Last week, Venezuela-based news channel TeleSUR launched its English language website, bringing the left-leaning perspectives of Latin America to new audiences and offering a corrective to the English news media.
The site, which largely represents the views of state backers Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Venezuela, has already published incisive reporting on Israeli offensive in Gaza. Tariq Ali
, Verso author and New Left Review
editor, has long been involved with TeleSUR and will host The World Today
, an interview show to be broadcast four times a week.
Next Thursday, Barbara Fields will discuss Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life with Atlantic senior editor Ta-Nehisi Coates at the CUNY Graduate Center. The book, which Fields co-wrote with her sister, Karen Fields, is dense with ideas and there will be lots to cover in the conversation.
In advance of the event, we recommend the Academic & the Artist podcast, which Karen Fields has appeared on three times now. The programs provide a great opportunity to explore some of the challenging debates circulating around the book's central themes of race, inequality and the mythical belief in a "post-racial" America.
In the first interview, which was released shortly after Racecraft was published in the fall of last year, Fields talked to the podcast hosts José F. Moreno and Sergio Muñoz about racial identity, the racializing of inequality, and the problems inherent in fighting inequality with social policy that has been constructed on racial terms. Music by Stevie Wonder—Fields is a fan—was played during musical interludes. Click here to listen to the first show.
Out in the UK this month, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained and Steven Speilberg's Lincoln has energized interest in a period of American history defined by race. Rather than make our own critiques or slap downs, we present these books to fill the gaps left by Hollywood.
That race is a mere social construct is an oft-repeated assertion in the media and academia. That there is no currency to the color of someone’s skin, but there is for the content of his or her character has become the mantra of this supposedly post-racial era. Then why does the concept of race still poison our discourse? And in a time of rapidly growing income inequality, how does race cloak the much-needed issue of tackling this problem for all Americans, regardless of race?
In their fantastically lucid and much-needed exposé of the mental terrain that underlies the issue of race, Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life, Karen and Barbara Fields deal with how it obscures gross income inequality. They coin the term “racecraft”—the illusion of race produced by the practice of racism.
Karen Fields discussed these and other topics concerning the practice of racecraft in two illuminating interviews, respectively for the New Books in Sociology podcast and The Academic and the Artist on KBeach radio.
Audio below the jump
Tonight at the Brooklyn Museum
authors Karen Fields and Barbara Fields converse with Adolph Reed about inequality, class, and the distorted racial paradigms of American political life. The celebrated Fields sisters' new book, published this month, asks whether racism has bewitched Americans into misunderstanding inequality in our country. Their argument is a complex one, involving years of assiduous research and close collaboration, so we're pleased to have Mr. Reed present to tease the nuances from their perspective.
Of course, their book comes at a particularly important moment as we careen towards election day and, inevitably, the conversations about Obama lean not towards drone warfare, Libya, or Wall Street bailouts but continue to idle on the meaning of the president's race.
Fortunately both of Racecraft
's authors and Adolph Reed have garnered reputations as cogent political analysts, each focusing in their way on the implications of a post-Obama, though certainly not post-racial, America. As the news cycle spins its wheels today a quick survey confirms what we've known all along: that whether they are claims of colorblindness, accusations of playing the race card, or questions of "how black" or "not black enough" the democratic nominee appeared during the recent debates, the discussion of the president's racial identity is never more than an arm's length from the political media machine.