Melissa Harris-Perry is professor of political science at Tulane University, where she is founding director of the Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. She is author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. She is also a contributor to MSNBC.
Despite conservative attempts to whitewash what they learn in school, young Americans are a diverse and tolerant bunch—and they know it.
Those who most strongly believe that the world is fair are most likely to reconcile their distress about unearned suffering by blaming the victims.
The first black president has created a definitional crisis for whiteness.
African-American children face threats to their survival, and African-American women are confronted with challenges to their capacity to parent healthy children. But shaming misinformation campaigns do nothing to address these problems.
But don't ignore the structural inequities that make the child's salvation necessary in the first place.
The Democratic Party found its voice in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It owes the people of New Orleans a real recovery.
America has a long way to go before we get to the "more perfect union" Obama promises. But the work has begun in earnest.
His convention speech should draw from the wisdom of black women activists who were the prophets of American democracy.