Five great thinkers about race

We asked our Friday Roundtable guests who they are turning to for thoughts about race and identity.

Alexs Pate: James Baldwin’s “The Price of the Ticket” is “still ahead of us by 10 years in terms of understanding and thinking about and talking about race.”

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(James Baldwin and Marlon Brando. Credit: National Archives and Records Administration)

Pate also thinks “Black Skin, White Masks,” the 1952 classic by Frantz Fanon, is worth a read. “It’s about the way that we look at each other,” he said.

Leola Johnson: “I am really interested in Ella Baker, the unheralded leader of the civil rights movement, and Essie Robeson, the wife of Paul Robeson. I am more and more thinking about how cutting edge these women were.”

Jose Santos: Check out the casta paintings that depict the mixing of races and the caste system in Spanish colonies. Santos also recommends reading Octavio Paz, who wrote about “mestizos” and how a mix of races “means that there is a necessary conflict in the idea of Mexico.”


(MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: A photo dated 16 December 1991 of Mexican poet and philosopher Octavio Paz in Paris. Paz died in Mexico 19 April at the age of 84. JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images)