Tag Archives: Invisible Man

Lit Encourages World Citizenship

Political identity arguments that demographic groups should stay in their own lanes fail to acknowledge the power of literature to “cross group boundaries,” according to philosopher Martha Nussbaum.

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DACA Kids, Back to the Shadows?

“Invisible Man,” with its protagonist moving in and out of shadows, is all too relevant as the Trump administration threatens to deport the DACA kids.

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Obama Was Invisible to White America

A Salon article explores how some of white supremacism’s rise can be traced to rage over having had a black president. Quoting Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” it makes the case that the right couldn’t really see Obama.

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We Benefit When We Check Our Privilege

Do be blind to one’s privileges is to live in a world of shadows and phantoms, as Ralph Ellison and Lucille Clifton both make clear. Life if much richer if we identify our blindnesses and engage with people as three-dimensional beings.

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Can Art Thwart Trump? A Debate

In which I argue with a writer who claims that art and artists have an inflated sense of their power and that they are irrelevant in the battle against Donald Trump.

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Must Dreamers “Hibernate” Again?

Ellison’s Invisible Man must retreat to a hole–or, as he calls it, hibernate–after getting banged around by reality. With Trump as president, will the Dreamers and others who benefitted from Obama’s prosecutorial discretion have to hibernate as well, returning back to the shadows?

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Invisible Man & Lolita Changed the ’50s

Ellison’s “Invisible Man” and Nabokov’s “Lolita” both challenged basic 1950s assumptions. The former changed public perceptions on what it meant to be black while the latter violated a tacit agreement not to go digging under neatly manicured lawns bordered by white picket fences.

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Entering a Brave New Trumpist World

In which I reflect upon my students’ shock upon Donald Trump’s victory. Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” and Flannery O’Connor’s “All That Rises Must Converge” figure into the discussion.

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Lit Opens Minds to Suffering of the Other

Philosopher Martha Nussbaum argues that literature is essential for creating good citizens in a diverse society, turning to Sophocles’s “Philoctetes” and Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” to make her point.

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Clifton, Ellison Help Explain Whitesplaining

White politicians, if they want the Black vote, must be cautious about “whitesplaining.” Lucille Clifton gives us insight into the insensitivity in “note to self.” Brother Jack in “Invisible Man” is racially insensitive in this way and may have lessons for certain Bernie Sanders supporters.

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Ellison’s Elegy for Innocent Police Victims

The Invisible Man’s eloquent funeral elegy for his friend Tod Clifton, shot by a policeman, could be delivered over any of the unarmed black men who have been shot by police and vigilantes in recent years. It is relevant again as the city of Cleveland seeks to blame 12-year-old Tamir Rice for his death.

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Boehner’s Monkey and Ellison’s Sambo

Speaker John Boehner may keep a wind-up monkey to express how he feels jerked around by the rightwing Freedom Caucus, which prompted him to resign. There is a similar puppet in Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” also signifying emasculation and humiliation.

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Bernie, Black Lives Matter, & Invisible Man

Bernie Sanders’s early missteps with Black Lives Matter, which bewildered him and his followers, is explained in Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man.”

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Invisible Men (and Women) No Longer

Immigrants coming out of the shadows recall Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, who also emerges from darkness.

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Making the Invisible Visible

Tuajuanda Jordan, our college’s newest president, turned to Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” to articulate her vision for the future.

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The Race Projection behind the Killings

Projection helps explain many of the killings of unarmed young black men. Ralph Ellison is an expert on how projection works.

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Vague Identity Adjectives Killed Trayvon

Novelist Susan Bender says that a literary understanding would have prevented the Trayvon Martin killing.

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Trayvon Was an Invisible Man

The racial profiling at the heart of the Trayvon Martin killing is captured nowhere better than in Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man.”

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No Longer Rolled by the GOP

Like Ellison’s Invisible Man, Obama may have started off naive but he’s wised up.

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Invisible Obama, Point of Projection

Obama has had to to resist black male anger such as that described in Eliison’s “Invisible Man.”

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Ellison and Obama’s Racial Tightrope Walk

Ellison’s “Invisible Man” helps us understand Obama’s and America’s, intricate dance with race issues.

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Ellison’s Invisible Man, Always Relevant

Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” remains relevant, including to the Trayvon Martin case.

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Why Obama Hatred? Ask Ellison, Baldwin

What causes Obama-derangement? Ellison’s “Invisible Man” and Baldwin’s “Go Tell It on the Mountain” offer explanations.

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Fed, Rafa, Djoker–A Sibling Drama

Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic are like the brothers in a Dostoevsky novel or a Grimm Brothers fairy tale: the two older brothers focus on each other and then the unassuming younger brother comes in and takes over.

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America Encourages the Vagabond Self

Looking at the United States from the vantage point of Iran, Nafisi writes that it was America’s vagrant nature that she connected to. She writes that America “somehow encourages this vagabond self.”

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The Prizefighter vs. the Yokel

Sports Saturday So my tennis idol, Roger Federer, is out of the French Open.  Before the semi-finals.  Federer’s astounding streak of 23 straight appearances in Grand Slam semi-final matches is one of the great streaks in sports and will never be approached.  (To get a sense of its magnitude, consider that Rod Laver and Ivan […]

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Trapped in Race Narratives

  It’s not everyday that an affair involving an English professor is the hottest topic in the national news.  In this case, the Professor Henry Louis Gates/Officer James Crowley incident, where America’s leading black intellectual was mistaken for an intruder and arrested in his own home, trumped even the health care debate.   The fact that […]

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