I’m considering starting every piece with, “One of the most amazing things about the current discourse on race is how resistant it is to moving from the theoretical to the concrete; from explanation to practical prescription.” Avoiding concrete explanation and practical prescription is the point of the current discourse promoting social justice (or here insert ‘fighting’ racism, transphobia, sexism, homophobia or any of the other concepts without agency said to oppress people) and any honest assessment worth engaging starts with that understanding.

However, what’s most amazing, is not that observation, but the degree to which the people who speak the most of marginalization on the basis of race, gender, sexuality and place of origin seem to care the least about tangible remedies for the marginalized. Either the problems of the marginalized are not tangible, or these people are not actually talking about the needs of marginalized people. It’s the latter. Typically, they are substituting their own class or social interests for those of the marginalized. Tangible remedies for circumstances creating desperate atomized people and marginalization don’t need a modifier. …

Image for post
Image for post

One of the most amazing things about the current discourse on race is how resistant it is to moving from the theoretical to the concrete; from explanation to practical prescription. This explains why it’s possible for a form of ‘anti-racism’ centered on race essentialism and ignoring the material needs of people dealing with racism to become so prominent. Once material questions are asked its uselessness becomes painfully apparent. I’d suggest that this is not only a problem with people like Ibram X. Kendi and his work, this disconnect from the material limits some of their critics as well.

Another thing that limits all sides in this discourse is that we use the words race and racism to describe a wide range of phenomena in arenas from the personal and individual to the workings of legal and economic systems. The words are so broad and describe so much as to lack any real utility beyond extending discourse and promoting a degree of confusion. …

Image for post
Image for post

One of the things that prevents me from writing more often is the sense that I’m just writing the same thing repeatedly from a slightly different angle. In a nutshell, all I’m saying is that moral idealism substituted for material goals will not lead to justice, but is an argument against materialism. I’m a dumb person’s low rent Adolph Reed Jr. translator. I’m a “class reductionist” who understands that when the discourse is reduced to just class there’s nothing as important as food, water and shelter that’s left out. I often find myself contending with people who insist that there is, unable to name anything. …

Image for post
Image for post

When I was in middle school, my mother received periodic evangelical solicitations for donations. I can’t remember the church, but the letters were garish, with printed sections in bold red. Sometimes the letters would feature ‘activity pages’ like Mad Magazine fold over images, that once completed revealed Satan or Christ with stigmata, good fun for the kids. The most consistent part was the fervent cry for renewed spiritual salvation through a donation, since you had surely fallen back to sin since the last solicitation. …

Image for post
Image for post

If there was no way to fix poverty the best that could be done was to contain it. Quickly, the War on Poverty morphed into the War on Crime. So fast was the transformation that the tools, bureaucracies, and funds allocated to the poverty war were instead used by police stations across the country to fight crime. Police departments began filling the spaces meant for the War on Poverty. It was police who delivered food and toys to needy Black families. …

Image for post
Image for post

What are the stakes that people imagine to be bound up with demonstrating that capitalism in this country emerged from slavery and racism, which are treated as two different labels for the same pathology? Ultimately, it’s a race reductionist argument. What the Afro-pessimist types or black nationalist types get out of it is an insistence that we can’t ever talk about anything except race. And that’s partly because talking about race is the things they have to sell.

Adolph Reed Jr.

If it’s not clear already, it’s worth thinking about the ways in which the history revision of the 1619 Project is less about understanding history than it is using history to justify a specific approach to defining and dealing with racism in the present. It serves the same purpose as all of the moral idealism pretending to represent justice — identity politics, intersectionality, reparations — that exist in the discourse to deter economic redistribution generally, and specifically, in this moment, the mass interracial movement being built by Bernie Sanders. …

Image for post
Image for post

If you were shocked by the sudden flare up of soap opera drama from the Warren campaign over the weekend leading up to the January Democratic debate, then her PR campaign had been working. It started with an article in Politico from Alex Thompson and Hollie Otterbein. The writers obtained what they said was a new script for volunteers that contrasted Sanders with Warren by pointing to the relative economic comfort of her base. This was portrayed as attacking Warren.

There are a few problems with this. It’s factual and matches reporting from Otterbein in July. The Sanders campaign denied sharing the awkwardly worded script. Many volunteers made the point that it was the opposite of the campaign messaging, which doesn’t mention other candidates. One volunteer tweeted that it had been shared in a Slack channel by a volunteer posting for the first time and it was removed by a team leader. It should be noted that Otterbein and Thompson are embedded with the Warren campaign. As evidence of the story they shared a retyped copy of the memo obtained from “a person close to the campaign” (we’re meant to assume that the person is close to the Sanders campaign and not the one in which they’re embedded). They retyped it to protect the identity of the source because campaign materials meant to be disseminated to many volunteers often carry identifying markers like classified materials. …

Image for post
Image for post

Two articles published online within days of each other in December highlight in very different ways a unique hazard of our current political discourse that is singularly directed at the supporters and campaign of Bernie Sanders. Published by The Federalist, Melissa Longam Braunstein attempts to bring the accusations of anti-semitism thrown at Jeremy Corbyn specifically, and the British left in general to our domestic politics. Recognizing it ill-advised to accuse a Jewish man who lost family in the Holocaust of anti-semitism, in her piece Linda Sarsour is Too Anti-Semitic For the Women’s March, But Not For Bernie Sanders Braunstein attempts to implicate him through association. …

Image for post
Image for post

I have been feeling compelled, while resisting the compulsion to write an appendix to my articles on Elizabeth Warren —“Examining Elizabeth Warren’s Political Identity: Is She Really a Rose?” and “Can the Mainstream Media See Elizabeth Warren Clearly?” Although there has been an uptick in skepticism from the left media, many continue to promote the idea that it’s unhinged to compare her to Hillary Clinton, her advisor, and Bernie is clearly better; and the idea that they are different by degree. The two articles are deliberately limited in their scope in terms of their examination of Warren’s record. In response a number of supporters defend her record by attempting to undermine the limited complaints laid out, as if doing so erases all of her negative history. …

brotherbeat

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store