What we all witnessed had nothing to do with “white privilege”

Photo by Chelms Varthoumlien on Unsplash

What happened on Wednesday has been described in numerous ways. A riot. A failed coup. An act of white terror. An attack on democracy. Each of these framings has its strengths and weaknesses, and rigorous debate on the terms of each has rightfully ensued.

However, the notion that Wednesday’s events instantiate “white privilege” is particularly off-base.

For starters, “white privilege” is a dead-end term that has been extended so far from its original meaning when Peggy McIntosh coined it back in the 1980s that it is no longer useful as a tool of political analysis (not that it ever was…


How Democrats’ Neoliberal Embrace Continues to Haunt Them (and Us).

Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

Congress last passed a COVID relief bill in April. Since then, an additional 200,000 Americans have died of the virus, millions more have been furloughed or laid off and a staggering number of people are currently housing or food insecure, if not both. Yet, during this period, Congress neglected to pass any additional legislation to address the growing economic precarity faced by many Americans.

Of course, when one party is steadfast in its commitment to only addressing the needs of capital, while the other is only marginally less beholden to such an arrangement, such an outcome should not be surprising.


America is not “normal.” Pretending otherwise will only exacerbate the problem.

Photo by Jim Witkowski on Unsplash

Some time ago, I encountered a funny tweet that, in many ways, summarizes the current state of America:

The hilarity of the tweet aside, it really drives home an important point about our society: Many individuals often find it easier to pretend that an issue does not exist, rather than confront it directly and face what is likely to be a significant price to repair it. That is, until their car’s engine starts billowing smoke while in motion and proceeds to combust after a long period of neglect.

That, in a nutshell, is America today.

This is a reductio…


How the DNC showed that Democrats care more about Style than Substance.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Millennials (and, likely, their parents) are intimately familiar with the show “Doug.” Once a staple of Nickelodeon’s repertoire of “Nicktoons” as they were once referred, many in my generation view “Doug” as an indispensable classic; a relic of sorts that speaks to the good ol’ days when we could leisurely go to school or visit our local movie theater without fear of potentially contracting a life-threatening virus or, in the pre-COVID days, getting gunned down by an armed assailant.

It reminds us of a time when the economy was strong — driven by the so-called “dot.com boom” in which…

Race in America

Why the Washington Post’s recent decision to capitalize “white” is shortsighted.

Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash

The Washington Post announced last week that they would begin capitalizing the word “Black” when referring to “groups that make up the African diaspora in America and elsewhere,” effectively immediately. Given the struggle for recognition that many Black Americans continue to face, the decision is applaudable. Their choice to also capitalize “white,” however, is deeply troubling.

Washington Post claims that “stories involving race show that White also represents a distinct cultural identity in the United States” and describes those raced as “white” as “America’s largest racial community.” This is a description that should be met with pause.

First, what cultural…

As long as Americans are commodified entities, racial inequality will remain a permanent fixture of American society. The intertwining of two seemingly indestructible ideologies, racism and capitalism, will see to it.

Photo by Roman Koester on Unsplash

As protesters in Minneapolis took to the streets on Friday to protest the murder of George Floyd — yet another murder of an unarmed Black man at the hands of the police — Franklin the Turtle was going on the record to state that Congressional efforts to address mass unemployment in America resulting from COVID-19 were coming to an end.

“Unemployment insurance is extremely important, but it is not…

A primary assumption seems to be that, by choosing a Black woman vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden will be better attuned to the needs of Black Americans. But is that a reasonable assumption?

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

As it becomes it increasingly clear that Joe Biden does not have the range to run a campaign by himself without sticking his foot in his mouth or saying something “racially insensitive” — the preferred epithet for Whites who are apparently allergic to the word “racist” — claims that the presumptive Democratic nominee for president needs a Black woman to save his campaign (and Biden from himself…

My hope is that “middle class” Americans learn from this coronavirus episode that they have far more in common with poor Americans than they do the wealthy elite. My fear is that racial capitalism might foreclose that possibility.

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

With “the economy” — and much of the “Western” world — in free-fall, Congress passed, and President Tr*mp signed into law on Friday the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion response bill that lawmakers hope will save “the economy” from utter destruction. “I think we are going to have a tremendous rebound,” the President goofily remarked as…

Jared Clemons

political science phd candidate studying the politics of social justice @DukePoliSci (race theory | behavior | policy). follow me on twitter! @jayctigerfan

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store