James Baldwin Had Zero Patience for White Man’s Guilt
Beacon’s Batch of Best-Of Books Is Bursting During Our Holiday Sale!

The Best of the Broadside in 2021

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We did it! We made it to the finish line of another plague year! Just a few more weeks left. Even though it’s not New Year’s Eve yet, uncork some bubbly to celebrate. We earned it. Our big wish for the new year: no more COVID variants. Delta, Mu, Omicron . . . Worst. Upgrades. Ever.

Before we slam the door on 2021, we need to applaud and thank our authors and staff for the blog posts they wrote for the Broadside. These are this year’s top ten. If you haven’t read any of these yet, now you can click your way to their insightful observations and commentary.

See you in the new year with more posts from our authors!


Julian Bond

“Movement Music: The Final Lecture from Julian Bond’s Class on the Southern Civil Rights Movement—Part 1”
Julian Bond

“These songs tell stories. They are protest songs and songs of rebellion. They issue challenges to the white opposition. They tie the movement’s experiences—a march, a boycott, a clash with white authority—to the tradition of the black church, and take from the tradition of black church songs, substituting words and names to create new songs, applying old songs with Biblical messages to the current movement.”


Meghan and Harry

“Royally Racist: The Fear Behind the One-Drop Rule to Preserve Whiteness”
Yaba Blay

“White anxieties about racial mixture were rooted in eugenics and scientific racism, both supposing that the White race was the superior race, that physical and mental traits were tied to heredity, and that racial mixing thus not only lowered human quality but further threatened the survival of the White race. Within this framework, Blackness was considered a contaminant, one poisonous enough to taint and further cripple an entire gene pool. The one-drop rule would be critical not only in the defense of the White race but in the concentration of White power.”



“Are Your Ideas of Safety Policed by White Supremacy?”
Ryan Lugalia-Hollon

“How we hear the call to reimagine public safety is, in part, shaped by whether or not we have experienced the violence and racism of our criminal justice system. Yet there are also many subtle ways that our imagination is policed by white supremacy, the treacherous yet pervasive idea that white people are in any way superior to Black and non-Black people of color. Across the United States, we have convinced ourselves that people of color, especially Black people, are “criminals” at levels that are unprecedented in human history. Without white supremacy, this level of widespread criminalization would not be possible.”


Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz

“Indigenous Peoples’ History of the US Forms Part of Raoul Peck’s HBO Docuseries”
A Q&A with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

“I found it radical that Raoul [Peck] recognized that the Indigenous Peoples of North America also experienced classic European colonialism and genocide, first by the British Empire, then by the independent United States in its one hundred years of wars against the Indigenous peoples to take the continent and import settlers to people Native land. It was certainly a risk.”



“Dear Parents: ‘Autistic’ Isn’t a Bad Word”
Emily Paige Ballou

“When we ask you to understand the reasons autistic people choose the identifying language we do, no one is asking you not to call your child by their name in any context in which that would be the normal and obvious thing to do. That is not what this is about. It’s about the right of autistic people to have access to the language with which to talk about our experiences, to share an identity as a community, and to have words with which to advocate effectively for our needs.”


US-Mexico border

“Deconstructing the US’s Privilege of Forgetting Its Role in Central American Crises”
A Q&A with Aviva Chomsky

“Most people in the United States don’t even know—that is, they have the privilege of forgetting—how many times the United States has invaded Central American countries, how many times we’ve overthrown democratically-elected governments there, how many war criminals and death squad leaders we’ve trained and armed, how many peasants our corporations have displaced, and how much our corporations have profited from US “aid” to Central America and from their investments there.”



“What Is This Rage Against Critical Race Theory All About?”

“This is less a backlash against Critical Race Theory—a set of rigorous, theoretical concepts that obviously very few of the current CRT critics have read—and more a blow against the global Black Lives Matter movement. We are in an Empire Strikes Back moment when elements of the ruling class are trying to crush movements for policing reforms, historical truth, and working-class power. “
—Paul Ortiz



“Universities’ Foundation of Stolen Labor (and Stolen Remains) Demands a Reckoning”
Leigh Patel

“As universities move into full re-openings of campuses for the coming academic year, most are operating out of a frame of scarcity and capitalist competition, even ones as wealthy as Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania. When and where will students learn about the plunder by universities and the much larger life and fortitude of peoples that settler colonialism has tried to erase?”


House in the West End neighborhood of Portland  ME

“Unseen in Plain Sight: Navigating the Unbearable Whiteness of Beauty Culture”
Perpetua Charles

“There is something to be said for the confidence we’re all called to develop and practice so that we can feel secure in ourselves no matter where we are. Black women are especially encouraged to cultivate this confidence because we often can’t count on non-Black environments to affirm us. But again, when even beauty culture is rooted in white supremacy, we can still feel self-conscious, regardless of how many mantras of self-love we whisper to ourselves every day before leaving the house.”



“Happy 25th Anniversary to ‘The Vulnerable Observer’!”
A Q&A with Ruth Behar

“Throughout the years, I’ve received many kind letters and emails praising the book. I’ve met students and colleagues all over the world who’ve been influenced and inspired by the book. That has been so moving, and totally unexpected. I admit it’s a little scary when someone tells me they decided to go into anthropology after reading The Vulnerable Observer. That’s actually happened several times, and it’s a lot of responsibility to bear.”

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