Omar Wasow


News at Princeton Covers King Day speech

News at Princeton covered my Martin Luther Kind Day keynote. A couple quotes:

“Mercer County is like a rich country and a developing country mashed together within one border, and Mercer County is not unique,” Wasow said. “Almost anywhere we go in America, the differences in the quality of life for white Americans and black Americans would be similar or even worse.”

Today’s problems may be easily identified through such racial disparities, but they aren’t necessarily best addressed through solutions that center on race, Wasow said. “One of the great challenges of our times is that the disparities we face today have more complex causes and point less straightforwardly to solutions,” he said.

Wasow pointed to the criminal justice system, and particularly the war on drugs, as an area where eliminating racially discriminatory laws and practices hasn’t created a truly just system.

“Advancing racial equality within such a highly punitive system offers only a Pyrrhic victory,” Wasow said. “It is not enough to have racial justice in enforcement. We need justice in how our laws are enforced. And we need laws that are actually just.”

2014 Martin Luther King Day Keynote

Princeton University commemorates the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with an annual King Day celebration. I’m honored and humbled to be the keynote speaker for this year’s gathering on Monday, January 20th.

The event will take place in Richardson Auditorium of Alexander Hall and is free and open to the public. It begins with musical selections at 1 p.m.

For more information, see: King Day celebration schedule

Chronic fatigue syndrome activists launch ‘uprising’ from their beds

My wife was profiled on Al Jazeera America this week about her struggle with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Here’s how she describes the experience:

“I would describe it like being a broken battery, where every time you try to charge me, you know, I maybe fill to 5 percent,” she said. “I think the thing that is really hard to understand about this illness is just how much it takes away from you and how so many of the basic things that make one feel like a human being just become impossible.”

It’s a debilitating disease and a complicated topic. The great thing about Al Jazeera Tonight is that they generally spend 8-9 minutes on a subject as compared the 3-4 minutes typical on regular news shows. As a result, there’s a lot more room to delve in.

See the full article and videos

About Me

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at UC Berkeley. I received a PhD in African American Studies, an MA in Government and an MA in Statistics from Harvard University. Previously, I co-founded and the Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School. I can be reached at owasow -at- gmail -dot- com.

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