The Brexit referendum shows two forms of racism: the overt expression of nationalism and chauvinism; the other, a tacitly racist worldview which results in acceptance and perpetuation of racist rhetoric.
The LGBTQ rights struggle has been widely compared to the African-American civil rights movement of the 1960s, and it's hard not to see the parallels. North Carolina's new law perfectly exemplifies this comparison: in effect, the legislature and governor have codified "men only" and "women only" restrooms similar to the "whites only" restrooms of the Jim Crow South. However, there are important differences between this law and Jim Crow laws that underscore why the struggle for transgender rights is taking place over private spaces.
One term has captured the right-wing imagination and become the default slur deployed by many right-wing activists: "cuck," short for cuckold. Its recent usage indicates that right-wingers are particularly insecure about their masculinity, their place in the world, and the burgeoning multicultural society that is forming around them.
Why are Trump’s followers so scary? It’s because they have fallen victim to the fascist impulse: the appealing idea of “making America great again,” as in taking back power from the Democrats, the immigrants, the blacks, the women, the UN, and the Chinese.
Last Friday, Missouri State Representatives Rick Brattin and Kurt Bahr introduced HB 1743, a proposal to strip student athletes of their scholarships if they refused to play “for a reason unrelated to health,” a punitive measure to prevent students from organizing against racism.
The media coverage had to reconcile the ways a sanctuary could be corrupted from within. Simply put, Columbine was not invaded by people from the outside, but by outside ideas. As the coverage suggested, Columbine had fallen prey to something insidious and foreign. Essentially, the narrative that the media crafted focused on all the ways in which the shooters were abnormal: they did not dress, act, or consume like normal teenagers.
What about those leaders who are not democratically elected, yet whose decisions affect our daily lives? Why are CEOs, regents, trustees, shareholders, and every kind of boss free from the strictures of democracy in the putative world’s greatest democracy? And why, if democracy is such a central value to American society, do some of its most steadfast rhetorical apologists repudiate democracy in the workplace?
The National Football League and the NCAA have both used football to exploit young men, especially men of color. By creating a fantasy of stardom and riches, the NFL misleads young men into sacrificing their bodies in a violent sport. The NFL and NCAA exploit athletes' labor for exorbitant revenues and cast off injured players when they are no longer useful to the league. Moreover, football's detrimental health effects can permanently damage players at all skill levels.
By not helping a candidate like Sanders win, we might not only be handing the election to fascists like Donald Trump, but we will certainly cause suffering for our working-class brethren. If we wish to address some fundamental and historical problems in our society, then we cannot afford to let the conservatives and reactionaries win. This includes both the Republican Party and Hillary Clinton. If they win, our people will lose. If Sanders wins, our people will benefit. The Left, however it is defined, has to unite against bigger threats.
I enjoyed the show during its short run and I appreciated the depth of character in both Lecter and Graham. I also realized that Lecter and Hannibal demonstrate some of the basic formulations of Marx and Engels’s critique of ideology. Dr. Lecter is the perfect encapsulation of bourgeois ethics: purely narcissistic, self-aggrandizing, exploitative, and manipulative, yet the audience desires to be like him (keeping the bloodshed for self-righteous fantasies, of course).
In a parallel fashion to Malcolm X’s marginalization for being too radical, the press marginalized gangsta rappers for being too violent, preferring instead to laud the non-violent “alternative” rappers.
Journalists tended to craft narratives that disregarded the political critiques groups like NWA were leveling against the structures of white supremacy. These kinds of exclusions and misinterpretations demonstrate the narrative problems posed by journalists because they could not or would not “tell the whole truth.” In effect, they reified questions of legitimate discourse by constructing barriers to entry for marginal groups.
Within gangsta rap lyrics, rappers like Ice Cube authored excoriating critiques of white supremacy, police brutality, racism, and classism. Moreover, their music exhibits a clearly political goal of eradicating police brutality and structural racism, even if violence is necessary to accomplish their objectives.
Packaged in an increasingly fashionable medium, gangsta rap was not only dangerous in terms of its expression of black liberation, but also because it was becoming popular with teenagers of all ethnic groups. The predominantly-white and elite media reaction exemplified wide-ranging efforts on the part of white elites to silence and marginalize the political messages of gangsta rap. [This is the introduction to a four-part series on gangsta rap, Black Nationalism, and representations of political discourse.]
In his 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the inspiration for the film Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick presents a dystopian vision of Earth that is crumbling in the aftermath of an atomic war. Dick presents empathy as the centerpiece for all discussions of morality, including observations about the sentience of non-human animals. Because empathy forms the backbone of the ethics of Dick’s world, the author makes a compelling series of arguments that seem to be in favor of veganism.
This is the final part of a four-part project on collective memory, the power of place, and the pathologization of blackness in American history. Part 1 is linked here, part 2 is linked here, part 3 is linked here.
In 2014, an American man named Jeremiah Heaton claimed an area on the Egypt-Sudan border called BirTawil and established the kingdom of North Sudan under the auspices of making his then 6-year-old daughter a genuine princess. He planted a flag designed by his daughter and declared the new country as his own. These claims are—whether unwittingly, unconsciously, ignorantly, or purposefully—firmly embedded in a colonialist discourse of European territorial conquest, imperial domination, and racial subjugation.
William D. Cohan is fundamentally wrong about the supposed "cultural shift" on Wall Street. Banking CEOs haven't changed their business culture because it's best for society, but because it ensures predictable and consistent profits with minimal state regulation.
Recent controversies over Religious Freedom Restoration Acts across the country illustrates how homophobia is the latest bastion of Christian conservative bigotry. These RFRA are narrowly interpreted to allow for conservatives to discriminate against those they deem ideologically troublesome while states continue to outlaw religious and social practices they deem unworthy of religious legitimacy.
What is written on our bodies expresses a myriad of messages about our inner beliefs as well as the intellectual histories that have affected those beliefs. In this post, I attempt to document the construction of twentieth-century environmentalisms through different kinds of tattoos.
Mockumentary comedies have reached new heights in recent years with the immense popularity of shows like The Office, Parks and Rec, and Modern Family. While the television mockumentary form is relatively recent, television comedians used tactics such as self-reference to break the fourth wall and push their audience to rethink the boundary between entertainment and reality since the 1950s. In this post I explore recent scholarship on the topic of self-reference in television comedy, tracing the changing purposes of the method with example scenes, dialogues, and jokes from the Jack Benny Program, Saturday Night Live, and The Office.