3.16.2008

RACE IN AMERICA

For the past couple of weeks, I've been meaning to post on one or both of the following topics:

1. Race and gender are somewhere in between "completely irrelevant" and "the deciding factor" in terms of influence on the Democratic presidential primary.

2. Getting indignant about overtly racist comments or actions gives us a false ability to wipe our hands clean of our own racist beliefs and of our contribution to institutional racism.

Thankfully for the reading public, Oliver Wang over at Poplicks has nicely encapsulated both points in a recent post: "The R-Word." Race as a defining and divisive issue is alive and well in America, and we need to confront it with honesty and humility, in ways that neither sweep it under the proverbial rug nor cause it to overtake all other frames of reference.

Sadly, this year's exciting and made-for-TV primary, while giving us an excellent forum to do just that, has mostly instead yielded "either-or" screeds, as pundits and politicos try to outdo each other in either righteous indignation or bombastic sensationalism. Here's hoping for more thoughtful posts like the one I've linked to above, as well as this one from Slate Magazine (scroll down to the post on Wednesday, March 12).
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