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Reading List December 29, 2016

25 Essays Against Whitelash

Racism, populism, and xenophobia have had the last word at the ballot box.

2016 has been the year of “whitelash.” Racism, populism, and xenophobia have had the last word at the ballot box. But as the media quibbles over the reasons behind Trump’s election, the fears of the white working class have become the main point of contention.

While economic inequality has played a significant role in the events of 2016, the dismissal of race as mere “identity politics” obscures the ongoing struggles of America’s black, Muslim, undocumented, and minority communities. With this in mind, we present you with a selection of BR essays from 2016 that speak to their struggles.

Trump Says Go Back, We Say Fight Back
Robin D. G. Kelley
The economic anxieties of Trump’s voters are inseparable from whiteness and racism.


To Remake the World: Slavery, Racial Capitalism, and Justice
Walter Johnson
What if we use the history of slavery as a standpoint from which to rethink our notion of justice today?


Black Study, Black Struggle
A forum by Robin D. G. Kelley, Derecka Purnell, Randall L. Kennedy, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Christopher Lebron, Barbara Ransby, Shana L. Redmond, Charlene Carruthers, Aaron Bady, Michael Eric Dyson, Amanda Boston, Bridget Todd, and Thabisile Griffin
The university is not an engine of social transformation. Activism is.


Paying for Punishment
Donna Murch
Debt now sends many people—especially black people—to jail.


“Go Home!” Being Foreign in Post-Brexit Britain
Andrea Mammone
For many, the Brexit vote means the end of home as they know it.


On Stone Mountain: White Supremacy and the Birth of the Modern Democratic Party
Christopher Petrella
The Clinton-era Democratic Party was founded on the promise of racial oppression.


What Does Black Lives Matter Want?
Robin D. G. Kelley
The Black Lives Matter manifesto is a plan for ending structural racism and transforming the entire nation—not simply black lives.


Writing Human Rights and Getting It Wrong
Alex de Waal
The West likes morality plays with clear heroes and villains, in which it plays savior.


The Racist Dawn of Capitalism
Peter James Hudson
Recent histories of slavery and capitalism ignore radical black scholarship and its lessons.


How the Government Built a Trap for Black Youth
Kelly Lytle Hernández
Throughout the twentieth century, bipartisan consensus was that black youth were latent criminals in need of abundant policing.


From “War on Crime” to War on the Black Community
Elizabeth Hinton
On the enduring impact of President Johnson’s Crime Commission.


The Roots of Black Incarceration
Joy James
A nineteenth-century memoir sheds light on the origins of the modern prison.


Trump’s Call for Dystopian Policing
Victor Ray
Stop-and-frisk and broken-windows policing have ravaged black communities. Now Trump wants to revive them.


Lynching by Any Other Name
Christopher Lebron
The use of lynching laws to suppress black activists is a betrayal of American democracy and freedom.


Black Nationalism and Liberation
Garrett Felber
To many black nationalists, separation from whites is the difference between life and death.


Racial Violence in Black and White
Benjamin Balthaser
Images of police violence against African Americans have a radical heritage.


The Souls of White Folk: Talking Social Justice and Reparations Under Trump
A podcast by Walter Johnson
What can the black radical tradition teach us about political action today?


I Can’t Breathe
Anne Fausto-Sterling
Black people get sicker because of stereotypes taught in medical schools.


The Invisibility of Black Women
Christopher Lebron
Black women go missing: from civil rights history and from our lives.


Identity and the Avant-Garde
David Micah Greenberg
In art, formal experimentation is considered the antithesis of identity politics.


No Place to Call Home
Steve Healey
Two poets explore the poetics of war, exile, and migration, pushing the boundaries of American literature.


The Preservation of the White Race
Christopher Petrella
Contrary to popular belief, America has a long history of racial and ethnic registries, quotas, and camps.


Under Western Eyes
A podcast by Aziz Rana and John Bowen
Islamophobia is a joint project of the Democrat and Republican parties, long preceding the rise of white nationalism and Trump.


Cuba After the Thaw
Michelle Chase
Renewed U.S. relations may worsen inequality for Cuba’s black citizens.


On Ice
Colin Dayan
Undocumented immigrants face inhuman conditions in U.S. detention, with little legal recourse.

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