Detail from the cover of William Petersen's Japanese Americans: Oppression and Success (1971).
Let’s start at the end.
In the final paragraph of his recently published commentary, “Why Do Democrats Feel Sorry for Hillary Clinton?,” Andrew Sullivan writes, “Asian-Americans, like Jews, are indeed a problem for the ‘social-justice’ brigade. I mean, how on earth have both ethnic groups done so well in such a profoundly racist society?”
To some, it may be unclear how a piece criticizing Clinton supporters wound up discussing Asian Americans and the recent brutal attack on United Airlines passenger David Dao. But there is a logic to Sullivan’s screed.
Ali lights the torch at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Redemption Song is 40% off through Sunday, March 5th. Click here to activate the discount.
When Mike Marqusee passed away in January 2015 at the age of sixty-two, I wrote the following in pages of The Nation:
I’m a sportswriter because Mike Marqusee made me one. I divide my life not “before and after I had kids” or “before and after I moved out of my mom’s house in New York City” but “before and after I read Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties in 1998. Not only did Redemption Song rediscover quotes, speeches and dimensions of Ali’s politics and personality that had long been buried, but it revealed to me that sportswriting could be something different and even something dangerous.
Che Gossett is a black trans femme writer whose work draws out the connections between blackness, animality and abolition. Their writing forces us to re-examine power’s machinations, most famously in their cutting critique of Zizek on trans issues in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
We started to discuss all this in relation to gender several months ago. Much has changed during the time that we have been emailing. 36 people were killed in the fire at the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland, many of them queer and/or trans. Standing Rock Nation protesters fought against the planned 1,172-mile Dakota Access oil pipeline, which would poison the water they depend on. And Donald Trump won the US Presidential election on an openly fascist platform.
For these and many more reasons, the end of 2016 has felt apocalyptic. Yet this is perhaps not so much as a change, as a re-emergence of what was always already there. As the self-described ‘theory queen, para-academic, writer and trans-femme’ points out: “the white supremacist nation of America... is not broken – it was built this way.”
This interview is the first in an occasional series about gender and technology on the Verso blog, guest-edited by Ray Filar.