Why Can't Baltimore's Black Female Mayor Stop Saying 'Thug'?

On Monday night, protesters took to the streets of Baltimore hours after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young man who died following injuries he sustained while in police custody. Last night, Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake stood before news cameras, asking for peace and calling the protesters “thugs,” all… » 4/28/15 11:30am 4/28/15 11:30am

Robin Givhan’s New Book: A Night Fashion Stumbled Into Racial Progress

American conversations on race tend to cluster around singular events: The Emancipation Proclamation, Brown vs. The Board of Education, the election of Barack Obama. They become historical signposts used to demonstrate how race—here black vs. white—has progressed in the country. Robin Givhan’s book The Battle of… » 4/21/15 4:30pm 4/21/15 4:30pm

Killer Mike is the latest guest speaker at MIT’s “Hip-Hop Speaker Series,” which has previously enlisted a shirtless Lil B (video). Mike, one of the most salient politically-minded figures in current hip-hop, will deliver a speech entitled “Race Relations in the US” on April 24. Do we need a petition to award him an… » 4/20/15 1:40pm 4/20/15 1:40pm

Freedom Song: A Conversation About the State of Black Liberation Music

In the lyric pamphlet to Black Messiah, D'Angelo's third album after 14 years away from the spotlight, the soul-savant explains his reasoning behind its title and sudden release: "Some will jump to the conclusion that I am calling myself a Black Messiah," he begins. "For me the title is about all of us...It's about… » 3/25/15 4:34pm 3/25/15 4:34pm

The Great Internet Debate Over Not Reading White Men

Hello, dear reader, and welcome to The Kerfuffler! I'm your host, fantasy writer, essayist, and mad tweeter, Saladin Ahmed. Every other week I'll be looking at America's seemingly endless culture wars playing out online, tracing their fault lines, and wading hip-deep into comment sections so you don't have to. » 3/11/15 3:42pm 3/11/15 3:42pm

SHOCKER: Oscars Had the Lowest Ratings in Years

This Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony—hosted by #1 Neil Patrick Harris fan, Neil Patrick Harris—received the lowest ratings of any Oscars broadcast since Hugh Jackman hosted in 2009. That means more people tuned in to watch James Franco and Anne Hathaway's hosting debacle in 2011 than they did this weekend. Ouch. » 2/24/15 2:45pm 2/24/15 2:45pm

Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue Only Slightly Less White Than Oscar Race

There are three things that are constants in this cold, suffocating life: death, taxes, and the ghostly whiteness of everyone on Vanity Fair's annual self-congratulatory Hollywood issue. And in its 15th year, on a just-released cover, we've gotten... more of the same. Vanity Fair, old reliable. All-white people in… » 2/03/15 10:50am 2/03/15 10:50am

Students' Stories of Depressingly Common Run-Ins with Campus Cops

Saturday night, after reading Times columnist Charles Blow's account of his son's detainment at gunpoint by Yale campus police, I was transported back to my own run-in with UCLA campus police in 2009. It was a typically relaxed Sunday evening, and I was headed home from the library. As I passed Ackerman Student Union… » 1/27/15 4:49pm 1/27/15 4:49pm

How to Talk About Race with Your Kids

It'd be wonderful if you could just say to children, "People might look different and come from different places, but we're all equal and should be treated the same" and leave it at that. But if recent news has taught us anything, it's that reality is not so simple, and we need to face the topics of race and racism… » 1/23/15 2:06pm 1/23/15 2:06pm

Dark-Skinned Black Girls Suspended 3x More Than Light-Skinned Girls

Today, the New York Times ran a crucial piece about school-age girls and the massive disciplinary imbalances that effectively segregate them, both by race and also by skin color. Tanzina Vega's report begins with the case of Mikia, a 12-year-old in Georgia who was caught vandalizing a school bathroom with a friend.… » 12/11/14 6:10pm 12/11/14 6:10pm