Race

What Is the Personal? An Excerpt from Wendy S. Walters’ ‘Multiply/Divide’

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The below essay, which brilliantly examines the idea of “the personal” through the lenses of race, sex, and history — both personal and collective — in American life, is drawn from Multiply / Divide: On the American Real and Surreal, Wendy S. Walters’ incisive new collection of fictions, nonfiction essays, and lyric essays, out this month from Sarabande Books.

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Charleston and White Supremacy: A Reading List

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As many of us continue to reel from this week’s mass murder at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, there are many broader issues and histories we need to reflect on — to make sense of this crime and to help us see a better future ahead. We’ve curated a weekend reading list that offers context for everything from the history of the targeted church and Charleston, to media criticism, to an in-depth look at the faces of today’s organized white supremacy movement.
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Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ Bandleader Jon Batiste on How Music Can Unite America Right Now

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Perhaps even more than Michael McDonald, Jon Batiste’s whole thing revolves around taking it to the streets. The Stay Human bandleader and come September, the official “musical friend” on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show has built his career around the kinds of performances that are common in his hometown of New Orleans. But his spontaneous shows aren’t not some flashmob gimmick: Batiste grounds his approach in pure humanism, so much so that it borders on political.
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Rachel Dolezal Identifies as Black, Denounces Blackface in Confusing First Interviews

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Rachel Dolezal’s “silence-breaking” interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show, along with a second series of interview excerpts with MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, didn’t reveal all that much we didn’t already know. So far, the biggest takeaway has been that Dolezal — in the cultural hot seat this week, to put it mildly — claims she has no deception to confess. She essentially ends up sticking to her story, saying she identifies as black. She even seems to give credence to the (widely criticized) theory that her identity is something akin to transgender, and that she experienced a sense of racial dysmorphia from an early age.
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Rue From ‘The Hunger Games’ Understands Something About Racism That So Many Americans Don’t

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Her gorgeous performance as Rue from The Hunger Games attracted a cascade of racist responses on social media, but now teenager Amandla Sternberg is becoming a public voice on the topics of race and culture, thanks to a Tumblr video that has gone viral. In a few short, well-produced moments, Sternberg answered one question that American media consumers and creators fail to understand, and raised another that we’d all do well to seriously consider. And she did it all as history class project, with the help of a friend.
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Reif Larsen’s ‘I Am Radar’: Art and Race in 2015’s First Big, Messy Novel

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Am Radar begins in darkness: the title character, Radar Radmanovic, is born to his mother Charlene during a hospital blackout. Charlene’s husband, Kermin Radmanovic, is tinkering with a transceiver radio in the delivery room, waiting to “announce his child’s arrival to the world.” But when the lights come on the doctor is holding on to her newborn child, a baby “so dark it shimmered purple in the beam of light, like an eggplant.”
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