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.
A new study from the Survey Center on American Life confirms what studies have been showing for decades, that Americans increasingly have fewer friends. The number of American men who say they have “no close friends” has increased from 3% in 1990 to 15% in 2021. To live without friends is terrifying; it is to risk being adrift, without support and love.
Sarah Schulman’s book Conflict Is Not Abuse is one of the better arguments, from a progressive perspective, against de-platforming and in favor of having difficult conversations. Schulman makes an essential argument, that we too often confuse the feeling of conflict or being uncomfortable with the experience of abuse or serious medical trauma.
I was in Ljubljana in early June to speak at a conference, “What Kind of Government?” You can watch recordings of the talks including my own talk “Revitalising Democracy: Citizen Juries as a Response to the Failure of Expert Rule.”
When I was in law school in the 1990s, Critical Race Theory was emerging from the legal academy. In my own personal history, it began with Patricia Williams’ book The Alchemy of Race and Rights: A Diary of a Law Professor. Later in law school I encountered Critical Race Theory through the works of Derrick Bell and Kimberlé Crenshaw. Critical Race Theory was radical and exciting.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has published a three-part reflection on her experiences of being insulted and attacked on social media by a former student and mentee, someone she had sought to help. For those who have experienced such attacks—and more and more of us have—it is shocking and disorienting to have people we consider friends or trusted colleagues join or even lead online attacks.
John Douglas Macready considers the importance of Arendt’s analysis of loneliness as the fertile ground for totalitarian and ideological politics. The widespread anxiety over the global eruption of right-wing populism, which was exacerbated by the election of Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and the succeeding four years of his presidency, produced a renewed interest in the political theory of Hannah Arendt,
While her personal library is at Bard College, Hannah Arendt left her personal papers to the Library of Congress. For years those papers have been available in-person at the library and, in part, over the web via an outdated, clunky, and incomplete digital interface. This week the Library of Congress launched its new website for the Hannah Arendt Papers.
We are living at a time when any action that one disagrees with leads not to a discussion and engagement but to a complaint and a demand for punishment. This is especially true at the top universities in the country. Disagreements that should be fodder for intellectual growth are now opportunities to exert power and punish one’s perceived enemies.