Racist, Not Racist, Antiracist: Language and the Dynamic Disaster of American Racism
By Leland Royce Harper and Jennifer Kling
“Hey, that was kind of racist.”
“I'm not a racist! I have Black friends.”
This exchange highlights a problem with how people in the United States tend to talk about racially tricky situations. As Racist, Not Racist, Antiracist: Language and the Dynamic Disaster of American Racism explores, such situations are ordinarily categorized as either racist or not racist (or, in other cases, as antiracist). The problem is, there are often situations that are racially not good, but that we do not want to categorize as racist, either. However, since we don’t have the language to describe this in-between, we are forced to fall back on the racist/not racist/antiracist trinary, which tends to shut down productive discussion. This is especially true for white people, who tend to take claims of racism—be they interpersonal or institutional—as a personal attack. This is problematic, not only because it means that white people never learn about their own racially troubling behaviors, but also because such fragility keeps them from being able to engage in productive discussions about systemic racial oppression. Leland Harper and Jennifer Kling demonstrate how expanding our racial vocabulary is crucial for the attainment of justice equally enjoyed by all.
The Crisis of American Democracy: Essays on a Failing Institution
Edited by Leland Harper
The essays in “The Crisis of American Democracy: Essays on a Failing Institution” seek to answer central questions about American democracy, such as: if American democracy is failing, what are the causes of this failure? What are the consequences? And what can be done to fix it? These standalone essays present diverse perspectives on some of the impediments to achieving a true democracy in the present-day United States of America, as well as prescriptions for overcoming these obstacles. Leading academics from across North America, contribute their perspectives on this timely debate.