Hannah Arendt is a thinker who insists that we make distinctions. One of Arendt’s most controversial distinctions is that between racism and what she alternatively will call “race thinking” in The Origins of Totalitarianism, and then "prejudice" in many of her later essays. In the wake of the shooting in Buffalo last week, John McWhorter made his own distinctions while trying to understand the place of racism in U.S. society. McWhorter argues that we use the word racism today to mean too many things. He states that we need to distinguish between different aspects of what we call racism in order to think more clearly about the problems and prevent such tragedies as the shooting in Buffalo.
In June the United States Supreme Court in Rucho v. Common Cause refused to intervene in two cases that considered constitutional challenges to political gerrymandering in North Carolina and Maryland. The Court found the Congressional maps to be “highly partisan, by any measure,” and “blatant examples of partisanship driving districting decisions.” And the Court held...
Mike Jay writes about Walter Benjamin and Intoxication and Kathryn M. Rudy offers a startling account of how much it costs to be successful in some fields of academia.
Earlier this month at the National Conservative Conference multiple speakers sought to promote a “new American and British nationalism.” There was an effort to describe a nationalism grounded in strong national borders, and the superiority of “Anglo-Protestant culture.” Also held up as the roots of American nationalism were constitutionalism, the common law, the English language, and Christian scripture.
Jason Richwine takes on the argument that free speech only applies to the government regulation of speech. Of course, legally it is true that only the Constitution only protects speech from governmental restraint. But Richwine rightly argues that there the culture of engagement requires a broader protection of free speech.
Nikole Hannah-Jones is well aware that she is “part of the first generation of black Americans in the history of the United States to be born into a society in which black people had full rights of citizenship.” She writes that while “Black people suffered under slavery for 250 years; we have been legally “free” for just 50.” And she believes that “in that briefest of spans, despite continuing to face rampant discrimination...
With all the craziness going on here in the United States, it is sometimes hard to remember to pay attention to the world. But a number of essays this week remind us that the revolt against elite norms and elite institutions is a worldwide phenomenon. Siddhartha Deb writes about the decision of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party in India to revoke the special status of Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state in India.
Joe Biden made news with another racial gaffe when he said “We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor, you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.” John McWhorter argues that these gaffes, while problematic, are also indicative of a paradoxical tension around black achievement.
For the past two days I’ve been teaching Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism for the tuition free summer school program at The University of the Underground and The Hannah Arendt Center, at The School for Poetic Computation in NYC. ..