Discover more from White Too Long by Robert P. Jones
Thoughts from the Road - And Invitations to Four Public Events in the Next Two Weeks
Plus, a giveaway of two audio books for new paid subscribers
Dear #WhiteTooLong readers,
Greetings from the road. I’m about midway through my fall book tour, just returning from Madison, Wisconsin, for a few days and now in Nashville to speak at the Southern Festival of Books. Next week, I’ll be back in Washington, DC, for two additional events: the release of PRRI’s American Values Survey at the Brookings Institution and a book talk at my local home bookstore, People’s Books. Then on to Tulsa. More on those events below.
Click here to see the Hidden Roots of White Supremacy book tour schedule for the remainder of the fall and into early 2024. We’ve recently added a few new stops—I’d love to see you if I’m in your neighborhood.
For my longtime readers, you’ve probably registered that it’s been longer than usual since my last post (in which I argued that “Columbus Day Celebrates an Ongoing Threat to American Democracy”). Part of the reason for the hiatus has been my hectic travel schedule. But part of it has been that I’ve been reeling, like many of you, in the wake of the brutal terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians on October 7.
In times when mass violence like this is unleashed, it is hard to know what to say, what to do, and even what to feel beyond loss and helplessness. In the void, there is a sense of vertigo, like the world’s axis has shifted a few degrees.
I’ve been feeling unbalanced over the last two weeks. According to PBS, as of yesterday there are more than 1,400 dead in Israel. Over 200 families have been notified that their loved ones have been kidnapped. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry reports that 3,785 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military response. The casualties will undoubtedly rise exponentially as the Israeli military ground offensive gets underway. More than 1 million Palestinians have fled their homes in Gaza with few supplies, moving south toward the Egyptian border. So far, these refugees have not been permitted leave, and hundreds of humanitarian aid trucks on the Egyptian side of the border not been permitted to enter. It is difficult to comprehend the carnage and suffering.
I have been gratified to see President Biden’s efforts to give a moral and measured response. In his early remarks following the Hamas terrorist attack, he rightly called it “an act of sheer evil” and defended Israel’s right to respond. But Biden has also warned Israel not to repeat some mistakes the US made in its own so-called “war on terror” following 9/11. “Justice must be done,” Biden said. “But I caution this: While you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it. After 9/11 we were enraged in the United States. While we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes.”
Moreover, Biden emphasized important distinctions between the terrorist goals of Hamas and “the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination.” Biden also recognized the tensions playing out within the U.S. Echoing the important reminders former President George W. Bush made after 9/11, Biden asserted, “There is no place for hate in America — not against Jews, not against Muslims, not against anybody. We reject — we reject — what we reject is terrorism.”
Such a measured approach is important. Here at home, I’m deeply concerned about the the ways the Israel-Hamas war is inflaming passions in an America already experiencing record-high hate crimes, which increased by 7% in 2022 alone, according to an FBI report released this past Monday. In the last two weeks, synagogues have been vandalized and threatened, and there has been a spike in antisemitism on social media. Palestinian restaurants and community centers have also been sites of vandalism and targets of harassment. A Chicago-area landlord, allegedly motivated by anti-Palestinian hate, stabbed six-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume to death and critically wounded his mother.
I’ll close with this. My friend Eboo Patel, who lives in Chicago, wrote a moving piece in the wake of this young boy’s murder. I encourage you all to read it: “'Take a lesson from the dead': Fatal stabbing of 6-year-old serves warning to divided US.”
With longing and hope for justice and lasting peace,
You’re Invited! Four Upcoming Events
I’ll be talking about The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy on Saturday, 10/21, at 3:00 p.m. CT at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. This one is in-person only, but if you’re in the Nashville area, I’d love to see you.
Finally, we soon release PRRI’s 14th annual 2023 American Values Survey, conducted in partnership with the Brookings Institution. We have a stellar panel lined up for next week's live event at 10:00 a.m. ET on 10/25 at Brookings. In addition to EJ Dionne and Bill Galston at Brookings, the panel will include Joy Reid from MSNBC, Russell Contreras from Axios, and Lilliana Mason from Johns Hopkins University. This event is a free in-person event at the Brookings Institution and will also be live streamed (and available to read on PRRI’s website that morning). Details about registering for the event are here.
10/26 - People’s Book (Takoma Park, MD)
I’ll be speaking at my local bookstore, People’s Book, next Thursday at 5:00 p.m. ET. This one’s in person only. If you’re in the DC area and you missed me at Politics & Prose last month, I hope to see you there!
I’m thrilled that on 11/02 at 7:00 p.m. CT I’ll be in conversation with my good friend Rachel Laser, CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Congregation B’Nai Emunah—in partnership with Magic City Books, All Souls Unitarian Church, Fellowship Congregational Church, and Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries—is hosting the conversation about The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy and the forms of Christian Nationalism our country has seen both past and present. Book signing and reception to follow.
And here’s what the rest of 2023 looks like on the book tour.
If you haven’t purchased your copy of my new book, you can get it at the links below (purchases via these links support my work and this newsletter):
Special Giveaway: Free Audiobooks to First Two New Paid Annual Newsletter Subscribers
Simon & Schuster has generously donated three audiobook versions of The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy, which I am making available for the first two people who sign up for a new paid annual newsletter subscription. To qualify, you must be a new paid annual subscriber as of today.
How to Participate: Simply activate your paid subscription by clicking the button below. Then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org expressing your interest in the free audiobook offer. If you are one of the first two to respond, I will email you the instructions to download the free audiobook on Google Play.