In 2017, racism and xenophobia have played major roles in U.S. politics. As the year draws to a close, we present our top stories about race, immigration, and the dangerous ideology of white nationalism, from myths about Appalachia to racial capitalism to regimes of deportation.
The Mythical Whiteness of Trump Country
by Elizabeth Catte
Hillbilly Elegy has been upheld as a guide for the 2016 election, but its logic is rooted in an enduring and dangerous myth about race in Appalachia.
What Did Cedric Robinson Mean by Racial Capitalism?
by Robin D. G. Kelley
Capitalism and racism did not break from the old order but rather evolved from it to produce a modern world system of “racial capitalism” dependent on slavery, imperialism, and genocide.
No Rights Which the White Man Is Bound to Respect
by Walter Johnson
“No rights which the white man was bound to respect”: ten of the most notorious words in United States history. More than a century later, the spectre of Dred Scott continues to haunt the United States.
Keeping the Faith
by Melvin Rogers
Ta-Nehisi Coates rejects faith as a political emotion because of the persistence of racial injustice, but faith has never been exhausted by political reality.
A Bad Check for Black America
by Mehrsa Baradaran
Nixon's embrace of black capitalism, a canny move that took the sting out of the demand for reparations, decimated the black community and turned the wealth gap into a chasm.
The Untold Story of Mass Incarceration
by Vesla M. Weaver
James Forman's National Book Award-nominated Locking Up Our Own and John Pfaff's Locked In propose novel theories for why the United States gets incarceration so wrong. While one explores the role of black lawmakers in shaping crime policy, the other highlights the complicity of local prosecutors in fueling the crisis.
How Immigrants Became Criminals
by Alan A. Aja and Alejandra Marchevsky
The majority of Americans believe that immigrants who break the law should be deported. But the legal definition of the “criminal” has broadened significantly in recent decades, allowing the United States to undertake a massive and unjust deportation regime.
When W. E. B. Du Bois Was Un-American
by Andrew Lanham
At the very height of the McCarthy era, Du Bois tried to keep alive a critical debate about American imperialism and racism. For that he paid a big price.
Islam on Trial
A forum by Amna Akbar, Jeanne Theoharis, and others
While the United States boasts about stopping terrorists, almost all terrorism prosecutions since 9/11 have been cases of false entrapment. This forum offers accounts of the security state, showing how American Muslims pay the price for our silence.
The Descent of Democracy
by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
While the United States has expanded its borders of inclusion over time, the borders of whiteness have never fallen. White identity is the very air we breathe. Only a robust commitment to the black public sphere can change that.