Josephine Baker’s French Exile
Gary Younge writes in “The Dancer Was a Spy” [Dec. 13/20]: “Embracing exiles from their ally-cum-rival [the United States] gave the French a sense of being morally and culturally superior—even as they wrestled with their military and economic inferiority.” Indeed, one might also see elite US institutions’ “embrace” of French intellectuals of color (The Washington Post’s and Georgetown University’s recent hiring of French journalist Rokhaya Diallo comes to mind) as obscuring the political, economic, and cultural hegemony the United States wields in today’s world. Certainly, France’s refusal to fully come to terms with its colonial past disqualifies it to provide any lessons in matters of racism.
It was good to see Gary Younge in your pages again. He never disappoints. Thanks!
I’m old enough to have met the musician Luther Allison in person on the Rue Mouffetard before entering the small club where he was performing in Paris every night.
He experienced segregation in France, just as, unfortunately, he would have anywhere else. But he understood that a despicable minority does not represent a whole country.
In regard to Tina Gerhardt’s editorial, “Heating Up,” in the December 13/20 issue: How many believe the Global North cares about pressure from those concerned with environmental justice? It seems to me that climate change will bring more, not less, exploitation and repression as rich nations maneuver to maintain their privilege and competitive edge against other rich nations.
A Report Worth Reading
Thank you, D.D. Guttenplan, for bringing the New York Times report on a US drone strike that killed civilians to the attention of readers of The Nation [“Revealing the Truth,” Dec. 13/20]. Years ago I stopped supporting, reading, or listening to The New York Times for the reasons you succinctly list in your article. If only this sort of good investigative journalism were the norm at the Times, I’d start including it in my information basket.
Build Back Better, Please
Re “https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/gop-violence-trump/” by Jeet Heer [Dec. 13/20]: In my view, the best way to combat a resurgence of Donald Trump and the violent Republicans would be to enact the vastly popular agenda that Joe Biden promised in the 2020 election campaign (not the grotesquely watered-down version that Congress is now considering and may or may not ultimately accept). I haven’t seen a single article in The Nation in recent weeks that forthrightly calls upon the Democrats to do this.