Who's Choosin' Who? Race, Gender, and the New American Politics

2014–2015 Maurine and Robert Rothschild Lecture
Photo courtesy of Melissa Harris-PerryPhoto courtesy of Melissa Harris-Perry

Lecture by Melissa Harris-Perry, Presidential Endowed Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University, Founding Director of Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South, MSNBC Host, Columnist for the Nation, and Author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America.

Back in 1985, Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin released what became a widely popular single asking, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” It’s been nearly 30 years, but the question of just who is playing the fool is still a great one for American politics. Just short of the 2014 midterm elections we can ask, who’s choosin’ who? Why do midterm elections draw far fewer women and voters of color to the ballot box? What difference do changing demographics make in American elections? And how do voting restrictions passed by elected officials shape the electorate who then make the choice of whether or not they return to office?