The Myth of an Affirmative-Action President – Ta-Nehisi Coates – The Atlantic

But there’s also something else–the frame of skepticism is, as always, framed around Obama not around Romney. No one wonders what advantages accrued to Mitt Romney, a man who spent his early  life ensconced in the perserve of malignant and absolutist Affirmative Action that was metropolitan Detroit. Romney’s Detroit (like most of the country) prohibited black people from the best jobs, the best schools, the best neighborhoods, and the best of everything else. The exclusive Detroit Golf Club, a short walk from one of Romney’s childhood homes, didn’t integrate until 1986. No one is skeptical of Mitt Romney because of the broader systemic advantages he enjoyed, advantages erected largely to ensure that this country would ever be run by men who looked like him.This kind of skepticism–racism at its most common–is the air. It surrounds us, and upon this willful ignorance, Americans demand proof of Barack Obama’s existence. The better of us attempt to contest such demands with facts. But the contest, itself, indulges racism. To truly get to the meat of thing we must understand why some questions are asked, and some are not.

 

The Myth of an Affirmative-Action President – Ta-Nehisi Coates – The Atlantic.

New Book on Spinoza’s TTP

U of West Sydney has an announcement up for Susan James’s Spinoza on Philosophy, Religion, and Politics: The Theologico-Political Treatise (Oxford University Press, 2012). (For those in Australia, it’s on September 5 at UWS.)

For those from MUN who did the reading group on Spinoza’s TTP with me last Spring as well as all interested in Spinoza, James’s book will be of interest, and there is a PDF of the introduction along with the announcement. Here is the book summary:

Professor Susan James inverses Leo Strauss’ reading of Spinoza. Whereas Strauss emphasized the hidden subtext of Spinoza’s arguments, James revives the explicit debates of his time within which Spinoza’s Theologico-Political Treatise was situated. But this is not a simple historical reconstruction. James’ close reading of the Treatise offers a radically new perspective on Spinoza’s revolutionary book – a reading that presents startling new perspective on the political, metaphysical and theological implications of the book. Given the importance of Spinoza’s political writings in contemporary radical democratic approaches to the state, James intervention has the potential to reshape the way we think of a Spinozan politics.