In this time of corrective unnamings—to remove traces of admiration or gratitude for the morally reevaluated—the names of unrepentant slaveholders, Confederate generals, contemporary sexual predators and other assorted wrongdoers have been erased or proposed for erasure from college dorms, military bases, city streets and more.
The title of her new book is Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. It retells the history of American racism from slavery to segregation, from everyday indignities to the use of lethal force. Throughout, she strives to write not of whites and Blacks, but of the majority caste and the minority caste.
In his foreword to Linda Sarsour’s memoir of political activism, Harry Belafonte remarks, “It wasn’t that long ago that we lost Martin and Malcom and Bobby.” He is comparing the vilification of Sarsour, the hijab-wearing, Brooklyn-born Palestinian-American, for her anti-Israeli politics to the murderous racist violence of the 1960s. It seems a stretch.
What quality did people see in David Ben-Gurion that made him indispensable, when so many other qualities made him plainly impossible?