Richard Thompson Ford
The Character Question
Blackface, Call Out Culture, and the Evolution of Norms

Blackface in the 1980s might reflect the cavalier, ill-considered racism that was pretty much in the water at the time; today it would undoubtedly reflect a belligerent assertion of white supremacy. The same behavior does not always correspond to the same motives or presuppositions.

The Times They Are A Changin'
Just How Cold Is It Outside, Baby?

The tug of war between social expectations and individual desire that drives the Baby It’s Cold Outside controversy is rapidly becoming as anachronistic as the social rituals of France’s ancien regime.

Rethinking Privilege
On the Merits

Meritocracy, which underpins many of our most basic assumptions about our society, is looking increasingly threadbare as an organizing principle.

Civil Discourse
How Trump Insults Real Americans

If liberals should worry about occasionally and inadvertently offending working-class whites, conservatives should worry much more about the deliberate and ongoing insult that Trump’s presidency represents.

William B. Plowman/Getty Images
Higher Ed Watch
Does Harvard’s Undergrad Admission Policy Discriminate?

The court may find that it does, but that doesn’t mean Harvard or any other university should switch to purely objective, merit-based criteria for admissions.

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Trump's SCOTUS Pick
Contempt of Court

Conservatives’ hardball tactics in moving the Supreme Court rightward could undercut its most important asset.

The SCOTUS Cakeshop Judgment
Anti-Discrimination Eats Itself

The Court’s latest case shows how overly broad conceptions of civil rights protections have turned important laws against themselves, like an overactive immune system that consumes its host.

Social Justice as Distributive Justice

It’s messy and open ended, like politics, where even well justified policies often involve some moral arbitrariness.

Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images
Something New Under the Sun
Political Identity Politics

What is new is not identity politics, but politics as identity—and it’s driving a culture of grievance.

Film & Politics
Black Panther: An Afrocentric Ethical Fable

Marvel’s latest blockbuster serves the classic function of myth—to provide a poetic account of the political ethics of a community.

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