Illustration of glowing chain links in a shovel of dirt.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: My Great-Grandfather, the Nigerian Slave-Trader

This fascinating essay, by the grandchild of a Nigerian slave trader, explores a complex cultural legacy. At least as provocative as “Did Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson Love Each Other?” and the stunning, bitter “Molasses to Rum (to Slaves)” from the otherwise cheery musical 1776. African intellectuals tend to blame the West for the slave trade, but I knew that white traders couldn’t have loaded their ships without help from…

Trump, halting his own policy: “I didn’t like sight of families being separated.”

No fake news here. This is why journalism matters. It wasn’t the moral consequences of his own immigration crackdown that caused Trump to act — it was “the sight of” those consequences. What happens to those families after they have been detained for over 20 days remains to be seen. Very glad to hear that Microsoft employees objected to their company’s work with ICE. We should not forget how IBM…

How We Can Help Students Survive in an Age of Anxiety

Today’s students have also lived most of their lives in the shadow of a systemic financial collapse. Some of us can still remember the extent to which the worldview of our parents or grandparents was shaped by having grown up during the Great Depression. While the Great Recession was objectively not as severe, it has led to a level of economic anxiety among today’s college students that I did not…

2001: Stanley Kubrick’s Exasperating Masterpiece

Posting this mostly to prove that I can remain rational even when I encounter criticism of classic Star Trek, which certainly had its silly moments, but which offered many, many serious adult treatments of social issues. If you like your science fiction overlong and overserious, may I recommend Star Trek: The Motion Picture? 2001 is a completely different genre of science fiction. The docking waltz sequence is still striking and…