Friday, February 29, 2008

SNL Makes a Joke Out of Race

Probably as a testiment to the fact that I no longer watch Saturday Night Live, I just read about this controversy today. It seems SNL used Fred Armisen, an actor of Asian and Hispaic decent, to depict presidential candidate Barack Obama in a debate skit.

Armisen has played Prince in a skit as well, with no controversey response. To me it is a bit reminicent of the old blackface comedy skits, but in "post-racial" America maybe people aren't up in a fury about actors playing characters of another race for comedic purposes.

For me the larger issue has more to do with SNL's casting generally. Perhaps they didn't have a black actor that resembeld Obama closely enough. It might be equally problematic to have one black actor who was a stand-in for every black male they choose to satarize. In my experience, SNL's cast is overwhelmingly white. The subtext could be interpreted as only white people are funny. (Obviously not true, if you've ever seen Dave Chappelle.) But why is it so hard to find black actors for Saturday Night Live's cast? If they did have a more diverse cast, it would probably change the dynamic, the humor, and the audience of the show. And that might not be a bad thing.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Meeting David Simon

Last night I was at a PR event for the last season of The Wire, featuring episode 9, dinner, and a Q&A with the show's creator and executive producer, David Simon. Although I've been rather down on The Wire this season, I still think it's leagues ahead of other TV out there these days. The Wire, after all, depicts reality in a far more real way than any reality show or newspaper could ever hope to. That, he said, is the critique that Simon is making of the news industry in this season. While everyone is distracted by Scott Templeton, the Pulitzer-primed fabulist ("If you've worked in a newsroom long enough," Simon said, "you've known a fabricator."), they're missing out on the fact that everyone at the newspaper is missing the major stories in the city; drug lord Prop Joe's murder only made "page B3," as Simon said.

Simon publicly thanked HBO for allowing him to create The Wire, even though afterward he made reference to the struggle the show's writers had with executives allowing them season five. My colleague, Erica Williams, asked him about how he squared the fact that this was a show about the poorest of the poor, yet it broadcasts on a subscription-only premium cable network. Simon said he didn't really worry about that for one reason: bootlegged copies that flood the streets of Baltimore the day after the episode airs. In fact, Felicia "Snoop" Pearson once accosted someone on the street in Baltimore who was selling bootlegged copies. She called Simon, carefully reading off the serial number and asking what she should do. Simon laughed and told her to let the bootlegger go.

Simon openly admits he steals, from life and from other writers. Hampsterdam and the serial killer are totally made-up storylines, but much of the rest of the show is cribbed from life. Simon noted that in some ways his plots resemble those of the ancient Greeks; characters that are, from the outset, doomed. The characters are in a "rigged game" and the subversive act, as we saw with Bunny when he created Hampsterdam, becomes refusing to play in the rigged game.

For all my resistance to this season, I still admire Simon for what he has created -- it is something of a "moral imagination" for me, if not a direct. After all, he and the other writers created a new standard for themselves, one that sometimes even the creators of that standard cannot live up to.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Campus Press Starts a 'War on Asians'

Via racialicious, a columnist for Colorado University's Campus Press wrote a column that essentially declared war on Asians (note: an entire race) based on a bad experience he had with someone at the Rec Center when a kid lost his racquetball.

After my friend and I finished working our abs at the Rec Center, we decided to head upstairs to tighten our buns on the StairMaster. As we walked down the hallway, a rubber ball bounced out of one of the racquetball courts and landed at the feet of an Asian in front of us. He picked up the ball and leaned over the railing of the court nearest to him.

“Hey, that’s not ours,” I heard a guy call up from the court. The Asian stared down at him for a moment, and then held the ball out to him. “That’s not ours,” the guy said again.

Then another voice called out from a different court, “Hey, does anyone see a ball up there?”

The Asian looked over, confused.

“I think it goes to that court,” I said, pointing to the one nearest to me.

The Asian stared at me blankly for another second, and then he looked back down into the court next to him and offered them the ball again.

“That’s not our ball,” the guy called up.

“Excuse me,” I said. The Asian whipped his head around and scowled at me. “I think it goes to that court.”

He paused a few seconds, and then he said, in a perfect American accent, “Okay,” and tossed the ball into the court next to me.

That’s when it hit me.

The Asian was so jaded by his experiences with the whitebread, brainless tree sloths of CU that even though three people had explained to him that he was trying to return the ball to the wrong court, it was inconceivable to him that we might be right.

And when he looked into my eyes, it wasn’t just irritation and disgust that I saw-it was hate. Pure hate.

I’m such a fool for not realizing it sooner. I can’t tell you how many times the Asians have treated me like a retarded weasel and I’ve forgiven them. But now I know that Asians are not just “a product of their environment,” and their rudeness is not a “cultural misunderstanding.”

They hate us all.

No, it's not because this kid was having a bad day and you were in his way. It was because this Asian kid represents all Asians and their pure and unjustified hatred for white kids. Right. Also, thanks for your generosity in forgiving all those Asians and their rudeness. That was very benevolent of you.

The head editors at Campus Press [BTW, could they come up with a more generic name?] issued something of an apology, but most people aren't buying it. The columnist, Max Karson, already has a legacy of racism chronicled by Wikipedia. The thing is, if the editor of the commentary section was a person of color, it seems unlikely that this column would have ever made its way onto the printed page.

Addicted to Adderall

Via Matt. Molly Young has the best essay I've ever read on prescription drug addition online at n+1. She came from a well-balanced family in San Francisco to an East Coast Ivy League university where she discovered Adderall, a drug typically prescribed to kids (and adults) with ADHD. In the essay she does a good job of carrying the reader through the addiction, talking about the various ways she justified it to herself:
Of course, I could have studied in college without Adderall, just like I did in high school—I just couldn't have studied with such ecstasy. Theoretical texts, in particular, were transformed into exercises as conquerable as a Tuesday crossword. I could work out in the gym with a Xeroxed packet of Gayatri Spivak perched on the elliptical machine in front of me, reading and burning calories at the same time. The efficacy of the multitasking was exhilarating. On Adderall, the densest writing became penetrable. I had an illusion of mastery, at least, that lasted long enough to write the necessary papers and presentations. I could never remember what I had written the next day, but I justified this forgetfulness as an accelerated version of what would happen anyway after I graduated.
She also talks about how easy it is to obtain the drug, saying faking ADHD is a "cakewalk," talking about how easy it is to buy extras from friends, and ordering the drugs over the internet with all those encrypted catalogs. It's a private struggle, she says, "the drug is less talked about than exhibited."

I've never taken prescription drugs to help myself concentrate, but I've know people with family members who struggled with such addictions. To me sometimes this is about confidence and the high-pressure situations we put ourselves in. In highly competitive environments, like an Ivy League school, everyone is brilliant, so you must be more focused and dedicated than everyone else. For some, it is success that is the drug and Adderall is merely the means to that end.


FOX Porn

Via bean and Feminist Law Professors, this site (which is really just an ad for OutFOXed) cuts together real footage from FOX News that features scantily clad women designed to, as bean puts it, "titillate its conservative audience." There's nothing conservatives love more than slut-shaming, and there's no better way to do that then basically display blurred-out porn for its audience.

But I wonder -- is CNN or MSNBC any better? Sure, FOX is an easy target because they're the most overtly conservative, but it's hard to deny the effect FOX has had on the "respectable" news outlets. I think that we could easily put together a video (although perhaps not as long or graphic) that features a lot of the same footage. This is because cable news outlets operate in a very narrow way. They compete directly with one another, often putting up their own versions of the same story to chase after ratings.

If you ask me this is a problem with FOX, but it's also a problem with all cable news. The only way we'll get more substantive coverage is if we demand it.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Stuff White People Like Blog Authored by a Dude

A freshly christened blog called Stuff White People Like appeared to be written by a 20-year-old white woman, mainly because of this photograph.

Turns out it's actually written by this white dude:

The Assimilated Negro has an interview with him today. Turns out he's really, really white. The interview starts off like this:

The Assimilated Negro (TAN): testing ... TA Negro here.

Stuff White People Like (SWPL): hey. TA Negro makes me think of Teaching Assistant Negro. that's cash money... I used to be TA Canadian.

He says the inspiration for the site was the thought that not enough white people like The Wire. Apparently he didn't get the message that all the liberal hipster journalists I know in DC love The Wire.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Cook on The Wire

Brian Cook makes the case for Obama:
In a recent story in The Nation, Chris Hayes used 2,200-plus words to argue why progressives should back Sen. Barack Obama. I’ll use only seven: Obama’s favorite TV show is “The Wire.”
Now that's the best lede I've read in a long time.

The Uncomfortable Lobbyist Question

The whole scandal around John McCain's lobbyist Vicki Iseman reminds me that candidates have an uncomfortable relationship with lobbyists. McCain, who initially billed himself as a man of integrity, even slapping his name on the updated campaign finance reform (which he is currently trying to untangle himself from). Clinton herself defended her decision to accept lobbyists' money early in the campaign, earning herself a lot of attacks from the left. Obama made a pledge not to accept lobbyists' money, but even that isn't a gold-plated promise.

The thing is, lobbyist sounds really bad. What we think of are massive corporations and slick K Street lawyers trading lavish dinners for some serious earmarks. And that is a good chunk of what goes on. But lobbying is also grassroots people talking to their legislators and even paid lobbyists from places like Greenpeace and student coalitions. To dispel lobbyists from campaigns is a little like saying that candidates aren't going to use money or try to get votes in their campaigns. Because modern campaigns rely so much on money and media coverage, eliminating lobbyists from the picture is virtually impossible unless we're willing to switch over to a totally publicly funded campaign system. And no one wants to do that because no one wants to lose.

There's no doubt that McCain is in trouble now, because he billed himself as above dirty money. Maybe Clinton had it right, maybe you should just accept that at some point, as a presidential candidate, you are going to accept money from large corporations. At least then you won't be a hypocrite.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sizing Up

According to Women's eNews, Spain is fed up with the varying sizes that don't fit everyone's body types. The Spanish government measured more than 10,000 women to create realistic sizes and body types to give women a more realistic set of sizes. Although Spain isn't forcing stores, to conform to the new size standards, it gives women guidelines they can stick to. While it can be thrilling to drop a size or two in one store, it's also frustrating when you go to the next and go up two. I've often become frustrated when my size varies from store to store. As someone that's not hugely into shopping anyway, it often seems like a huge waste of time. The hope in Spain is that by coming out with a new set of standards, they'll help women feel good about the the body type that they are, not the size that they fit into.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Adventures in Baking

Tonight I made this super easy recipe for Blackberry Crumble. Obviously, you could use any kind or combination of berries. It was very delicious and easy to make. Here's hoping my summer-style baking brings warm weather.

Blackberry Crumble

UPDATE: This reminds me of my very perfect mixed berry pie I made over the holidays.

Serving While Gay

Via Myglesias and Kdrum, a new survey of military personnel by Foreign Policy shows that fewer senior officers supported allowing gays in the military (22 percent) than were interested in reinstating the draft (38 percent). The most popular idea for increasing recruitment, however, was lowering educational standards (58 percent).

Matt said this was probably the most obvious means of increasing bodies in the military, but it sort of depends on what you want the military to do. If you think that the military's sole purpose, as it has been, is to shoot guns and stand guard, then yes, lowering educational standards will do the task for increasing troop levels. But, if you think that the military needs to be a leaner, more highly trained force to be knowledgeable about the areas where they're stationed, then lowering educational standards seems like a bad idea. I can see both sides of the argument, but I tend to think that the main problem with recruitment is that troops are becoming exhausted and we're rotating through troops and burning them out faster than we realize.

One thought about attitudes toward gays in the military: I think what the survey points to mostly is the high levels of homophobia still in the military. There's a definite emphasis on masculinity and traditional gender roles there. My good friends' sister joined the Marines after high school, and she was told she had to wear very specific shades of lipstick in dress uniform.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

State Department Drops Ban On HIV-Postitive Diplomats

Over the weekend, thanks to pressure from a lawsuit, the State Department finally conceded that HIV shouldn't limit who can serve as a diplomat abroad. Oftentimes a candidate would complete extensive exams only to discover upon the completion of a medical exam he or she didn't qualify.

The State Department's chief medical officer had "revised its medical clearance guidelines on HIV based on advances in HIV care and treatment and consultations with medical experts," said Gonzalo Gallegos, a State Department spokesman.

This is a great step forward for the rights of those who are infected with HIV, but can live normal lives for years. It also has a lot to do with the stigma surrounding the virus. For years it was perceived as a "sinful disease." I remember in the late 1990s a documentary called "Hell House," about an evangelical Christian church in the south, portrayed one of the "sins" as a young man with AIDS. It's a relief that now at least official policy doesn't reinforce such terrible stereotypes.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Adventures in Cooking

Tonight I attempted to cook. Don't be too shocked. I tried a vegan sweet potato gratin from Moosewood. Ingredient list at the bottom.

Caribbean Sweet Potato Gratin served

While I cooked the rice, I peeled and chopped the sweet potatoes.

Naked sweet potatoes look so weird

Then I made the coconut milk mix, which combines the lime juice and zest with the garlic, cilantro, thyme, salt, pepper, and coconut milk. I found it a little dry, so if I make it again, I'd probably put in two cans of milk instead of one.

Sweet potatoes in the pan with coconut milk

I would say it's a lot like making lasagna. You have to do a lot of layering. You put a third of the milk mixture and then layer sweet potatoes, half the rice, half the black beans, and half the spinach. Then you repeat that layering sequence and pour the rest of the coconut milk over the top. I might have used brown rice instead of white if I would have had some.

Layers of coconut milk mix, sweet potatoes, rice, and black beans

When you're done layering, you need to make the topping, which is very fast, just mix all the ingredients together with a fork.

The topping

Sprinkle it over the top. This is what it looks like before you put it in.

Before putting it in the oven

Cook for an hour at 375 degrees and the sweet potatoes should be soft and the topping should be golden brown.

Out of the Oven

The smell of thyme was quite strong while cooking and definitely influenced the taste. If you're not a huge fan of thyme, I might consider cutting back or eliminating it. But I have to admit, it was really tasty.


1 garlic clove, pressed
1 1/2 tsp. lime zest
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 can coconut milk
2 peeled and sliced sweet potatoes
1 cup cooked rice
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach

3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Leslie and the Ly's, You Rock My World

After going with Ann to see Leslie Hall ("Internet majesty," as she calls herself) I feel the need to go listen to "Midwest Diva" and buy some gem sweaters. But I'll leave you with this:

Vaginas of Color on U Street

I went to go see The Vagina Monologues show last night at the Lincoln Theater in D.C. I wrote about this week. It was a cast entirely composed of African American women. The performance was really great, and it really reminds me that Eve Ensler's play is a bit like feminism itself. It's not perfect, so it keeps evolving, changing, and adapting to various audiences. Feminism isn't one message. It's an ongoing discussion.

This performance made an effort to reach out to men, getting sponsorship from Men Can Stop Rape, and pulling in the hilarious Michael Colyar to emcee. (I also saw a fair number of husbands and boyfriends attending the performance as well.) He praised his wife and admitted he was a crack addict who was in his seventeenth year of sobriety. They also had introductions by a representative from an organization called Our Place, which helps transition women from the District of Columbia back home after serving time in jail or prison, and the very sassy Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. "Violence against women and girls is the same here and the world over," Norton said.

The highlight monologue of the evening had to be Vanessa Williams of Soul Food who donned a British accent when she performed "The Vagina Workshop." Her performance was funny and brilliant. Another standout monologue was done by Iona Morris, director of this performance, who played the lesbian sex worker. Sherri Shephard did a good job of performing "My Angry Vagina," but I found Star Jones' reading of "my short skirt is not an invitation" to be stiff. (Also, I just want to feed her these days.) Notably, they left out the transgender monologue.

The new monologue this year was a group reading at the end about New Orleans. "New Orleans," they said, "is the vagina of America." The reading compared New Orleans' (and the Gulf South) relationship with the rest of America with an abusive relationship. The play ended with emotional gospel singing. One revolutionary part of the monologue talked about the economic abuse the people of New Orleans are experiencing. The evolution to begin including perspective on how women are experiencing economic abuse in various ways -- highlighted most by the situation in New Orleans -- is something that hasn't always been a the forefront of feminism. Economic abuse is just as relevant as other forms of abuse.

Ensler's organization, V-Day, is organizing a march in New Orleans April 11 and 12 called "V to the Tenth." Celebrities expected are Salma Hayek, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Hudson, Glenn Close, Julia Stiles and others.

Friday, February 15, 2008

WireTAP, Part II

I'm part of a discussion that's up today on TAP about The Wire, this time, including former Prospect online editor Sam Rosenfeld. I'm starting to come around to this season, but have been feeling like the first few episodes have been wasted time:
What struck me after watching episode six was that the season seems to be getting steered a bit back on track: The hierarchy of the drug dealers is taking more of a prominent role, Bunk is digging up the evidence on 22 murders, and Omar is back. But the brief experiment into the fantastical, as Kriston calls it, reeks of series writing like you might find on a soap opera or sitcom -- or, god forbid, 24 -- rather than The Wire. It seems that the writing has gotten away from the writers. Now they have to rein in the story.

Previews suggest that McNulty wants out of the pseudo serial killer plot, and by god, I do, too. The storyline is so ridiculous that it has restrained the rest of the season. Instead, Bunk is digging up the murders again. If they'd have used the newspaper to leak a story about department incompetence on real murders instead of trying to invent a serial killer, they would have saved everyone time and frustration.

Also, you should check out the first discussion we did on episodes one, two, and three of season five.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Vagina Monologues Include Women of Color

I have a piece up at Campus Progress today about The Vagina Monologues:
The Vagina Monologues has been performed all around the world. This year, there will be more than 3,500 productions in 70 different countries. The production has raised millions of dollars for local domestic violence groups and taken on projects for women in war-torn areas of Africa and the Middle East.

But feminists haven't always greeted The Vagina Monologues warmly. As Ashwini Hardikar pointed out in Campus Progress last year, “the show’s monologues are delivered almost exclusively through the lens of a white, upper-class, Western female perspective.” Some of the monologues Ensler added to the production, which appear in the back of her newly-released 10th anniversary version of the book, are the most violent and hardest to read. There are clues in the text that indicate the more violent roles are supposed to be played women of color: a Native American, a woman in Ukraine, a Latina, a female wearing a burqa, and a male-to-female transgender individual. Because so few women of color audition for the roles, Hardikar said, “The message to audiences was clear: Only privileged women enjoy their vaginas.”

In response to these criticisms, Young started a tour of the Vagina Monologues that is cast entirely with women of color—and extremely high profile women at that: Star Jones and Sherri Shepherd, former and current member of “The View”; Vanessa Williams of “Soul Food”; and Denise Dowse, who starred in Ray and Coach Carter. The tour begins at the Lincoln Theater in Washington D.C. this weekend and will make stops in Nashville and Detroit.

I also encourage you to read Ashwini's original story contesting that TVM are about white, privileged women.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The End of the Religious Conservative

We paid a lot of attention to the evangelical right when they were winning. As John McCain makes his way toward the GOP nomination, never-drop-out Huckabee, who has positioned himself as the emblem of the religious right, wins in Southern states. What the Chirstian right is discovering is that they don't have quite as much power within the party as they thought they did.

Obviously, McCain will be courting conservatives as he moves forward, but what Hucabee's candidacy shows is that evangelical conservatives are a marginal group. They staunchly support someone who they thing represents their values, but that person doesn't even pass the party-wide primary, let alone the national election.

What Bush's candidacy was seems to be a fluke. He was both on the in with the old party leaders (thanks in part to his dad) and on the in with the Christians. In 2000 and 2004 the stars were aligned for the religious conservatives. This year, they're not going to get the candidate they want. So does this mean the power of the religious conservative is over?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gag Me, Not "Marry Him!"

I wasn't going to write anything on this piece from The Atlantic because, quite frankly, it didn't seem worth my time. Lori Gottlieb's conclusions about just settling for the man that will marry you were ludicrous. I will however, say that I do agree with a small portion of her argument.
When we’re holding out for deep romantic love, we have the fantasy that this level of passionate intensity will make us happier.
I tend to agree that thanks to a lot of trivial romantic comedies and other social expectations, some people get caught up in finding "perfect love" like they see in movies and on television. I'll give her that point. Some people have expectations for relationships that are just too damn high. But I won't pretend that's just limited to women, either.

But the thought that women should just "settle" seems ridiculous. Why should you feed into stereotypes like this?
The dream, like that of our mothers and their mothers from time immemorial, was to fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after.
What's the most silly is that Gottlieb seems to conclude that a relationship is a happy utopia. Even though her married girlfriends seem unhappy they still haven't left their husbands. This is because relationships are actually -- get ready -- a lot of work. Marriage does not necessarily equal happiness. I know it may seem profound to the likes of Gottlieb, but there isn't such a thing as happily ever after, even if you buy into it. She takes evidence from herself, a 40-year-old single mom, and um, Ross and Rachel on Friends to conclude that it's (drumroll, please) the fault of feminists.
To the outside world, of course, we still call ourselves feminists and insist—vehemently, even—that we’re independent and self-sufficient and don’t believe in any of that damsel-in-distress stuff, but in reality, we aren’t fish who can do without a bicycle, we’re women who want a traditional family. And despite growing up in an era when the centuries-old mantra to get married young was finally (and, it seemed, refreshingly) replaced by encouragement to postpone that milestone in pursuit of high ideals (education! career! but also true love!), every woman I know—no matter how successful and ambitious, how financially and emotionally secure—feels panic, occasionally coupled with desperation, if she hits 30 and finds herself unmarried.
Gasp! Not unmarried! The horror! Now, granted, I'm only 24 and finding myself unmarried, but I don't seem to be unhappy, and I think a lot of women who are 30, 40, and 50 and totally happy as single human beings. What's more, she seems to be interested more in the institution of marriage than in the idea of a committed relationship. One does not necessarily equal the other. She also leaves out the main reason they legalized divorce in the first place: some women face marriages that are either physically or emotionally abusive. For those women, being single truly is better than a marriage that threatens her emotional or physical health.

Furthermore Gottlieb's proof that an unhappy married woman is more satisfied than a single woman is that when she offers to take over her friends' husbands they don't take her up on her offer.
But then my married friends say things like, “Oh, you’re so lucky, you don’t have to negotiate with your husband about the cost of piano lessons” or “You’re so lucky, you don’t have anyone putting the kid in front of the TV and you can raise your son the way you want.” I’ll even hear things like, “You’re so lucky, you don’t have to have sex with someone you don’t want to.”

The lists go on, and each time, I say, “OK, if you’re so unhappy, and if I’m so lucky, leave your husband! In fact, send him over here!”

Not one person has taken me up on this offer.

Shocking that your friends wouldn't want to um, go through a heart-wrenching divorce with someone that they're in a committed relationship because it would save them negotiating over piano lessons. It seems that Gottlieb should just keep such conclusions to herself and not try to push her own regrets on others.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Critique of Obama Supporters

Via Chronicle's Footnoted blog. Jim Sleeper had a critique of Barack Obama's supporters up at TPM Cafe yesterday that I thought was interesting, even if a little incomplete. He worries that the big wins in Obama's support, the young cool kids, may not be as committed to class issues in reality as they are in love with Obama himself.

I fear that too many young whites with bright prospects have no really serious intention of redressing the growing inequities which the neoliberal world that employs them is spawning, not just between themselves and poor blacks on the Southside but, these days, between blacks and blacks, and women and women, let alone between cool young whites like themselves and the declasse, lumpy white and Latino workers all around them.

Not that my young friends defend wholeheartedly the system in which they're prospering. To their credit, it makes them uncomfortable. But they grasp at mostly symbolic gestures of a politics of moral posturing that relieves racial and class guilt and steadies their moral self-regard with smallish contributions to Obama, an Ivy alum whom they trust to help those people on the Southside without dragging them too deeply into it; without reconfiguring how we charter our corporations and re-construe the private and public investments that employ upscale young whites and well-behaved non-whites; and certainly without redistributing their own bright prospects and future prerogatives and second homes.

This is initially what made me cringe when I considered Obama as a serious candidate. There were so many elites that fell in love with him and his message of unity, but continued to work as corporate lawyers or high-powered consultants. It's a consistent problem among the left -- and probably one that gave victory to the right for so long -- liberal elites are all well and interested in caring about class issues in theory, but they also don't want to make real sacrifices for social change.

But, like Sleeper, I don't doubt Obama's commitment to the cause of ending inequality. He went to the streets of Chicago and worked as a community organizer. The question Sleeper poses is a good one, but it misses the point. If elites are willing to follow Obama's rhetoric, they may end up following the path to solving real inequality, even if that's not really why they're in the game. It doesn't really matter what the supporters think about inequality as long as they're willing to buy into a candidate that cares truly and deeply for ending it.
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