Seeing What Is: “White Privilege,” “Antiracism,” The Police – Lessons from a Losing Culture on the Authority of Language at a time of MovementNikita Nelin
“We got engaged, preparing for a summer wedding, and started talking about kids. Then the pandemic hit. My industry crumbled and hers pressurized. Social distancing left us sheltered in place in our new neighborhood, as we watched the world outside first shudder, and then take to the streets, while we tried to reconcile our place in it with the disappearance our own dream.”
In an essay “Power Politics Triumphs” from 1945, Hannah Arendt argues that the “obsoleteness of this book” is a “consequences of the author’s pathetic faith in the validity of economic arguments.” Over and again, in modern politics, it has been shown that “nobody cares” about economic arguments and that politics is not driven by economics.
Hannah Arendt cannot solve the problems of our world. But her bold, provocative, and fearless thinking is a model for how we can think about the problems we confront today. At the Hannah Arendt Center we don't worship Hannah Arendt. But we seek to nurture the kind of worldly, humanities-based thinking about ethics and politics that Arendt so fully embodied.
Dariel Vasquez is a first generation college graduate from Harlem, NY. Dariel graduated from Bard College (Class of 2017) with a joint degree in History and Sociology, and a concentration in Africana-Studies. He is the founder and director of Brothers@. Youth development and mentorship is Dariel’s passion, and he’s been working with young men of color since he was 16 years old.
Bari Weiss resigned from The New York Times this week in an open letter, citing the effect social media has had on traditional publishing platforms.
In a passionate, honest, and brilliant interview with Bill Moyers, Bill T. Jones is asked if he is more politically inclined now than previously in his life. Jones invokes Hannah Arendt to affirm the necessary confluence of politics, intellectual honesty, and spiritualism.
There is an apparent myth going around that cancel culture is a phenomenon of the political left. One sees this in the reaction to the Open Letter in Harpers that I signed last week. There was in that letter no mention of “the left.” The letter explicitly mentioned the danger from illiberalism from both the political right and Donald Trump as well as from cultural intolerance for curiosity and experimental thinking.
What I’m going to do today is to talk about two remarkable upsurges of self-organized citizen activity that have spread across the United States in just the last decade. I’m going to be talking about the Tea Party from 2009 to 2011—although there are still some Tea Parties meeting—and the anti-Trump grassroots resistance that has self-organized across many communities in the country since the November 2016 election.
The weakness of a group letter—and I have never signed one before and hope not to have to sign one again—is that it never fully captures one’s own views. It is by necessity a compromise. And I feel strongly that in a group letter, no person should be attacked. That is one reason why the letter took a positive and quite abstract approach.
Daniel Denvir interviews Barbara Fields and Karen Fields, the sisters who wrote the extraordinary book Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life. The Field sisters coin the word “Racecraft” to name the magical process through which the fiction of race is made real. When a police officer who is black is conjured as a black man, this conjuring trick is what allows that officer to be discriminated against or even killed