All posts by Pamela Newkirk


The Satiric Lesson of ‘Dear White People’

WhitePeopleRarely is a white audience afforded a lucid and freewheeling response to the deluge of indignities blacks still endure. Instead, reaction to the barrage of stereotypes embodied in many Tyler Perry films, the one-dimensional depiction of blacks in news or reality television, or whites’ insulting appropriation and commodification of a hard-earned black urban culture, is seldom considered.

Now Dear White People, appropriately set on an elite and predominantly white university campus, delivers a tim…


The End of the ‘Postrace’ Myth

Over the past four years, it had become increasingly difficult to mount a public discussion about how racial bias continues to permeate our society, North and South, in boardrooms and newsrooms. Despite glaring signs of racial segregation in our schools, prisons, and pews, many commentators—including some scholars—idealistically clung to President Obama’s 2008 election as evidence of a new, postracial era.

John H. McWhorter, a linguist and fellow at the Manhattan Institute, was among the first t…


What You Can’t Tell Your Students Anymore

“Go forth unafraid.” That was the bold and buoyant motto of the Manhattan high school my daughters graduated from in 2009 and 2012. The maxim captured the spirit that I had long lived by and that had helped me brave the turbulent seas of journalism and later academe. It also complemented advice that for years I had liberally doled out to my children and students: “Do what you love and the money will follow.”

But as I witness a steady stream of students facing graduation as they would the guillot…


Affirmative Action and ‘Victimized’ Whites

On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court will once again consider the merits of affirmative action and the plight of purportedly victimized whites, ripping the scab from a deep and scarcely healed American wound.

The ever-contentious debate sparked anew by Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin is likely to overshadow recent figures showing the widening household-income gap between non-Hispanic whites and African-Americans and the stubbornly low black and Latino high-school graduation rates that pe…