Midweek Roundup — 9.25.19

For this week’s roundup, I’ve got one book, one podcast and one interview.


The book is called Dementia: Living in the Memories of God by theologian John Swinton. It’s heady but it’s been so, so good as I’ve been processing my dad having/dying of Alzheimer’s. It has changed how I see my dad and interact with him, how I process what is happening to him and affirm what makes him a person. I’m so thankful for this book.


This interview with Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the New York Times 1619 Project is fantastic. It’s given me a lot to think about, especially regarding schools and the ways that our culture’s interest in public spaces (parks, pools, hospitals, etc) changed after the Civil Rights Movement. Thank you, Ezra Klein!


This article with an interview of Ibram X Kendi. Kendi breaks down the differences between being a racist and being anti-racist. Here’s what my friend, Reggie, wrote about the piece which further clarifies some things, which I found helpful before diving in. You can find the article here.

The title is misleading. The claim “black people can’t be racist” is referring to an assertion that there are “black supremacists” which is really something like a category mistake. The invention of race in the western world is the invention of a white racial hierarchy, with black as its anchor. What is actually being said here is that blacks can also be white supremacists. True. It’s not about affect, how one or a group feels about people of a different race; racism is primarily the effort to sustain white spaces. The age old mechanisms in place to enforce the purity of those ideal people for ideal communities haven’t changed (stereotypes, denial, confusion, violence, dysphemism…) It helps to see white supremacy and racism as interchangeable terms. Accordingly, to paraphrase Richard Wright in light of this essay, some black people use the mechanisms of white hegemony (supremacy) just as well, if not better than white people.