In next week's issue of The New Yorker, Larissa MacFarquhar has a Caroline Kennedy profile that was probably intended to give readers a glimpse at New York's newest senator. Things took a different turn, of course, but the result is a piece that is more entertaining than it otherwise would have been. Most astonishing, for example, is this quote from MSNBC political analyst and Caroline loyalist Lawrence O'Donnell: “Paterson has no comprehension of upstate New York, absolutely none, and has chosen someone better at representing cows than people.
The New Yorker is hardly the optimal vehicle for reaching the conservative intelligentsia. But, last year, Barack Obama cooperated with a profile for that magazine where he seemed to be speaking directly to the right.
During the past decade, an academic movement called critical race theory has gained increasing currency in the legal academy. Rejecting the achievements of the civil rights movement of the 1960s as epiphenomenal, critical race scholars argue that the dismantling of the apparatus of formal segregation failed to purge American society of its endemic racism, or to improve the social status of African Americans in discernible or lasting ways. The claim that these scholars make is not only political; it is also epistemological.