Class Notes by Adolph Reed

Looking primarily at two essays in Adolph Reed Jr.’s Class Notes–“Token Equality” and “Posing as Politics”–write a MLA-formatted essay that explores what Adolph Reed argues politics should concern itself with. Key to answering this question is understanding Reed’s conception of the effective realm(s) in which to contest politics and effective ways to contest them.

On pg. 168 of the book (in “Posing as Politics”) Reed writes, “This dismissal of state-centered politics is a signal weakness of the left.” What does Reed mean by this? In what ways does the critique he puts forward in this essay grapple with the notion of what is and is not effective politics? In what ways does he deconstruct faulty and ineffective modes of doing politics?

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One of the aspects of his critique of ineffectual politics is Reed’s discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of “identity politics.” How do identity politics politics blunt the edge of radical critiques and structural analyses of society? There are parts of other essay besides “Token Equality” and “Posing as Politics” that address questions and ideas in this prompt, so feel free to draw from them. Specifically, “Ethnic Studies and Pluralist Politics” offer insights you may find useful.

Paragraphs in both essays you might want to focus on and quote from :

1) The fourth paragraph on p. 133 that begins with, “Clinton points up the limits of identity politics.”

2) After the break on p. 136, the paragraph that begins, “At bottom, identity politics rest on problematic ideas of political authenticity . . .”

3) Towards the bottom of p. 137, the paragraph that begins, “Our identities are fluid, . . .”

4) In the middle of p. 168, the paragraph that begins with “The dismissal of state-centered politics . . .”

5) Towards the top of p. 169, the paragraph that beings, “As for rap . . .”

6) And the last paragraph of the essay on p. 170

*Your essay should be at least four pages.

*Your essay should have at least 6-7 quotes from Class Notes

*Please make sure your essay has an original title (this was something many of you didn’t do for the first essay.)

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