ISA HOPKINS

Raconteur. Adventurer. Kimchi Enthusiast.

Whiteness, Blackness, & The Spaces In Between

Marco Rubio is being upheld – water-bottle-gaffes aside – as the new face of the Republican party, taking the baton from Bobby Jindal as the right-wing’s token person of color.  Per this Colorlines headline, his task is improbable: to make the endemic racism of today’s GOP palatable to Latinos.  But while this formulation might sit well with liberal sensibilities, it overlooks the fact that Marco Rubio is actually being used very strategically to.. Read More

Morning in My America

First, some background reading on voting in America: how we came to have a secret ballot and why, despite the protestations of those who claim voting is an essentially useless act, it actually matters a lot.   Yesterday, before any election returns began to roll in, Alyssa Rosenberg wrote this, discussing the characterization of the Democrats’ voting base – minorities, women, LGBTQ – as a collection of “special interests”: But those issues are.. Read More

Structures of (Surfing’s) Oppression

This article is both an interesting glimpse into Hawaiian (and therefore, American imperialist) history, and also an excellent demonstration of the idea that anything can be politically significant; even something as seemingly neutral as surfing can be executed in a fashion that promotes understanding and equality, or can just be another platform of the West’s cultural hegemony.  And, truly, it’s not that hard to do things the better way, if only we bother.. Read More

Summer Reading

Law enforcement: a land of thin accountability.   “Failing” schools: the narrow view of a single metric.   We are not post-racist; we are just a more sophisticated form of it.

Black History Month

From TNC: And I wonder if the problem of African-American History is that it so coldly and cruelly counters the American narrative. I have spent the past two decades thinking about that history and it’s ultimately made me more of a believer in the American project, not less of one. But that’s a relatively recent development and one at least partially tied to what happened in 2008.   I’ve been doing a lot.. Read More

White Unless Otherwise Specified

I have decided to spare everyone the epic, hugely pretentious “Harry Potter” analysis I spent the past couple of days penning, although it has prompted some other thoughts that I’ll be doling out in smaller portions.  One issue I included in that overlong post was my consternation at the casting of Robert Pattinson as Cedric Diggory in the “Harry Potter” films – not because I had anything against the guy in particular, but.. Read More

American Dreaming

One more for today: the NYTimes has a beautiful, moving personal essay from a Pulitzer-prize-winning reporter, coming out as an undocumented immigrant (aka illegal alien).  It made me cry in public, and the only other time that’s happened was when I broke my ankle.  I still remember the moment I found my mother’s green card, buried in a box of memorabilia: I’d always known, of course, that she was an immigrant, but that.. Read More

The Wealth of Nations

I haven’t written in a while, as things have been getting sorted out from various other formats into this shiny new centralized site.  Here are a couple things that have caught my eye:   My favorite thing that I’ve read recently is this, from the intriguing online magazine Triple Canopy.  It’s a history of debt and credit as the basis for wealth creation and basic economic exchange; one fascinating bit of anthropological history.. Read More

Don’t Be A Menace

Whenever a natural disaster strikes, a certain segment of humanity can always be counted on to respond in the worst way possible: by blaming the event on whichever quality they find most distasteful in the afflicted.  Hence Hurricane Katrina was a curse on the gays, the Haitian earthquake was a response to all that voodoo stuff, and now the Japanese earthquake is, apparently, payback for hunting whales.  Or Pearl Harbor – depending on.. Read More

An Open Letter

Dear playwrights, actors, directors, producers, sound board operators, ushers, stage managers, house managers, set designers, lighting designers, and concessionaires: Please.  I’m begging you.  Stop it with the blackface. You may think it’s been long enough.  You may think that all the hullaballoo is just about white liberal guilt, and you watch “30 Rock”, and Chris Rock, and you know that there’s nothing better to make fun of than white liberal guilt, and if.. Read More