A panel consisting of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Richard Thompson Ford, Shelby Steele, Charles Kamasaki discuss Race and Politics in America: Where Are We in 2008? at the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.
Richard Thompson Ford
Richard Ford is the George E. Osborne Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. An expert on civil rights and anti-discrimination law, his academic work focuses on the definition of political and legal boundaries as instruments of social regulation, and as cultural phenomena (with an emphasis on their racial and demographic implications).
He is also interested in humanities and the law and the intersection of critical theory and the law. Previously, Ford was a Reginald Lewis Teaching Fellow at Harvard Law School, a litigation associate with Morrison & Foerster, a housing policy consultant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and commissioner of the San Francisco Housing Authority.
He publishes regularly on civil rights, constitutional law, race relations, and antidiscrimination law, and he is the author of The Race Card: How Bluffing about Race Makes Race Relations Worse and Racial Culture: A Critique.
Charles Kamasaki has headed the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) since 1989.
He was previously Director of NCLR's Policy Analysis Center, a position he held for seven years.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NCLR is the nation's principal Hispanic organization, representing nearly 300 affiliates community-based organizations who together serve more than three million Latinos each year, and more than 35,000 individual associate members.
In addition to providing capacity-building technical and financial assistance to its affiliates, NCLR carries out public policy advocacy on behalf of all Hispanics in the United States.
Kamasaki is responsible for managing NCLR's research, policy analysis, and advocacy activity on a wide range of issues, including civil rights, education, economic mobility, housing and community development, immigration, and other issues.
In this connection, he has authored, coauthored, and supervised the preparation of several dozen policy and research reports, journal articles, and editorials. He has testified frequently at Congressional and Administrative hearings, and often represents NCLR at research and policy conferences and symposia.
He has lectured at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs at Princeton University, Brown University, the University of Texas, The American University Law School, and many others. His work has been widely cited in the press, and in the policy and academic literature.
Shelby Steele is the Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He specializes in the study of race relations, multiculturalism, and affirmative action. He was appointed a Hoover fellow in 1994.
Steele has written widely on race in American society and the consequences of contemporary social programs on race relations.
In 2006, Steele received the Bradley Prize for his contributions to the study of race in America. In 2004, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. Steele is the author of White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era and most recently A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win.