NICHOLAS POWERS

JOURNALIST. POET. PROFESSOR. TRIFECTA

White Anxiety: Rachel Dolezal, Dylann Roof and the Future of Race in America

The media overlap of the Aryan race warrior and the race traitor showed two people driven to opposite ends of whiteness by anxiety over their identity. The American Dream is collapsing just as we tip into a non-white majority, intensifying racist nostalgia for some, dissolving it for others. The Confederate flag-waving Roof and kinky-haired Dolezal tried to solve private crises with self-recreation. Unknowingly, they exposed the fractured state of whiteness.

July 19, 2015 · Leave a comment

The Mirror Age: Passing in the New Millennium

Fifty-six years separate these two whites who passed as black. The first was celebrated for his courage in crossing the deadly color-line. The latter, critiqued for her lying. Their intents differed but they showed a truth that erodes the very categories of race. Passing is only possible because as Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Man is an imitative animal.” We are living mirrors, reflecting each other within the same species. So however flawed the “passing” person is, within their cracked image is a glimpse of a post-racial world.

June 28, 2015 · Leave a comment

Killing the Future: The Theft of Black Life

“Tell me of the night your son was killed by the police,” I asked. She sat up and a deep sorrow moved in her eyes. “I had a habit of looking out the window to see my son,” Danette Chavis said. “But that night, I said to myself, ‘oh leave the boy alone’ and took a nap. The phone woke me up and my daughter was rushing out of the door. I followed her and saw police tape, cops standing around a body. I yelled to see if it was him. But they wouldn’t let me close. Later, I went to the morgue and identified my son.”

May 4, 2015 · Leave a comment

Please Don’t Kick the Cat!

“Well let me ask a question,” his voice was like a weight placed on a scale, “Who are you writing for? Is it for your neighbors? Or the white Left?”

April 15, 2015 · Leave a comment

Excavating Muscle Memory: A Class with Maria Bauman & Nicholas Powers

“Excavating Muscle Memory as Source and Research” with Maria Bauman and Nicholas Powers is a generative workshop for beginning and experienced choreographers, novice and experienced writers, and those who seek to nurture themselves and explore their own histories in written and embodied form. We all stash positive and negative emotions and experiences in our bodies, but we rarely give ourselves the time and attention to go back to those stashed energy stores.

January 27, 2015 · Leave a comment

Black Literature & Revolutionary Consciousness: A Workshop

What happens when enslaved human beings testify on life? The answer is one of the world’s most beautiful canons of literature. On Feb. 2nd, I begin teaching a ten week session course on Black Literature each Monday from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the Commons at 388 Atlantic Avenue.

See the link for more details: http://thecommonsbrooklyn.org/civicrm/event/info…

January 9, 2015 · Leave a comment

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

On December 20, a Friday, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley eyed a parked NYPD cruiser where Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu sat; he pulled out a silver, semiautomatic gun and shot them dead. First and foremost this is a human loss that, like the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, has left families broken by pain. But quickly their murders were transformed into a political spectacle used by interlocking sectors of the ruling class to delegitimize the Black Lives Matters movement.

January 8, 2015 · Leave a comment

Hulk Hogan Challenges Darren Wilson to a Steel Cage Match

Hours later, cameras swept over a stadium packed with people. Hogan slapped hands with them as he stomped down the red carpet to the steel cage where Darren Wilson paced back and forth in his cop uniform. Fans held their palms up and chanted in a one pulsing voice, “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!”

December 26, 2014 · Leave a comment

Take the Chains Off : The Struggle for Racial Justice Continues

We jumped in front of traffic. Car headlights blinded us; we held up our hands and yelled, “I can’t breathe.” These were the last words of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Black man who was strangled to death by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo on Staten Island. Running between cars, we slapped high-fives with drivers and held signs above our heads.

December 20, 2014 · Leave a comment

Fear Factor: Ebola and the Politics of Paranoia

Paranoia is the first symptom of a plague. When news of an infectious disease like Ebola, SARS or swine flu breaks, the risks quickly ignite underlying social fears that themselves become a danger. When the disease passes, carrying off however many or few to an early death, what remains is the bigotry. Today it is West African immigrants, yesterday it was gay men during the HIV panic and hundreds of years ago, during the Black Death of the 14th century, it was Jews.

November 9, 2014 · Leave a comment

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