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Race & Ethnicity

Race & Ethnicity

About that "Miracle"


  • There are most certainly topics here—tax policy, affordable housing, city planning—that are very much worth discussing.  But discussing them without exploring the history (and current reality) of racial oppression and exploitation isn't just incomplete; it’s dangerously deceptive, and almost miraculously self-perpetuating.
  • Justice and the Law, with MOA in Between
  • Truth and reconciliation is coming to America from the grassroots.

Mike Spangenberg, Question the Premise

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

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Mike%20Spangenberg%20%7C%20Mpls%2C%20MN%20Skyline.jpgMinneapolis Skyline (Credit: Mike Spangenberg)

February 17, 2015 | An article was published on the Atlantic’s site yesterday called The Miracle of Minneapolis.  The post, written by Derek Thompson, lauds the Twin Cities metro area for its success in the areas of education, social mobility, affordable housing, tax policy, and water-power-harnessing, to name a few.  

The claim that the Twin Cities are, and have been, such dynamic places to live is likely to ring hollow to at least one large category of Twin Cities residents: people of color.

Indeed, within hours of Thompson’s post going up, critics on Twitter began to point out, rightly, that for people of color, life in the Twin Cities is, and has been, a far cry from miraculous.

Mike Spangenberg: Father, husband. Justice and education and justice in education. Author: Question The Premise. 

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Justice and the Law, with MOA in Between, Mike Spangenberg, Question The Premise

  • And it is that (divorcing the law from justice) , fortified with the overpowering elixir of white privilege, that allows a white mayor, council, and attorney to snatch up the narrative of Dr. King, proclaim themselves self-anointed representatives of his legacy of justice, prosecute the same marginalized Black Americans Dr. King fought for for using the tactics he taught them and which they claim to lionize, and to sleep well at night, with the comforting knowledge that their souls are just.  After all, they’re just upholding the law.
  • About that "Miracle"


Truth and reconciliation is coming to America from the grassroots, Fania E. Davis, Guardian US

The country’s bloody history of lynching, slavery and racism cannot be tackled from the top-down. Change has to be initiated organically - from the people.

Series | Black History Month: Part 5, James Baldwin, a Guide in Dark Times

  • His essays on police brutality still burn hot, but his understanding of sex, self-knowledge and power demand equal attention now. Baldwin does not say that systems of power are unimportant. He insists that liberation is also a mandate on individuality: how one separates oneself from the “habits of thought [that] reinforce and sustain the habits of power”—in essence, how one comes into his or her humanity.
  • Five pieces by James Baldwin from our archives

JoAnn Wypijewski, The Nation

BlackHistoryMonth.jpgJanuary 21, 2015 | These are ripe times to read Baldwin. Not just the essays on racist policing; those are, in a way, too easy. “A Report From Occupied Territory,” which appeared in The Nation, burns hot a half-century after it was published. That its depiction of black vulnerability and police volatility could describe the contemporary scene; that its central metaphor of occupation is not too hyperbolic to have been echoed by Eric Holder last year, nor its concern with personal disintegration too dated to anticipate Ismaaiyl Brinsley; that even its particulars (“If one is carried back and forth from the precinct to the hospital long enough, one is likely to confess anything”) feel gruesomely fresh in light of known CIA torture regimens—all of these, enraging as they are, only confirm what we already tell ourselves in weaker words.

The police are brutal, the government is brutal, the populace is aroused (taking to the streets) or accommodating (switching from CNN to Homeland to football), brutalized or brutal too. America, cauldron of damaged life.

baldwin_img_0.jpg?itok=HFtgeaqoJames Baldwin in Los Angeles, 1969, (Credit: Sedat Pakay)

JoAnn Wypijewski, who writes The Nation’s “Carnal Knowledge” column, has been traveling the country to research a book on America in a time of crackup.

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Special Project | The Problem of Race in America: Week Ending January 31, 2015, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest.,

  • We should honor the sacrifices of the heroes of the civil rights movement, the courageous men and women who risked their freedom and even lives in the battle against racial discrimination. 
  • Their vision for a society of genuine social progress and economic opportunity can be achieved only if we recognize the inherent worth of the individual and we follow in their footsteps to enshrine the principle of individual rights. 
  • 9 New Items including:
    • Clip: Ronald Reagan’s Racially Tinged Stump Speeches
    • The Problem of Race in America
    • Series: Considering the Problem of Race in America | Part 1: What ‘White Privilege’ Really Means
    • City's failures on North Side are the overlooked outrage
    • America’s modern political nightmare: Two electorates, separate and unequal,
    • This Is Wrong: On Race and Class and Unassailable Privilege
    • Holder: Subtle Racism Is Greater Threat Than 'Outbursts Of Bigotry' 
    • For Black Men in America, There Is No Break From Racism
    • Mark Twain, His Mother, and Slavery

Series | Considering the Problem of Race in America, Part 6: Philosophy’s Lost Body and Soul



This is the sixth in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for The Stone. This week’s conversation is with Linda Martín Alcoff, a professor of philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. She was the president of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, for 2012-13. She is the author of “Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self.” — George Yancy

George Yancy and Linda Martin Alcoff, The Stone / New York Times


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February 4, 2015 | George Yancy: What is the relationship between your identity as a Latina philosopher and the philosophical interrogation of race in your work?

Linda Martín Alcoff: Every single person has a racial identity, at least in Western societies, and so one might imagine that the topic of race is of universal interest. Yet for those of us who are not white — or less fully white, shall I say — the reality of race is shoved in our faces in particularly unsettling ways, often from an early age. This can spark reflection as well as nascent social critique.

The relationship between my identity and my philosophical interest in race is simply a continuation through the tools of philosophy the pursuit that I began as a kid, growing up in Florida in the 1960s, watching the civil rights movement as it was portrayed in the media and perceived by the various parts of my family, white and nonwhite. I experienced school desegregation, the end of Jim Crow, and the war in Indochina, a war that also made apparent the racial categories used to differentiate peoples, at enormous cost. It was clear to me from a young age that “we” were the ones with no value for life, at least the life of those who were not white.

The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless.

George Yancy is a professor of philosophy at Duquesne University. He has written, edited and co-edited numerous books, including “Black Bodies, White Gazes,” “Look, a White!” and “Pursuing Trayvon Martin,” co-edited with Janine Jones.


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Part 5: What’s Wrong With ‘All Lives Matter’?

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for The Stone.. This week’s conversation is with Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor in the department of comparative literature and the program of critical theory at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of numerous influential books, including “Dispossession: The Performative in the Political,” which she co-authored with Athena Athanasiou. She will publish a book on public assemblies with Harvard University Press this year.

Part 4: Black Lives: Between Grief and Action

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for The Stone. This week’s conversation is with Joy James, a political philosopher who is a professor of the humanities and political science at Williams College.  She is the author of “Seeking the Beloved Community: A Feminist Race Reader.” 


Part 3: White Anxiety and the Futility of Black Hope

This is the third in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for The Stone. This week’s conversation is with Shannon Sullivan, a professor in the department of philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She is the author of "Good White People: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism."

Part 2: Lost in Rawlsland

This week’s conversation is with Charles Mills, the John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy at Northwestern University and the author of several books, including the influential 1997 work “The Racial Contract.”


Part 1: What ‘White Privilege’ Really Means

This week’s conversation is with Naomi Zack, a professor of philosophy at the University of Oregon and the author of “The Ethics and Mores of Race: Equality After the History of Philosophy.”

Series | Black History Month: Part 4, Ta-Nehisi Coates on How We Created the Ghetto


In the end, as Coates puts it: “Contract sellers became rich. North Lawndale became a ghetto.” And it still is today.

Moyers & Company

BlackHistoryMonth.jpgMay 28, 2014 | A central tenet of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ much-talked about new article in the Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations,” is the widespread practice of mortgage discrimination from the 1930s to the 1960s. At the time, black people were largely cut off from legitimate home mortgages due to the government’s practice of redlining. The Federal Housing Administration, which provided insurance on private mortgages at the time, used red ink to mark neighborhoods where black people lived, meaning they were usually considered ineligible for FHA backing, regardless of their earnings or standing in the community.

“In Chicago and across the country, whites looking to achieve the American dream could rely on a legitimate credit system backed by the government. Blacks were herded into the sights of unscrupulous lenders who took them for money and for sport,” Coates writes.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at the Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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