The Monday Morning Teaser

It’s been a busy week on the Sift.

Last Monday’s “What Should ‘Racism’ Mean?” is close to 19,000 page views and is still running. It has moved into 4th place on the Sift’s greatest hits list, passing one of my favorites “One Word Turns the Tea Party Around” at 18K. At this rate it should run past “Why I am Not a Libertarian” at 24K. But “Six True Things Politicians Can’t Say” at 69K and “The Distress of the Privileged” at 316K are still a long way out there. (I wonder if other blogs’ hit distributions look like that, with such extreme outliers. A typical featured post gets a few hundred hits, not counting the people who subscribe.)

Anyway, I’ve spent a bunch of this week responding to comments, which is why the Link of the Day hasn’t been even close to daily.

This week I’m going to take a different angle on the race theme with a review of Daniel Sharfstein’s book The Invisible Line: a secret history of race in America. It’s a generation-by-generation look at three American families who crossed the color line from black to white, eventually forgetting their black ancestors. It is both an amazing perspective on what it has meant to be white or black at various points in American history, and a meditation on just how socially constructed the whole notion of “race” is. (Spoiler: One of the families joins the Confederate aristocracy and includes a senator who played a role in ending Reconstruction.)

I called the article “Are You Sure You’re White?”. I realize that title implicitly leaves out my non-white readers, who I hope will forgive me and read the article anyway. (I think you’ll like it.) I couldn’t think of any more inclusive titles that would be nearly so clickable.

Beyond that, the weekly summary will try to catch up with what’s going on in Ukraine and Venezuela. The 5-year anniversary of the Stimulus brought a lot of retrospective debate. A series of state legislatures are considering bills that would redefine “religious freedom” as “freedom to discriminate against gays”. And I’ll end with NBC’s Brian Williams performing “Rapper’s Delight”.

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  • Gina  On February 24, 2014 at 8:14 am

    There is this weird aspect of being adopted that makes race especially insignificant, at least for me. After all, I could be “anything” since I don’t know exactly what race my parents were. Looking at me, it would seem a pretty safe bet that I’m Caucasian with Scottish/English ancestors (red hair, fair complexion) but I happen to know my birth mother is one-half Syrian (which is where I get my dark, dark brown eyes). Given how little I know of my lineage, I can’t say for sure I’m any race in particular, and that makes the whole concept of race seem sort of…useless.

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