ISA HOPKINS

Raconteur. Adventurer. Kimchi Enthusiast.

Being an Ally (Or: A Decent Human Being)

Ta-Nehisi Coates weighs in on Bill Cosby, and his own previous failures to confront the rape accusations.  It’s a reckoning, and a lesson in how to face – and own – our shortcomings.   The alternative: this perfect Onion piece.   Issues of privilege – white privilege, male privilege, the privileges of fame and celebrity – are uncomfortable to grapple with.  Understanding that the world is not, and never has been, a meritocracy.. Read More

Truth!

Remember when the sharing economy was about, you know, SHARING?!   Yeah. It’s been a while.

The Data Agenda

When it comes to education reform, the reliance on “data” is purported to be a values-neutral statement: data has no ideology, this line of thinking goes, so its use cannot be manipulated.   Two important articles – one very long, the other less so – illuminate the lie at work in this proposition.  First, the Atlantic looks at Philadelphia’s textbook allocations.  Textbooks – logistics – are an easy and appropriate place to use.. Read More

Odds & Ends

With ideology masquerading as pragmatism, profit is now the sole yardstick against which all our institutions must be measured, a policy that comes not from experience but from assumptions – false assumptions – about human nature, with greed and self-interest taken to be its only reliable attributes. – Alan Bennett, in the London Review of Books Relatedly, Diane Ravitch takes down the notion that teacher protections are what impede access to quality education.  Historical.. Read More

The World Around Us

Urging African-Americans to become superhuman is great advice if you are concerned with creating extraordinary individuals. It is terrible advice if you are concerned with creating an equitable society. The black freedom struggle is not about raising a race of hyper-moral super-humans. It is about all people garnering the right to live like the normal humans they are.   –TNC   People do what they need to do to survive. But when survival is.. Read More

On SF, From London

I had plans to write an epic post about the Google bus situation and the social divides and false meritocracy of the tech economy (titled “Class: Warfare, Bus Fare, & What is Fair?”) – but then Rebecca Solnit beat me to it.  Her essay reaches beyond the typical technocratic solutioneering on the topic that has populated my Facebook feed (Change zoning laws! Eliminate rent control!) to meditate on what cities and society actually.. Read More

The Fiction of Affirmative Action

..our biases are mostly unconscious, and they can run surprisingly deep. Consider race. For a 2004 study called “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal?,” the economists Sendhil Mullainathan and Marianne Bertrand put white-sounding names (Emily Walsh, Greg Baker) or black-sounding names (Lakisha Washington, Jamal Jones) on similar fictitious résumés, which they then sent out to a variety of companies in Boston and Chicago. To get the same number of.. Read More

Anthem

There is a reason I have been quiet lately. In phrases and allusions I have hinted at other explanations – work and travel and the busy-ness of a day job and pursuit of a creative dream and the demands of brokeness – but there is a truth lurking behind all of these, one harder to admit, one less acceptable than the promise and possibility embedded in so much doing.   I have been.. Read More

How does the rest of the world view the government shutdown?   And right now, they look at the stalemate in Washington the same way they look at the periodic gun massacres that afflict the United States: with a bafflement that America, mighty America, for so long the most innovative, creative, energetic society on the planet, cannot solve problems that smaller, poorer, feebler countries cracked long ago.   –NYRB   America’s sense of.. Read More