Dear facebook friend,
It saddens me to say that I find your views concerning recent police killings of Black men and not unrelated anti-police violence to be racist. Sorry to use the r-word on you. I know how much being accused of racism angers you. I know because it angers me too. Somewhere along the way, I picked up a meaning of the word “racist” that boils down to “irrationally hateful”, “deplorably unenlightened”, or “willfully ignorant”. In some way, this makes sense, since, after all, much of what we think of as racism is transparently nonsensical and immoral. I think we’d all agree that someone’s worth is not found in their skin pigmentation. Read more ›
If you’re an academic anywhere in the world, you’re probably under pressure to publish to make progress in your career or just to keep your job. Increasingly, you’re probably also under pressure to publish “internationally”. Thanks to the global dominance of English-speaking academia, “international” is more or less a euphemism for journals published in English. Faced with this requirement, academics from outside English-speaking countries like the US, the UK, Canada, or Australia have commonly reported that writing for publication in English is a source of disadvantage for them. Furthermore, they have been shown to be less successful at having their work published in these journals than those scholars residing in English-speaking countries. Read more ›
The past week has seen quite a bit of discussion of Hillary Clinton’s voice. As I wrote about last week, numerous people have called her “shrill“, a clearly gendered word. Nonetheless, the sexism behind such criticisms continues to be denied. Ben Shapiro, for example, wrote an article titled, “Yes, Hillary Clinton Is Shrill. No, It’s Not Sexist To Say So“, as if his perception of someone’s voice were purely a matter of objective reason. Read more ›
The United States once again has the opportunity to elect the first woman as President, Hillary Clinton. Her chances of getting the Democratic nomination are quite strong. Not surprisingly then, there’s a lot of talk about women in politics. Read more ›
In a recent discussion with Hilton Als at the New Yorker festival, Toni Morrison offered a lot of insightful commentary on topics about race, gender, writing, and other issues. I read about it in this Guardian article, and I found one of her observations particularly interesting. Morrison states:
The complexity of the so-called individual that’s been praised for decades in America somehow has narrowed itself to the ‘me’. When I was a young girl we were called citizens – American citizens. We were second-class citizens, but that was the word. In the 50s and 60s they started calling us consumers. So we did – consume. Now they don’t use those words any more – it’s the American taxpayer and those are different attitudes.
Morrison picks up on an interesting variation between words that could largely stand for the same thing: people who have a vested interest in the United States. Read more ›