New Orleans is transforming. The city's poorly constructed levees meant that when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, it devastated the city, bringing in floodwaters that forced out residents and flattened neighborhoods. It also created an opportunity for developers and politicians to remake it anew. After the storm, New Orleans was often described as a "blank slate," which was problematic given hundreds of thousands of residents still lived within city limits. But for those who could afford to buy, demolish, and build, the term held some truth to it.
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 nearing the bus terminal, I was stopped by an officer. "Do you mind if I check your bag?" he asked. "I do, actually," I said.
For the fourth edition in our series on America's public school teachers, we're looking at the broad narratives of teachers' lives, histories, and careers. When we first called for submissions from America's public school teachers in November, I noticed that there was never just one topic that teachers wanted to talk about. Our email submissions were often lengthy chronicles of the joys, dismays, frustrations, and successes teachers experienced every day, ranging from critiques of administration to problems with students to malaise about state testing.
To the long list of permanently offended types lurking the internet, lying in wait, to meet the news of the day with self-indulgent grief, we might add one more populous and prickly tribe: colorblind white people who've grown "tired" of talking about race. What seems to cause a not-insignificant amount of distress for members of this identity group is the merest whiff of suggestion that racial inequality continues to shape American life. And so, let me warn you: I'm about to describe a recent interaction with a white family member, who is resolutely "over" race, and the degree to which that exchange has redoubled my conviction that racism stubbornly still exists.