Postponement—Who is Theresa El-Amin: No one assembles a panel on race like our long-time friend Marc Steiner, who hosts his eponymous radio program for WEAA, the NPR affiliate at Morgan State University.
For that reason, we’re postponing our account of the way Margaret Mead returned to earth to analyze the cultural patterns of the emerging liberal world.
Without question, Mead’s return constitutes one of the most remarkable episodes in modern intellectual history (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/11/12). We want to tell that story correctly. We think it’s worth waiting a day to do so. Tomorrow, the story continues.
For today, we’ll offer a few thoughts about Steiner’s program, which took us away from our desk for a chunk of time which was very well spent:
Steiner devoted the full two hours to this recent piece from the New York Times, in which Seth Stephens-Davidowitz employed an emerging technology to analyze the effects of race on Candid Obama’s vote total in the 2008 election.
(According to Nexis, the piece appeared on page 12 of the hard-copy Sunday Review section. According to the New York Times site, it only appeared on-line.)
Stephens-Davidowitz turns out to be a delightfully self-effacing Harvard doctoral candidate. With his colleague Anthony McCarthy, Steiner interviewed him for the first 30 minutes. He used his remaining 90 minutes to discuss the gentleman’s findings.
To hear the interview with Stephens-Davidowitz, click here, then click again. To listen to the subsequent panel discussion, follow the same procedure. To read the most recent version of SSD’s actual thesis, just click this.
For ourselves, we recommend the voice of one of our fellow panelists, Theresa El-Amin, who spoke by telephone for the full 90 minutes.
Who is Theresa El-Amin? Her Wikipedia biography is mercilessly brief:
WIKIPEDIA: Theresa El-Amin is an African American civil rights activist, union organizer and member of the National Committee of the Green Party of the United States.The Duke University Libraries offers a slightly fuller account of El-Amin’s life at this voluminous site, “Inventory of the Theresa El-Amin Papers, 1960s-2010.”
El-Amin became an activist in 1966 with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She helped found the United States Labor Party in 1996. She worked with the Green Party of Rhode Island in the 1990s. In 1999, she became the founding director of the Southern Anti-Racism Network.
We weren’t familiar with El-Amin as yesterday’s program started. As the program unfolded, we were very much struck by the strength of her voice. We wanted to express some such thought as the program neared its end, but we were still unclear about who we’d been listening to.
After the program went off the air, four white-and-black guys sat around a studio discussing the woman who'd spoken by phone. McCarthy tends to have a very clear sense of the value of other people. He expressed the thought we’d been groping for.
When El-Amin speaks, “you’re really hearing the voice of history,” he said, in admiration. (We'll assume it's OK to repeat that. He captured our own murky thought.)
We’ll do a post on Young Seth’s study by the end of the week. For today, we’ve decided to push Margaret Mead back a day. El-Amin is still quite active in this, her first earthly life. Yesterday, we were very much struck by her strong, clear voice.
How can such insight be brought center stage? That’s one of the questions Mead examined during her time back on Earth.