Thursday, November 18, 2004

Three Thursday Thoughts

Why is the statement "I am my brother's keeper" considered liberal?

Why is the idea that the rich have a responsibility to help the poor considered class warfare?

Why don't the Democrats get why they lost big, when they lost the war of semantics?

And here I thought we were the party of intellectuals.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Democratic Party didn't argue in favor of "We are our brother's keeper," certainly not in the sense of starting a dialogue on how far our society should go in a collectivist direction. John Edwards' "two Americas" slogan never went beyong that - a slogan.

The rich do help the poor. The rich pay by far most of the income taxes collected. Whether it's enough or not is a worthy, legitimate debate, one the Democratic Party didn't engage in. Instead, they sought to trade on resentment in what I thought was a highly cynical way. The Democratic Party has large support from extremely wealthy people who don't pay a lot of taxes.

The Democrats lost big not because of semantics, but because they way they conducted themselves turned most of the country off in a big way. Do you dislike President Bush's policies? That's perfectly fine. Do you feel John Kerry was a better choice? That's what our democracy is all about. Comparing Bush to Hitler and calling his supporters stupid offends people and just guarantees Republican victories from here on out.

Many people see liberals as nihilistic, self-absorbed people who want to get their hands on what other people have. The folks out in Jesus Land just can't see liberalism (as it is practiced today) as occupying any kind of moral or ethical high ground. They think you guys hate America and hold them in contempt.

Do you want to persuade America to a different version of the future? Take the words and concepts of liberalism back from Michael Moore and high school dropout rockers and give them coherent meanings that make the country better. Anger won't win you anything.

November 19, 2004 at 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Angie,

I've always enjoyed your commentary on teaching and was particularly moved by your essay, a few years back, on the unique importance of HBCUs. I thought you might be able to offer some advice on something that's been troubling me, if you have a moment.

When I taught ninth and tenth grade at an inner city charter school, I had a huge library of great books by black authors featuring black characters - books about adolescence and family and love and betrayal and race and everything else that counts.

But now that I'm teaching fifth grade in private school - teaching books about finding yourself and saving the world - I can't find a single damn book that works for me. With precious few exceptions - Bud, Not Buddy springs to mind - the only role for children of color in children's literature is to suffer racism with grace and dignity. Not to have adventures or to explore or to trick adults or to find a magical other world or to be brave and save the world.

I refuse to teach a year totally devoid of black voices, but I'm also wary of creating a curriculum in which the only book we read that's realistic, that's tragic, that's primarily about oppression and suffering and pain, is also the only time all year we ever talk about black people or about race at all.

I need help. I need the black Lucy Pevensie, the black Harry Potter, the black Coraline Jones. Suggestions appreciated - if you have any, please post them over at, because we're all stumped.

December 5, 2004 at 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Eb,
Where'd you go? I miss your perspective.

December 6, 2004 at 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ebony, I've tried to email you twice, once recently when you wrote to Child-lit that you are coming to England. I'm wondering if your AOL account is seeing my emails as spam...if so, I'd written to say that I'd be happy to talk to you about England, and meet up when you are there. I run conferences at the National Centre for Research in Children's Literature at Roehampton University ( If you haven't gotten my emails, then send me an email and we'll make sure mine don't get spammed.

January 28, 2005 at 4:46 PM  
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