rolls in on the wheels of inevitability.” Yet Coates appears simply to invert U.S. exceptionalism, replacing it with the equally fatalistic idea that the United States is fundamentally broken. In a world where the good or bad is fated to happen, faith and hope have no foothold. This ultimately weakens our resolve and undermines our ability to take seriously the idea of an “American experiment.”"Form more information visit: http://bostonreview.net/race/melvin-rogers-keeping-faith
Not Me Too
Samantha Hill argues that the #metoo hashtag "is not good for women or men."
"“Me too” is an affirmative, confessional statement. And while I understand the desire to share one’s story and be recognized, I worry that this hashtag is doing more harm than good for a few reasons. First, the act of confessing isn’t an act of political liberation. From the confessional, to the therapist’s couch, we are a deeply confessional society. The moment of release, however, comes at a price. As French philosopher Michel Foucault lays out in the History of Sexuality, the confessional has long been a space where power is exercised over individuals by compelling them to name their experiences, to reveal some hidden truth. #Metoo is the technological equivalent of the confessional. Instead of a couch, though, we have social media platforms, and the confessor is the audience that we post for and the platforms that collect the information we post. Not only do we hand over our power when we confess, but we subject ourselves to surveillance. The second reason is that #metoo is emblematic of a new form of commodified, media driven protest."Read More on Medium...Form more information visit: https://medium.com/amor-mundi/why-metoo-is-not-for-me-a8472da49034
The Center of Attention
The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard published "Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election." Worth reading in its entirety, the study makes an essential observation regarding the obvious polarization of the political and media landscape. While the overall media bias in the United States skews left of center, the left wing bias is largely centrist. On the right, however, the center-right has a minimal presence and the far right is the center of attention for conservative media.
"In this study, we analyze both mainstream and social media coverage of the 2016 United States presidential election. We document that the majority of mainstream media coverage was negative for both candidates, but largely followed Donald Trump’s agenda: when reporting on Hillary Clinton, coverage primarily focused on the various scandals related to the Clinton Foundation and emails. When focused on Trump, major substantive issues, primarily immigration, were prominent. Indeed, immigration emerged as a central issue in the campaign and served as a defining issue for the Trump campaign. We find that the structure and composition of media on the right and left are quite different. The leading media on the right and left are rooted in different traditions and journalistic practices. On the conservative side, more attention was paid to pro-Trump, highly partisan media outlets. On the liberal side, by contrast, the center of gravity was made up largely of long-standing media organizations steeped in the traditions and practices of objective journalism. Our data supports lines of research on polarization in American politics that focus on the asymmetric patterns between the left and the right, rather than studies that see polarization as a general historical phenomenon, driven by technology or other mechanisms that apply across the partisan divide. The analysis includes the evaluation and mapping of the media landscape from several perspectives and is based on large-scale data collection of media stories published on the web and shared on Twitter... The structure of the overall media landscape shows media systems on the left and right operate differently. The asymmetric polarization of media is evident in both open web linking and social media sharing measures. Prominent media on the left are well distributed across the center, center-left, and left. On the right, prominent media are highly partisan. The center of gravity of the overall landscape is the center-left. Partisan media sources on the left are integrated into this landscape and are of lesser importance than the major media outlets of the center-left. The center of attention and influence for conservative media is on the far right. The center-right is of minor importance and is the least represented portion of the media spectrum."Form more information visit: https://cyber.harvard.edu/publications/2017/08/mediacloud