Here’s what we have in store this week:
• A new debate about America’s about the state of race relations in America
• A closer look at the data on media coverage of racism
• Your Sunday roundup of debater editorials
I was born in 1963, the year that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he prayed that his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” No one can deny the massive progress on racial issues since King spoke 60 years ago, not least of which was the election and reelection of Barack Obama.
But we’ll likely also agree that the United States remains, in a basic but profound way, obsessed with race, especially distinctions between white and Black Americans. Even after the Civil War, Jim Crow, the civil rights movement, affirmative action, and what some call a “racial reckoning” in 2020 in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, it’s clear that race still plays a significant role in many aspects of everyday life, including educational attainment, job and income opportunities, and even health and longevity (on average, white Americans live slightly more than five years longer than Black Americans).
But have we reached a point where talking about race actually confounds matters more than it clarifies them? Do we perpetuate racism by focusing on race? Does America’s long and tortured racial history get in the way of crafting policy solutions that will help individuals fare better in their lives?
To put it bluntly: Is America Too Obsessed with Race?
Arguing “Yes” is Kmele Foster, co-host of The Fifth Column podcast
and the co-founder and executive producer of the media company Freethink.
Arguing “No” is Nsé Ufot, activist, community organizer, and
former chief executive officer of the New Georgia Project.
They bring heat and light to a topic that is as timely as it is polarizing. Take a listen and let us know what you think, especially if you change your mind.
Nick Gillespie, Guest Moderator
Nick Gillespie is a four-time debater on the topics of net neutrality, insurance, legalizing drugs, and student loans. He has guest moderated two debates. He is the editor-at-large of Reason.
DEBATING THE DATA
Uses of the word racism and racist went up sharply in 2020 across media outlets. Learn more here.
Is America too obsessed with race?
“I’m suggesting that we are ignoring a broad spectrum of things, when we narrowly focus on race. That seems to be an undeniable fact.”
Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates
“When one thinks about the things that we are obsessed with, that we invest time, energy, attention into. It does not in any way, feel like America is obsessed with addressing the racial disparities that have been proven to exist.”
Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates
INTELLIGENCE SQUARED U.S. ALUMNI
Points of View
The right’s two responses to Trump’s indictment
Ben Domenech | March 31, 2023
Watch Ben’s debate on the Trump phenomenon
The strange trials of our first criminal president
Jonathan Chait | March 30, 2023
Watch Jonathan’s debate on healthcare
Trump is indicted, and justice is served
Jennifer Rubin | March 30, 2023
The Washington Post
Watch Jennifer’s debate on Trump’s first 100 days
Where do you stand?
David Frum | March 30, 2023
Watch David’s debate on Trump’s election