“Black Skinhead”: Brandi Collins-Dexter’s book on Black politics

"Black Skinhead": Brandi Collins-Dexter's book on Black politics

(This conversation was originally broadcast on November 2, 2022)

Today, we’ll revisit a conversation Tom had in November with Brandi Collins-Dexter, a keen observer of politics, race and the cultural landscape.

Historically, voter turnout in American elections is horrible, and turnout in midterm elections is particularly lousy. But the midterms in 2018 set records for turnout, and in some states, turnout in this year’s midterms rivaled the historic participation of four years ago.

Does high turnout favor Democrats? There is conflicting data about that. It does appear to have been the case in the runoff election between Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker in GA, a race in which Sen. Warnock prevailed by nearly 100,000 votes.

Concerns that Democrats will generally benefit from high turnout elections is why so many GOP-dominated state legislators have passed so many laws that target people of color and restrict access to the polls.

Brandi Collins-Dexter’s book takes a new look at the relationship between Black voters and the Democratic party, an alliance that began during the Civil Rights movement of the mid-20th century. She argues that there are many reasons that old assumptions about that relationship need to be re-examined.

Brandi Collins-Dexter is associate director of research at The Technology and Social Change Project (TaSC), housed in Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. She is the former Senior Campaign Director at Color of Change, a 7 million-member social justice organization. Her new book is a provocative and persuasive collection of essays called Black Skinhead: Reflections on Blackness and Our Political Future. 

Brandi Collins-Dexter was raised in Chicago. After several years in Oakland, CA, she now lives in Baltimore. She joined us on Zoom from Dublin, Ireland, six days before the November, 2022 elections.

Because this conversation was recorded earlier, we can’t take any new listener questions or comments.