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September 2, 2017 – 1:26 am | Comments Off

My response to Andrew Sullivan’s New York Magazine model minority myth commentary, published on Verso blog.

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Articles tagged with: people of color

“Coalition Karma: On Vijay Prashad’s Uncle Swami”

November 3, 2013 – 6:14 pm | Comments Off

This last goal of Prashad’s, to inspire coalition “from below” between Blacks and Asian Americans, is a common theme of the historian’s work and has helped make him a popular figure among progressives both in and outside of academia. Yet what, exactly, are the terms of solidarity Prashad advances in Uncle Swami and how does a particular reading of third world coalition, as well as of United States racial history, scaffold his call to arms?

20 Years in the Making: George Zimmerman’s ‘Minority Defense’ and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots

April 20, 2012 – 1:01 am | Comments Off

What this debate about Zimmerman’s racial identity and Black-Latino relations demonstrates is that with few exceptions, we have no intellectual vocabulary to adequately discuss the racial position of non-Black people of color (NBPOC) in relation to African Americans in the U.S. racial order. Instead, as in the case of Zimmerman, we have the following options: argue that Latinos are “acting white,” that George Zimmerman is a “white” Latino (although I think he could easily be read as a “Brown” Latino), or discuss the internal diversity of Latinos in terms of color, language, and nativity and simply hope that their so-called “internal” conflicts (which are really structural) get worked out soon. Overall, there is a difficulty, which appears to be both conceptual and emotional (or at the very least ethical), to say that as a Latino and thus someone who exists in the world politically as “Brown,” Zimmerman or other Latinos can be anti-Black and more importantly, have political and social power over Blacks (in the United States and in Latin America) independent of identifying with whiteness or being socially or legally classified as white.

So what does all of this have to do with the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and more specifically, what do I mean when I write that Zimmerman’s “minority defense” was “20 years in the making”? In brief, some of the major patterns of progressive race scholarship emerging after, and to large degree in response to the riots, contribute to the logic of Zimmerman’s minority defense.