Good news! My new book HOW TO BE LESS STUPID ABOUT RACE: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide will be published by Beacon Press on September 18th! You can pre-order it now via Beacon, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound and it will be available wherever books are sold this fall!
You can learn more about the work and see some of the advanced praise here.
I’m immensely proud to share that the editorial team for the book was comprised entirely of women of color — and I had the amazing opportunity of working with Gayatri Patnaik, the brilliant editorial director at Beacon Press.
Deep gratitude to the many friends and colleagues who have been supportive as I embarked on publishing my first trade book and engaging in rigorous public sociology. This has been an exciting, whirlwind of an experience and I could not have done it without the encouragement of my community.
Beacon is my dream press for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is their spiritually informed mission and long history of publishing amazing writers and change agents like Thich Nhat Hanh, James Baldwin, bell hooks, Cornel West and many, many others. Their vision statement says it all:
The mission of Beacon Press is to affirm and promote these principles: the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another; a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process in society; the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; respect for the interdependent web of all existence; and the importance of literature and the arts in democratic life.
My kickass agent, Michael Bourret, found the perfect home for this book! So… pre-order your copy today and let me know what you think when it comes out in September!
This morning, I woke up in Paris to the terrible news that yet another unarmed black man, Walter Scott, had been shot to death by a white police officer in the United States. While the killing happened over the weekend, it took several days for the story to traverse the Atlantic and reach my consciousness here in France, where I am currently completing a book on French racism and the legacies of slavery.
As I watched the traumatic video of officer Michael Slager shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott — a father and Coast Guard veteran — two questions immediately came to mind:
What kind of a person shoots an unarmed human being in the back, then handcuffs them as they lay dying?
Even more to the point:
What kind of society allows black people to be routinely violated and killed by the state?
So many heavy words, we feel the weight of them; we feel the weight each time, every time, all the time.
Black, brown, race, racism: words that come up; words you bring up.
It is not that we only feel the weight through words. The load does not lighten when light remains white. Whiteness is a lightening of a load.
Not white: loaded.
When you bring up racism it is like you introduce something that would not have otherwise existed. It is racism that makes “racism” a foreign word, a foreigner word, what you impose on others, what gets in the way of happiness, reconciliation.
Smile: things will get better!
Smile: they won’t.
No wonder words matter. Words are materials. We build worlds with words. We make words from worlds.
This is why: so much of contemporary politics, we might call this so much “happy multiculturalism”…
Human capabilities and the racial contract: Avoiding the epistemology of ignorance of liberal contractarianism Claudio D’Amato email@example.com
Abstract: Global relations are largely shaped by what Charles Mills calls “the racial contract”: the sometimes explicit and sometimes unspoken agreement that social arrangements must favor whites over nonwhites. This bias is strong among white political philosophers and especially in the liberal contractarian theories of Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, Kant, and, most recently, Rawls. While these theories pay lip service to nominal equality in the name of universalism, they also ignore the inequality and disadvantage that nonwhites suffer at the hands of whites, and thus they contribute to epistemic obscurantism and racial domination. In this paper, first, I strengthen Mills’s argument by providing an even more convincing objection against the procedural requirements of John Rawls’s theory of justice; second, I argue that this objection gives us a good reason to distinguish between Rawls’s liberal…
You may think I’m talking about the Nobel. But I’m not. Here is the 1969 rejection letter and reviews of an early version of Granovetter’s “the strength of weak ties” paper. It was rejected by ASR.
I asked Mark if I could share this; he agreed. He also wrote, “I’d note also that this rejection illustrates the importance of framing. I framed the original draft, which I wrote in grad school, as a treatment of “alienation”, more or less in response to the ideas of Louis Wirth and others that the city was an “alienating” place. The editor therefore sent the paper to reviewers who seemed to be European-oriented alienation theorists, who rightly saw that I was not talking about alienation as Marx did, but failed to imagine that there might be any other valid way to talk about it, as you can see from their comments. When I later…
In keeping with my goal of highlighting some of the major thinkers, texts, or figures in women of color feminism,today’s text comes from Nobel Prize nominated Indigenous feminist scholar, Andrea Smith. I have taught her book Conquest since it came out in my social movements, feminist theory, and race, class, gender courses. It was such an impressive and timely piece of research that I am already intrigued by the upcoming release of her new book: Native Americans and the Christian Right: The Gendered Politics of Unlikely Alliances. I was recently asked who I thought was one of the defining voices of feminist theory in the last ten years and her name immediately came to mind. Not only does she write theory but she also does some of the most extensive research I have seen in a single book in a long time, and I am a researcher who covers…
Although we got a bit sick, ran into some technical problems with the car and had to drive through the remnants of a hurricane, we nonetheless had a wonderful time visiting my mom in Portland, ME. She was an extraordinary host, whipping up delicious, healing, gourmet dishes and nursing us back to health.
We had a synchronicity/matrix-moment during this trip that was pretty cool. When K and I decided we wanted to see the coast, we looked up a list of “Maine’s best beaches” and settled on Ogunquit, not knowing anything about it other than the fact that the name supposedly means “beautiful place by the sea” in the Abenaki Native Americans. (Others suggest that it actually means “coastal lagoon”). By the way, trying to look up any information about the indigenous population that lived in Ogunquit before European colonization was a lesson in cultural erasure. Most of the websites we found were awful, celebratory portraits of the colonial “encounter” that provided very little information about the original people living there.
Just as just as we were sort of wondering “Hmm, will this place be lesbian-couple-friendly”, I came across this line in the town’s Wikipedia page: “Over the past 100 years, Ogunquit has become a destination for LGBT tourists, and features numerous LGBT-owned and -operated hotels,restaurants, bars, theaters, and other businesses.” Basically, unbeknownst to us, the Universe had led us to the gayest, most beautiful beach town in Maine!
We had a delicious, inexpensive lunch (burger, lobster roll and strawberry mojitos) at Frills–an easy, breezy, beautiful beach shack nestled away under umbrellas and trees. Then we went a few doors up the street for frozen yogurt and ice cream. Yummmm.
Thanks to Fat ‘n Forty for bringing this to my attention! I watched the trailer and it looks like a compelling take on body image — except for one big, fat glaring oversight: there are no women of color featured in any of the interviews. That’s quite a shame and I hope the final documentary is more diverse and inclusive.