Category Archives: race

November 28, 2014, 12:35 pm

Edu-blogging After the Ferguson Grand Jury Verdict


Mamie Elizabeth Till-Mobley, who never allowed her son to be forgotten.

If you are a writer for an education weekly, what exactly is supposed to happen in the aftermath of the grand jury decision in Ferguson, MO? The decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson, reached just before Thanksgiving, has swept through the academic Facebook and the blogosphere, making everything else seem irrelevant. Here are a few random questions and thoughts.

What should we teach next week? In an ideal world, we would all agree to take a day off for a teach-in on race in Amerika — like maybe once a week. Barring that outcome, many faculty may be puzzling about how to go back into the classroom after break. Will students expect, hope for, or dread, a special class devoted to Ferguson? I suspect it depends where you are…

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November 16, 2014, 10:15 am

Sunday College Roundup

This sweet guy is Derrick Gordon, first out gay man to start a DI college hoops game.

This sweet guy is Derrick Gordon, first out gay man to play in a DI college hoops game.

A powerful essay by Yale professor of women, gender and sexuality studies Inderpal Grewal about why racial and gender diversity on the faculty matters to how women, people of color and queers are treated on campus. Check out the section of the comments thread where someone (presumably a Yalie but maybe not) claims WGSS is not getting adequate resources from the university because the courses are easy A’s, providing even more evidence for what Grewal has argued.

This week, Derrick Gordon, of the University of Massachusetts, the first men’s DI college basketball player to come out as gay, started his first game since the announcement on April 9. Note to campuses trying to recruit talented scholar-athletes: he chose UMass be…

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November 15, 2011, 3:47 pm

Rejoining the Parts: A Conversation with Jane Lazarre About Race, Fiction, American History and Her New Novel, Inheritance

Jane Lazarre is a writer of fiction, memoir and poetry who has published many books, beginning with her memoir, The Mother Knot (1976; reissued in 1997 by Duke University Press) and most recently, Inheritance, A Novel (Hamilton Stone Editions, 2011). She has taught writing and literature at New York’s City College and at Yale University; and for many years directed and taught in the undergraduate writing program at Eugene Lang College at the New School.

Tenured Radical: The title of the book — Inheritance — asks the reader to think about what is passed down, generation to generation.  But in the first chapter we are confronted with Sam’s frustration and anger that, as a young woman with a white and a black parent, she knows so little of her family history. We come to understand that our historical “inheritance” not only can’t be taken for granted and but also sometimes requires a…

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January 26, 2011, 8:26 pm

On The Idea That Merit Is Actually A System: An Intervention On Behalf Of Affirmative Action

These remarks were delivered on Saturday, January 22, at the Third Social Justice Leadership Conference, organized by students at Zenith University.  I appeared on a panel about affirmative action policies and academic admissions with colleagues Alex DuPuy (sociology); J. Kehaulani Kauanui (American Studies and Anthropology); and Sonja Manjon, Vice President for Diversity and Strategic Partnerships.  The panel began with remarks by Theodore M. Shaw, Columbia School of Law and formerly head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  The conference followed a keynote by Geoffry Canada, of the Harlem Children’s Zone, given the previous evening.

On left, a self-identified “victim of a hate crime.”  Credit.

The analysis that follows was shaped by what I observed in the fall of 2009 during a conflict provoked by some of our students over Zenith’s affirmative action policies; it was also shaped by…

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July 25, 2010, 2:33 pm

Sunday Radical Roundup: Surely The Obama Presidency Means We Are Now Beyond Race

To paraphrase Leslie Nielson in Airplane (1980), “No, not if we are firing black people in public service for talking about race — and don’t call me Shirley.” Even out in Minnesota, where the Radical family was taking a vacation from all things political, everyone was aware that it wasn’t a great week to be Shirley. Read good commentaries in today’s New York Times from Frank Rich, a particularly lucid Maureen Dowd, and Van Jones on the Shirley Sherrod affair.

Sherrod’s firing and rehiring by Tom Vilsack, a Midwestern progressive who should have known better (and a West Wing that either signed off or insisted on it) is a teachable moment. Ponder, if you will, what this event tells us about the cynical use of race in contemporary political culture. Why the Obama administration can’t do better than it does, particularly given the historical lessons of the Clinton years in which…

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