Race & Racism in the 21st Century: A Humanist Approach w/ Tim Wise & Joseph Graves

It can be argued that perhaps the key issue which separates the United States from the other 17 world democracies is that this nation was built in no small way on the backs of chattel slavery, an institution which has had an impact not only on the “race” of people whom were enslaved, but the entire sociopolitical structure of the nation itself.  Not only has slavery, and the justification of slavery and domination which we know today as racism, affected the relationships between those of African-Americans and the dominant “race” (Caucasians) – as well as other people of color whose entrance and experiences in this nation, however problematic, were different by the very nature of how they came to be in America – but it has also blurred the line between the powerful and rich and the rest of us who share a class consciousness’ (or who should!)

And now, with the rise of Barack Obama to the most powerful position of power on the planet, many Caucasians – especially conservatives, but many liberals as well – have decided that the U.S. is a post-racial society, and that the only thing that really stands between other African-Americans and their potential Obama-like success is what whites perceive of as a lack of “personal responsibility” on behalf of blacks in America.

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Rethinking “Traditional” Marriage: Stephanie Coontz on her book, Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage

From Publishers Weekly:
When considered in the light of history, “traditional marriage”—the purportedly time-honored institution some argue is in crisis thanks to rising rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births, not to mention gay marriage—is not so traditional at all. Indeed, Coontz argues marriage has always been in flux, and “almost every marital and sexual arrangement we have seen in recent years, however startling it may appear, has been tried somewhere before.”

Based on extensive research (hers and others’), Coontz’s fascinating study places current concepts of marriage in broad historical context, revealing that there is much more to “I do” than meets the eye. In ancient Rome, no distinction was made between cohabitation and marriage; during the Middle Ages, marriage was regarded less as a bond of love than as a ” ‘career’ decision”; in the Victorian era, the increasingly important idea of true love “undermined the gender hierarchy of the home” (in the past, men—rulers of the household—were encouraged to punish insufficiently obedient wives). Coontz explains marriage today as a way of ensuring a domestic labor force, as a political tool and as a flexible reflection of changing social standards and desires.

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