Hamilton was born in 1878, so he didn’t fight for the Confederacy and never owned slaves, but he furthered the cause of white supremacy just the same. His tool was narrative: stories told through lectures, writings, and collections. He taught that Reconstruction had been an abomination, that the Ku Klux Klan had been necessary, and that Blacks were inferior to whites. His Southern Historical Collection “was dedicated to the glorification of the Confederate aristocracy while ignoring, minimizing, and even erasing the Black experience in the South,” Elaine Westbrooks, UNC’s Vice Provost for Libraries and University Librarian, has written.

Of more than 30 UNC building names with ties to white supremacy, Hamilton Hall is the newest. It’s a five-story structure with narrow windows, exposed concrete, and “the charm of a municipal government center,” as a History Department account describes it. It opened in 1972, well into the Civil Rights movement, near the end of the Vietnam War. At the time, the student newspaper pointed out that Hamilton had been a white supremacist. Trustees named the building for him anyway.

YouTube Poster

“Leibovitz doesn’t know how to light dark skin!” was the overwhelming complaint, one that resurfaced Wednesday when Vogue released images of newly sworn-in Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson from its September issue. The issue has already made headlines for its cover star, Serena Williams (and daughter Olympia), who chose Vogue as the vehicle to disclose her impending “evol[ution] away” from tennis. By contrast, the two interior images of Justice Jackson don’t accompany an interview with the history-maker herself but an op-ed by 29-year-old public defender ImeIme Umana, reflecting on her own inspirational meeting with the then-federal judge as well as the import of the moment and the inevitable obstacles ahead.

  • Pew has released the results of a large survey of what it means to be “Asian” in the United States. One of the findings is that the term is used most often in “formal” settings, while most Asian Americans often identify with national or other labels in their everyday lives. The whole report is fascinating:

Many participants felt that neither “Asian” nor “Asian American” truly captures how they view themselves and their identity. They argue that these labels are too broad or too ambiguous, as there are so many different groups included within these labels. For example, a U.S.-born Pakistani man remarked on how “Asian” lumps many groups together – that the term is not limited to South Asian groups such as Indian and Pakistani, but also includes East Asian groups. Similarly, an immigrant Nepalese man described how “Asian” often means Chinese for many Americans. A Filipino woman summed it up this way:

“Now I consider myself to be both Filipino and Asian American, but growing up in [Southern California] … I didn’t start to identify as Asian American until college because in [the Los Angeles suburb where I lived], it’s a big mix of everything – Black, Latino, Pacific Islander and Asian … when I would go into spaces where there were a lot of other Asians, especially East Asians, I didn’t feel like I belonged. … In media, right, like people still associate Asian with being East Asian.”

–U.S.-born woman of Filipino origin in mid-20s

“That’s when people started booing, and the other half started cheering,” Littlefeather remembered. “And that’s when all the people started getting into commotion in the audience. And I focused in on the mouths and the jaws that were dropping open in the audience, and there were quite a few. But it was like looking into a sea of Clorox, you know, there were very few people of color in the audience. And I just took a deep breath, put my head down for a second, and then, when they quieted down, I continued.”

Littlefeather said that when she left the stage she spotted John Wayne, who was furious about her speech and approached her in such a way that she thought he would assault her.

“[John Wayne] did not like what I was saying up at the podium,” Littlefeather said. “So, he came forth in a rage to physically assault and take me off the stage. And he had to be restrained by six security men in order for that not to happen.”

  • The hypocrisy of Republicans and those who are against the student loan forgiveness announced by the White House this week is on display. Someone is keeping track of the media pundits, politicians, and business people who are critical of the new policy while having been beneficiaries of government or other types of loan forgiveness and it’s pretty great (the whole thread is 🔥):

If you understand that the FBI obviously felt that Donald Trump was not planning to return everything, that they knew from their confidential human source and their investigation that it existed (and more or less where it existed), and that they were concerned that Donald Trump would weaponize that material. And that could be using it for monetary gain or using it as part of his election efforts. We don’t really know the answer there. 

But if you consider all of those, then the search begins to make some sense, even though I think politically it’s been a disaster for the FBI, and as much as the mainstream might be rallying around the FBI and saying, oh, poor FBI, the truth of the matter is that it seems like this is another naive investigation on the part of the FBI and Justice Department that thinks that because we have all of the paperwork in order that it makes sense to execute this but I think in fact it’s probably strengthened Donald Trump’s hand within the Republican Party and also within the electorate, who feel like in fact after six years of investigations if they haven’t indicted him yet that it is persecution. 

And there’s some validity to that. Let’s just imagine for a moment that Bernie Sanders was president, and that the FBI was going after him for six years. I mean people would be screaming bloody murder. Either indict him or stop it. And so I imagine in the coming weeks we are either going to see Donald Trump indicted finally for a peripheral question, which is possession of these documents. Not the content of the documents, but possession of them. 

  • The Onion strikes again:

Texas Schools Require Clear Bags To Prevent Students From Bringing In Books

Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

The Latest

Required Reading

This week, Godard’s anti-imperialism, in defense of “bad” curating, an inexplicable statue, criminalizing culture wars, and more.

Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

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