SPACExRACE

An exploration of the physical frontiers that define race in America


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Chaos at CPAC panel on reignites discussion about American spatial and racial history

This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual event for conservative politicians and activists, features several prominent Republican speakers and discourse on touchstone political issues. Among that discourse was a panel-based event called: “Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick and Tired of Being Called a Racist and You Know You’re Not One?”

The title of the event suggests that it could cover some controversial ground. But the event ultimately reached national-news-levels of controversy when one of the event’s speakers, K. Carl Smith of the Frederick Douglass Republicans, was asked a series of questions by conference-goer Scott Terry. You can see the exchange in the video above. ThinkProgress described the scene as such: Continue reading


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Examining notions of race in our own backyards

Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival (Photo Credit: David Shankbone via Creative Commons License)

Back in February, Academy-Award winning actor Forest Whitaker was publicly frisked at an upscale New York City deli after being falsely accused of shoplifting. The event became national news in light of commentary that Whitaker’s race played a role in the employee’s decision to frisk him.

This past week, Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic, wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times on the topic. In the article, Coates notes: “In modern America we believe racism to be the property of the uniquely villainous and morally deformed, the ideology of trolls, gorgons and orcs.” Coates points to the Whitaker story, however, as an example of the type of systematic racism that is propagated by even the most sincere, ostensible ‘nice’ people. His take on the matter is colored by his extensive experience with the deli, which is in his neighborhood and is one of his favorites. Continue reading


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UC Berkeley professor Keith Feldman’s thoughts on race and space, the post-racial imaginary, and the accessibility of race theory

Keith Feldman

Keith Feldman, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley (Photo Credit: Keith Feldman)

Keith Feldman‘s fifth-floor Barrows Hall office is slotted away among countless professorial offices, distinguished only by the stoic “Keith P. Feldman” emblazoned on his door. But a look inside the UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies professor’s office reveals a workspace that seemingly embodies the Japanese design principle of wabi-sabi. The personal space he has carved out amongst the Barrows milieu is orderly, simple, impermanent, and framed by a picture-perfect view of Berkeley’s famous Campanile. It is clear that this man knows how to pick his space.

It became clear over the course of our 30-minute talk that Feldman knows how to analyze space, too. His passion within the vast field of Ethnic Studies is linked to constructions of culture and space – that is, how world-scale culture influences our perception of current geopolitical arrangements. Continue reading


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Acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

WEB Du Bois

Portrait of WEB Du Bois
(Photo Credit: National Portrait Gallery via PD-Art)

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom of 1963, the event that spurred Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. It is widely considered to be one of the largest human rights demonstrations in U.S. history, and is seen as an important precursor to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The anniversary will be commemorated in many ways over the course of the year, and much of the remembrance will dwell on Dr. King’s poignant speech at the event (and rightfully so). In a recent op-ed for Al Jazeera, however, UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Professor Keith Feldman used the lens of the March on Washington’s anniversary to examine the legacy of another legend of the civil rights movement: WEB Du Bois. Continue reading


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Animated lectures, the educational achievement gap, and Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz

Three quick thoughts about the above video:

1. How awesome is it that these types of videos exist? Animated lecture videos are a perfect example of how we can turn traditional learning paradigms on their head – fitting given the topic of this video. But seriously, put me in a lecture hall and ask me to listen to a talk on educational achievement? I’m probably either passed out or watching ESPN on my laptop within 2-3 minutes. Give me an animated video to accompany said talk on educational achievement? You have my absolute full attention, and have increased my ability to retain information from the lecture. Continue reading