Let’s Talk About Charleston

This week we talked about the young white man, Dylann Storm Roof, who — self-deputized to protect white America — gutted one of the South’s most historic black churches.

His act added nine more names to the roll of black Americans killed in the year of Ferguson and Staten Island and Baltimore, and it re-opened a race conversation that is already a part of the 2016 presidential contest. It also recalled the terror face of American racism, in the tradition of the Ku Klux Klan and the Birmingham bombings, and a very familiar expression of anger, grief, and helplessness.

We wanted to know what it would for America to undertake the kind of urgent searching that was forced on Germany and South Africa, Rwanda and Northern Ireland? Can we have truth-and-reconciliation, American style?

Claudia Rankine, America’s poet of racial trauma in the award-winning Citizen, suggested in a moving essay this week that we emulate the mothers of the dead. Black lives matter when we mourn black deaths like family. For Rankine, racism persists in violent, public ways because well-intentioned people fail each other in private:

People have beliefs that come up when they see a body that doesn’t look like them, and it has nothing to do with the person in front of them. But the person in front of them has to receive the assault of that language and has to negotiate it. And so the next time the person has to enter that room, they have to brace for more of that. Whether or not it comes. So it becomes a third thing in the room. And this is often — you know we’re not talking about Fox News. We’re not talking about Don Imus. We’re talking about friends. We’re talking about colleagues. We’re talking about quotidian moments, like going to the grocery store, when you don’t expect that your day is going to have to include negotiating anti-black racism.

Heather Ann Thompson, a historian who spoke to us about the shadow of the Attica prison raid and the social stain of mass incarceration, told white America to step up and claim responsibility for what is done in our name each day: by police, by economics, by the political systems that we trust.

That means reckoning with the Young Men With Guns who also claim to act in our name. The war-zone journalist Åsne Seierstad spoke with us about Norway’s national confrontation with Anders Behring Breivik. Her new book about the 32-year-old fascist who killed 77 people four summers ago is called “One Of Us.” This week Americans debated whether to call Dylann Roof “a terrorist,” but — listening to Seierstad — we decided it was more important to call him “son”:

What happened in the media here in Norway, there would be words used like “monster.” The discussion also went along the lines of “he’s sick,” implying we’re healthy.” Nothing wrong with us, he’s the sick one.” Whereas, in the end, the court ruled that he was not sick. He was clinically sane. He was guilty of his crime. We had to look at him, but we also had to look at us… There’s a difference between the Left and the Right. The Left would be more inclined to say… “He didn’t grow up in a vacuum. His ideas came from something. They came from racism in the society, they came from anti-Islamic thought in the society. So we have to look at us, and how discussions are being run in the society.”

After Ferguson, after Newtown, after this week, the question echoes: what’s it take to make a change? Our guest Kwame Anthony Appiah — philosopher of cosmopolitan tolerance, against racism, and a new podcaster! — says the pain and activism of the past year gave Americans a closer-than-ever look at our violent history and our sorry selves. But, Appiah says, it will take more than sense of history — a de facto truth commission — to be be a better people. We need a sense of shame:

Our friends all around the world think that the way we are in relation to things like the mass incarceration of black people is a stain on our national character. And they find it hard to be friends with us because they see that we have allowed this thing to happen and we don’t seem to be inclined to do anything about it. [We need] to have what our founders called a “decent respect for the opinion of mankind” and to realize that a lot of what we do in the world is undermined by our failure to deal with our longstanding problem of race

Guest List
Claudia Rankine
playwright and poet, whose book Citizen: An American Lyric won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry.
Heather Ann Thompson
professor of history at the University of Michigan and author of the forthcoming book, Blood in the Water: The Attica Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy.
Kwame Anthony Appiah
professor of philosophy at New York University, author of The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen, and one of The New York Times Magazine's new panel of "Ethicists", who record a podcast each week.
Reading List
"The Condition of Black Life Is One of Mourning"
Claudia Rankine, New York Times Magazine
Our leadoff guest, the poet behind Citizen, raises the dead bodies of black Americans as a sorry reminder of the state of the union:
We live in a country where Americans assimilate corpses in their daily comings and goings. Dead blacks are a part of normal life here. Dying in ship hulls, tossed into the Atlantic, hanging from trees, beaten, shot in churches, gunned down by the police or warehoused in prisons: Historically, there is no quotidian without the enslaved, chained or dead black body to gaze upon or to hear about or to position a self against. When blacks become overwhelmed by our culture’s disorder and protest (ultimately to our own detriment, because protest gives the police justification to militarize, as they did in Ferguson), the wrongheaded question that is asked is, What kind of savages are we? Rather than, What kind of country do we live in?
"How The South Lost The War But Won The Narrative"
Tony Horwitz, TPM
The historian/journalist dives into his collection of Confederate paraphernalia from his past book, in which old racism mingles with new political understandings of Southern identity and (mis)readings of Civil War history, in symbols like the embattled battle flag:
I’m not very optimistic that the debate over South Carolina’s flag will bring a deeper reckoning. Furling the statehouse flag may bring temporary relief to South Carolinians, but what we truly need to bury is the gauzy fiction that the antebellum South was in any way benign, or that slavery and white supremacy weren’t the cornerstone of the Confederacy. Only then, perhaps, will we be able to say that the murdered in Charleston didn’t die in vain, and that the Lost Cause, at last, is well and truly lost.
   
What This Cruel War Was Over
Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic
The much-cited Coates was shocked when the Confederate flags at Southern capitols started to come down in the wake of Roof's killings:
Nikki Haley deserves credit for calling for the removal of the Confederate flag. She deserves criticism for couching that removal as matter of manners. At the present moment the effort to remove the flag is being cast as matter of politesse, a matter over which reasonable people may disagree. The flag is a “painful symbol” concedes David French. Its removal might “offer relief to those genuinely hurt,” writes Ian Tuttle. “To many, it is a symbol of racial hatred,” tweeted Mitt Romney. The flag has been “misappropriated by hate groups,” claims South Carolina senator Tom Davis. This mythology of manners is adopted in lieu of the mythology of the Lost Cause. But it still has the great drawback of being rooted in a lie. The Confederate flag should not come down because it is offensive to African Americans. The Confederate flag should come down because it is embarrassing to all Americans.
The Inexplicable
Karl Ove Knausgaard, The New Yorker
The Norwegian of the moment—a novelist we've discussed on the radio—reckons with Anders Behring Breivik. He was Norway's greatest criminal and, all the same, also the kind of boring, insecure, pathetic male that Knausgaard thinks and writes about in My Struggle:
A few months before Breivik carried out the assault, he visited his former stepmother and told her that soon he was going to do something that would make his father proud. His mother had left his father when he was one, and it had been years since Breivik had spoken to him. He wanted to be seen; that is what drove him, nothing else. Look at me. Look at me. Look at me.
 

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  • Pete Crangle

    To help myself cope with yet another brutal ambush and mass murder, brought to us by cheap + easy guns & ammo for the paranoid citizen, I signed various petitions and wrote a letter over the weekend to the ‘white’ inhabitants of South Carolina, to be delivered to some of their politicians. It didn’t make me feel any better. It didn’t increase my hope nor my frustration, but it did help me clarify things for myself. We grieve with our vigils both privately and publicly. I’ll share the letter here, my apologies for its length:

    Before I begin, let us take a moment to reflect upon a time now passed, of the lives taken from their homes, placed upon ships, and landed at Sullivan Island. Let us reflect upon the proximity of Sullivan Island to Charleston, SC. And that our reflection is not officially sanctioned memorial, …

    To the ‘white’ citizens of South Carolina, regarding the confederate battle flag: You could do for yourselves an act of kindness and favor if you were to remove this symbol of hate and defeat. It is a profound reminder of the moral bankruptcy of an idea called ‘white’ supremacy, wed to slavery, that failed its test on the field of battle many years ago. This flag is forever bound to a brutal war that started in the state of South Carolina. The state known for launching the first salvo, striking the first blow, and giving vent to its homicidal tantrums aimed at its fellow citizens, as well as, its human property. This action gives South Carolina a unique historical placement for its sins of arrogance, stupidity, blunder, and ultimately, treason. The confederacy, with its ideal of “the pursuit of happiness” hoisted upon the backs of free labor wrapped in race hatred, was not only defeated, it surrendered itself; humiliated not by its adversary, but by its own hubris. This is the logical conclusion of the demonic, irrational cause of a culture of death and theft whenever and wherever it rears up it ugliness. For another example — see the rise and fall of the Third Reich.

    This flag holds no legitimate currency, because it never has, and it never will. No flag is going to change the historical outcome decided generations ago. No flag is going to repair your state’s image or remove the stains of culpability of its violent, murderous vagaries. No flag will render South Carolina’s ‘white’ people as courageous or noble in its defeat and surrender as a member of the confederacy. No flag will complete South Carolina’s persistent inchoate rage which still swirls in the hearts and minds of its ‘white’ residents. No flag will provide the corrective for the duplicity and violent excesses of ‘white’ supremacy, ‘white’ tyranny, and ‘white’ privilege. And no amount of excuses or justifications about ‘Heritage’ or ‘Way of Life’ are going to change the outcome of the civil war nor assuage our understanding of the agenda of the confederacy endeavor. An endeavor born, nurtured, and painfully killed by its own virulent roots. Born a sham, it died a sham. It reaped the harvest of its own malice. And, its continuance in the hearts and minds of ‘white’ people anywhere, is a malignant zombie death grip. Mindless and heartless in a fantasy struggle that can realize its hope only by unleashing itself with homicidal rage. It is the cultural paradise of the dead-ender.

    This flag, that your state has openly adopted and given an illustrious and prestigious pride of place, is a symbol of many things. Among them a fantasists repudiation of a clear outcome. It continues to demonstrate that ‘white’ pride and ‘white’ privilege founded in ‘white’ supremacy is mismatched to the reality and cultural tenants it has, and it will always find itself constrained within. That under God’s grace and/or humanity’s moral and ethical principles, no human being can or should set himself or herself above another. The collective sanity shared by your ‘white’ inhabitants has been, and continues to be, displaced by a delusion of the justness of an immoral cause that ended in a verdict rendered to its failure. The confederacy lost and it surrendered. Its cause ignoble, its loss and surrender, unequivocal and complete. I urge you to get over it and move on. Find the means to redeem yourselves. The longer that South Carolina leaves this flag flapping over its capital and its public commons, the longer South Carolina will continue to be seen as the abject failure it has been, and continues to be. Failure is a habit, but it can be, and should be broken when necessity dictates. We see and understand ‘white’ South Carolina, accurately so, to be a violent, and ultimately, a nihilistic culture that current events verify it to be. This flag is symbolic evidence of such a state of affairs that are made real by the sickness of race hatred carried within its ‘white’ residents. The historical and the contemporary evidence completes its circle with unwavering and brutal repetition. The dead victims of this race hatred give witness to this.

    Of course, these are the broad strokes of an indictment that is being leveled by someone who is feeling the full force of a grieving wound that remains ever raw. A wound made raw by ‘white’ hatred of people ‘of color.’ A wound that exists in the service of unrestrained fantasies of power and control. Moreover, this indictment should be leveled upon the country as a whole, and not single out any particular state or its symbols of racism and oppression. The stars-and-stripes itself, can be seen as a symbol of ‘white’ supremacy and its promotion, not 3/5ths of the time, but 5/5ths of the time in a myriad of contexts.

    You will find it on the lapels of politician and media pundit, ‘white’ supremacists blowing dog whistles into the public communication commons. You will find it flying over law enforcement institutions inculcated and nurtured by ‘white’ supremacy at all levels. You will find it on the uniforms of the officer on the street and in the offices of district attorney’s and public defenders who have abdicated their ethical responsibility. You will find it solemnly overlooking judges, corrupted by ‘white’ supremacy, who preside over our civil and criminal justice processes. You will find the stars-and-stripes flying upon poles located at our for-profit prison complexes that hold disproportionate populations of people ‘of color’ who are exploited and warehoused to the point of institutionalization. Victimized by harsh laws, in particular, drug laws, that have historically targeted non-‘white’ populations with cruel and unusual sentences. We are all fortunate that some of these lives have been, and continue to be, exonerated, saved, and salvaged by the good works of organizations such as, The Innocence Project.

    We find the cruel repetition of our neighborhood streets turned into graveyards, that have cradled the executed bodies of far too many people ‘of color,’ man and woman, adult and child, alike. Our courts have released far too many criminals who are employees of law enforcement, who have victimized and murdered men and women, and boys and girls ‘of color’ with extrajudicial zeal. This is a problem shared across the country, shackled to a history that has as yet, failed to comprehensively repair or adequately redress this problem; the fiction of racial superiority and difference. Improvement continues, but it lags behind rough, lethal injustices. This is part of the shadow cast by the stars-and-stripes.

    The problem is wide and deep across this country. ‘White’ supremacy continues to be internalized by many citizens. That being acknowledged, we should consider that “smiling faces, beautiful places,” and cheap sloganeering and platitudes cannot sweep under the cultural rug the brutality that the confederate battle flag symbolizes, and continues to reaffirm. Can you hear it? That’s the sound of tourist dollars not going into your coffers. With some amount of luck, intention, and moral courage, businesses and other infrastructural necessities will begin to pull their cords of connection from South Carolina so it may feel the pressure of economic whither. It would be sad, but perhaps necessary, for South Carolina to feel a protracted, state wide miasma of decline and stagnation. Perhaps it is necessary for it to stew awhile, unrestrained by an ability to reason and understand the role of its self-inflicted behavior; the behavior of ‘white’ supremacy.

    It is probable that I am engaged in a futile gesture to even write this letter. To offer the following advice: you might want to wise up and move on. Give yourselves the necessary latitude of final and necessary capitulation, and decide to quit repeating the sins of arrogance and stupidity of your ‘white’ forbearers. It’ll be liberating, and likely to be profitable. It will show the world something that South Carolina has yet to show: moral courage from its ‘white’ inhabitants. Perhaps, a christian type of moral courage that has yet to appear from the ‘white’ residents of South Carolina in an obvious, candid, sustained, and unambiguous manner.

    And here, let me be sure there is clarity. The statement must be made in a clear language. The allocution of the vanquished must be made in the language of the sovereign power, by criteria enumerated by this power. There is no more wiggle room for molly coddling, or turning a blind eye. Compliance is a necessity we must demand. This has gone on far, far too long. Your recalcitrance no longer acceptable. We note that the intentions of this flag remain impervious to the tragedies and grieving which befall the citizens of The United States of America — it flies at full staff regardless of events. This is not the symbolism of defiance, this is the symbolism of indecency and brutality steeped in treason and criminality.

    Forgiveness can come to those who can admit their flaws and accept their fate. The forgiveness I am referring to is not merely the forgiveness that is bestowed upon your state’s ‘white’ residents from a concerned nation, but it is the forgiveness where you may find mercy within yourself. A mercy that you may then begin to reciprocate among your citizenry regardless of artificial differences, such as race. It is in this way, and not the ethos of death, which is attended to and supported by the gun and weapon culture, that lies the path to liberty and redemption. Listen to the call of your own humanity, and to the God and his son that many of you claim to worship, by name, and in fear and in love.

    You can begin by removing this flag from all places of the public commons where city, county, state and/or federal laws and tax dollars flow through. We note, some of these tax dollars are paid by the people who are the target of ‘white’ rage. Put this flag in a museum, and let us never forget the defeated brutality it symbolizes. Then, turn out the lights on an idea that failed and will never be resurrected by a second coming. Praise your God. Praise his son. Praise the holy ghost. Consider the principles of enlightenment. And get on with the business of living as instruments of peace and not agents of death and theft. For agents of death and theft is exactly how we see the ‘white’ inhabitants of the state of South Carolina, and this flag serves as a reminder of this disposition.

    I hope we can all honor the victims who were murdered June 17, 2015 in Charleston, SC. Let us take steps to heal these wounds with practical action that will begin to dial down the violence. Removing this flag is a practical first step. Getting real about gun control is another. Protecting the right to vote for all citizens is another. Guarantees of access to health and education, yet another.

    And finally, let us not forget the name George Stinney, a boy who received the rough injustice of South Carolina in the city of Columbia on June 16, 1944, C.E. May his soul find the peace that his person was denied.

    • Potter

      Pete, I struggle to give you a thumbs up on this one though I wholeheartedly agree with what you say. But the issue is how to get the cultural change to happen and then from that the deeper change within at least most of us. Or, the other way around. Maybe shaming, loudly and continuously, with, or lacking, an incident,a tragedy,a terrorist act. Find the stories and give them “very long legs”. The major media could do a lot. But that alone won’t do it. Nor, I am afraid, will the removal of the confederate flag, though that might also help and of course it should be removed. But that removal might also make others feel, well the job is done. We removed the flag, praise us (but now we can continue to harbor the same feelings). Racism is and has been ingrained,maybe even resides in our DNA. This is some need to denigrate others to raise our selves, an insecurity, a lack of empathy. It lives everywhere in our governing institutions as well, including those that deal with our foreign affairs. And it cripples everything we as a country do and try to do. It’s ongoing work everyday no rest. Empathy I think is learned. Maybe every schoolchild who is white should paint their skin brown, dark, as an exercise and live it even for a day. Maybe cops should too.Maybe I should.

      • Does empathy work?

        Years ago there was a group of self-professed abused women posting at RoS. A guy claimed he was abused and wanted to join the group.His application was denied. Then, a bizarre thing happen. The women started bickering among themselves about who had suffered the most horrendous abuse.

        A hierarchy of social status thus formed.
        Apparently, empathy is viewed by victims as a usurping of their status. Empathy is you denying them their pain, their uniqueness of existence.

        Yeah, there is a twisted logic to it, summed up in these Ani
        DiFranco lyrics:

        and i hope you believe me when i say i’m trying

        and i hope i never improve my game
        yeah i’d rather have these things weighing on my mind
        and at the end of this tunnel of guilt and shame

        there must be a light of some kind
        there must be a light of some kind
        ####
        Ipso facto that there must be a light of some kind, the pain
        of victimhood is transcendent.

  • Potter

    Paul Krugman Slavery’s Long Shadow this past Monday. Reader’s comments usually are impressive. I hope “Reality Based” won’t mind me quoting his/her comment. I can’t say it better:

    The “whites only” signs and the hooded sheets may be gone, but institutional racism lives on. Southern politicians can no longer use the “N” word to appeal to white anti-black bias, so they scream about “welfare”, which has become coded language for blacks. Poll taxes and literacy tests have been replaced by new black vote suppression schemes like voter ID in Red State America, supported by claims of nonexistent voter fraud. Segregated public schools became illegal so voucher programs and charter schools were used to publicly support new forms of largely segregated schools, under the bogus rubric of “choice” and privatization. Incarceration rates between whites and non-whites, and participation in the criminal justice system became wildly disproportional. The federal government supported de-segregation so it was demonized.

    When overt institutional racism became socially unacceptable, newer forms of covert institutional racism quickly developed to replace them. America’s “original sin” of racism and slavery, present at its creation, underlies it all.

    There is a culture that supports nurtures, breeds, racism and white supremacy. We as a society have been tolerating it in it’s various forms and evasions as “reality based” points out. We let it be. Then we get shocked shocked by the news. But we go about our business when the stories die down. After all we are making progress right? We don’t face this as a country, because it’s not urgent, and anyway it’s those crazies elsewhere. But it’s not. It’s pervasive as recent events show. Why don’t we take this as a threat to our collective, especially to those citizens that we are bound to protect, and then ultimately to our national security? Is this not more urgent than perceived threats in foreign lands?

  • Anne Wheelock

    Is anyone out there willing to step up and demand an end to the widespread suspension and exclusion of African American students from public schools – for “offenses” as minor as talking back to a teacher? This is a practice structured into our public institutions and rarely questioned.

    Is anyone willing to step up and challenge the way schools distribute the most engaging and meaningful opportunities to learn to the most privileged students so that “top track” classes too often exclude African American and Latino students? We know how to change these practices; we have successful models and alternatives to do so. But we lack the will to shake up the norms that justify excluding African American and Latino students from the best resources. And we lack the will to allocate necessary funding in such a way that fairness, equity, and equal access to opportunity become the norm in public schools.

    Until the power structure makes those resources available, racism will be structured into the school day, and who will protest?

  • Potter

    I appreciate especially the inclusion of Asne Seierstad’s accounting of the Norwegian Massacre which broadens the discussion with regard to understanding that this is not only about racism. As well I found what Kwame Anthony Appiah had to say at the end along with Chris’s comments very helpful and in line with my own feelings. I think we first have to look within ( as always) at ourselves. But I never thought before that the culture that can nurture and breed such acts, seemingly lone acts, can be found and helped along on the internet.

    This has renewed for me an interest in the Civil War, Lincoln and the Reconstruction period. As well lot of harm was done during our more recent period of segregation and we are still suffering from that setback. As someone interviewed at the beginning said, our humanities are not touching on each other, we are not talking to each other. So naturally we do not see or feel beyond surfaces.

    Another good program and think you for it.

  • Cambridge Forecast

    DEEP HISTORY BEFORE CHARLESTON
    MASSACRE: MYTHOHISTORY AND MURDER

    You may have seen the classic
    Hollywood “mythohistory” movie “Alamo” from circa 1960 starring John Wayne as “Davy
    Crockett,” Richard Widmark as “Col. Jim Bowie” and Laurence Harvey as “Col.
    William Travis.”

    In the movie, colorful personalities
    drive history and the heroics are beyond human comprehension.

    Actually, the Alamo had more to do
    with the preservation of slavery in Texas as explained here:

    “As the defenders of the Alamo were
    about to sacrifice their lives, other Texans were making clear the goals of the
    sacrifice at a constitutional convention for the new republic they hoped to
    create. In Section
    9 of the General Provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas,
    it is stated how the new republic would resolve their greatest problem under
    Mexican rule: “All persons of color who were slaves for life previous to their
    emigration to Texas, and who are now held in bondage, shall remain in the like
    state of servitude … Congress shall pass no laws to prohibit emigrants from
    bringing their slaves into the republic with them, and holding them by the same
    tenure by which such slaves were held in the United States; nor shall congress
    have power to emancipate slaves.”

    Mexico had in fact abolished slavery
    in 1829, causing panic among the Texas slaveholders, overwhelmingly immigrants
    from the south of the United States. They in turn sent Stephen Austin to Mexico
    City to complain. Austin was able to wrest from the Mexican authorities an
    exemption for the department — Texas was technically a department of the state
    of Coahuila y Tejas — that would allow the vile institution to continue. But
    it was an exemption reluctantly given, mainly because the authorities wanted to
    avoid rebellion in Texas when they already had problems in Yucatán and
    Guatemala. All of the leaders of Mexico, in itself only an independent country
    since 1821, were personally opposed to slavery, in part because of the
    influence of emissaries from the freed slave republic of Haiti. The exemption
    was, in their minds, a temporary measure and Texas slaveholders knew that.”

    “-See more at:
    http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/146405#sthash.8QqKlYot.dpuf

    See: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/146405

    In other words, American mythohistory blocks any real understanding of the endless ethno-brutalities of
    American settler society. The catchy song from the same period as this movie. “The
    Btlle of new Orleans” celebrates Andrew Jackson (“Old Hickory”) and the 1812
    battle against the Brits where “Old Hickory said we could take ‘em by surprise.”

    Old Hickory also decided to exterminate by ethnic cleansing the Cherokee Indians of Appalachia and
    elsewhere circa 1828.

    This mythohistorical blocking of any sense of reality and the infinitely hysterical desire to preserve it and the world it bespeaks, is part of the “spiritual fuel” behind the Charleston murders.

    Richard Melson

  • Status is common to all cultures. First there is status and then there is maintenance of the status and all the conflict therein. The past for Root and Breivik was more like apperception in a Yasujirô Ozu film. They want a status which could be static for them. They see in the past, a time that they never experienced, values sustained by historical time. Obviously, this is a misapprehension of history, a theme that plays out here at RoS.

    Claudia Rankine : “Why do you feel okay saying this to me?” Status & maintenance of the status.

    Status trumps race. That is why these things are said in front of Claudia. She has social staus.

    I really like what she said about getting at the feelings in her art and eschewing the facts, which she doesn’t seem to have a grasp on. And that is the point – unless you were there, you don’t know the facts. Even if you were there as an eyewitness your perception is only slight less subjective than a non- participant.

    Heather Ann Thompson: live it & teach it at home.

    This idea assumes a universal morality exists and that all parents have a philosophical ability. Once outside the home, what happens when one is confronted by the structure of status and maintenance of that status?

    Åsne Seierstad didn’t hit it directly, but Anders Behring Breivik was the embodiment of Norwegian status & maintenance of status. When you think about all the things he failed at, it was status he was looking for – the guy failed at being a graffiti artist – wow, how is that even possible?

    Kwame Anthony Appiah: changing the symbols means what? New slogans will last how long? He is correct to question the ‘movement.’ Awareness has happened, has been happening for thousands of years. E.g. everyone knows war is bad and yet we keep going to war …status and maintenance of the status

    The power dynamics of status is common to all cultures. Get rid of the drive for status and you will have a new form to work with; otherwise, status quo