1704 Chapters
Medium 9780253006288

1. The Teaching Moment That Never Was: Henry Louis Gates, Barack Obama, and the Post-Racial Dilemma

David H. Ikard Indiana University Press ePub



The Teaching Moment That Never Was

Henry Louis Gates, Barack Obama,
and the Post-Racial Dilemma

WHEN DISTINGUISHED black Harvard professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates was arrested at his Cambridge, Massachusetts, residence for disorderly conduct on July 16, 2009, by James Crowley, a white police officer, the story seemed at once familiar and unique. Familiar in the sense that African Americans in general and African American men in particular have a long and ugly history with the police force and judicial system, dating back to slavery. Unique in the sense that the black man, Gates, in this familiar racial theater was wealthy and possessed “real” power and agency to fight back on an individual level.1 (It also didn't hurt that Gates had friends in high places, including the first black president of the United States.) Indeed, it is highly likely that many, if not most, black men today older than twenty-five have at least one police brutality or mistreatment story to tell. What made this instance unique, then, was not the fact that it involved a rich and powerful black man who was up against a status quo police force, but that when push came to shove, as the black colloquium goes, Gates was able to wield his considerable influence to gain a public hearing on the matter and pressure the Cambridge judicial system to drop the charges without having to, say, organize a mass demonstration or go on a hunger strike.

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Medium 9781576750353

7. My Debt to E. B. White

Robert K. Greenleaf Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

In 1929, when I moved to New York, I was immediately attracted to The New Yorker magazine, that was then in its fifth year, and to E. B. White, who had helped make it a remarkable magazine, and who had been on the staff for three years. My debt to Mr. White, after 55 years of living with his writings, stems from two gifts that are rarely possessed by one person: the ability to see things whole, or more whole than most, and the language to tell us ordinary mortals what he sees.

I am not a literary person, but I know that White’s writing style is greatly admired among some literary folk. His revision of Strunk’s The Elements of Style is a widely used text. He is sometimes identified as a humorist, and I find good laughs in his work. He is a fellow who, when the spirit moves him, just naturally breaks into song—so there is quite a bit of poetry. In his later years, there have been stories for children. As a so-called adult, I find them delightful. But his writing style, his humor, his poetry, and his children’s stories are not the central focus of what I want to acknowledge here, though, obviously, they are the context within which it is housed.

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Medium 9780253006271

5 Césaire Reads Toussaint: The Haitian Revolution and the Problem of Departmentalization

Walsh, John Patrick Indiana University Press ePub

The central claim of Part I is that Toussaint transformed the relationship between Saint-Domingue and France, especially in the consolidation of his agency, understood both in terms of literacy and political skill. The core argument that I develop in Part II is that his vision for the future for Saint-Domingue was passed on to Césaire, who, shuttling between Martinique and France, contemplated the interstices of colonial past and departmental future. In the space of the French Caribbean, both men, though separated by some 150 years, battled the obdurate forces of French colonialism and the specter of slavery. Educated in the school of French republicanism, both men were apprenticed to the language of liberty, equality, and fraternity; in return, both men inscribed lessons that erstwhile masters failed to translate. While Toussaint and Césaire share the mantle of anticolonial struggle, their stances, and the ambiguities of these positions, differed significantly. Toussaint was a leader of rebel slaves, a supreme military tactician who defeated European armies, and a skilled administrator, yet some of his policies, particularly those related to agriculture, were a continuation of French colonial methods. Césaire’s anticolonial voice first rang out in the pages of L’Étudiant noir and in the epic Cahier d’un retour au pays natal, but his subsequent political decisions, most notably the project of departmentalization, compromised his anticolonial legend.

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Medium 9780253018687

1 Introduction

Jeremy Black Indiana University Press ePub

EMPLOYED FROM 1899, GEOPOLITICS IS AN AMORPHOUS concept, both efficacious and misfiring, and a plastic or malleable (as well as controversial) term. Different working definitions have been advanced, and there is no universally accepted definition and, indeed, no agreed definition in English. All definitions of geopolitics focus on the relationship between politics and geographical factors, although that relationship has been very differently considered and presented. In this context, politics is approached principally in terms of the composition and use of power. The geographical factors that are treated vary, but space, location, distance, and resources are all important. Geopolitics is commonly understood as an alternative term for all or part of political geography2 and, more specifically, as the spatial dynamics of power. In practice, there is a persistent lack of clarity about whether geopolitics—however defined—and, more particularly these dynamics, should be understood in a descriptive or normative sense. Moreover, what in 2002 the American geopolitical commentator Harvey Sicherman termed “the facts of geopolitics—the resources and locations of various peoples and states”3—involves subjective as well as objective considerations, and the significance of the former is commonly downplayed. This is true across the varied dimensions of geopolitics.

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Medium 9780253015143

5 Thinking through the Foreigner Fetish

Robert Lorway Indiana University Press ePub

Important tensions may arise when places that have been imagined at a distance must become lived spaces.

—Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson, Culture, Power, Place

In late 2007 trp’s new health officer and I completed an HIV-related training workshop with gay and lesbian community researchers. The group decided we would all go to Windhoek’s only sex shop, located in a predominantly white neighborhood, to see what safer-sex resources were available beyond the free condoms provided by the Ministry of Health and Social Services. The females were particularly eager to find out if the shop carried any dental dams or products specifically designed for lesbians. The health officer and I were standing outside, recapping the success of the training, when three of the community researchers exited the store with annoyed faces. “That [shop] owner is racist,” Hanna blurted out. “They don’t want too many of us in there at the same time.” The health officer, a well-educated Damara man, rushed inside and in his usual tactful tone tried to reason with the owner and ease his anxieties by explaining the educational purpose of our visit. As I walked in and approached the counter where the health officer stood face-to-face with the owner, I overheard the owner saying, “I don’t want one of them stealing something from my shop.” I then joined the argument.

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