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Racial politics in modern America

As our 2019 Helen Hughes lecturer, Michael Ondaatje surveys the increasingly tribal political landscape of modern America. Paying special attention to the toxic racial politics of the Trump era, explain why the dream of a “post-racial” society has died, and how it might be revived.

The United States is more divided today than at any time since the Vietnam War era. Society is fracturing along crude identity lines. Anger and grievance are ascendant. Obsession with common enemies overrides concern for the common good. According to some experts, America is at the crossroads.

Professor Michael Ondaatje is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Arts and Academic Culture), and Professor of American History, at Australian Catholic University and Dr Jeremy Sammut, is a senior research fellow and the director of the Culture, Prosperity and Civil Society Program at the Centre for Independent Studies.