Once again, my mail bag is bulging. Here’s what’s inside:

Is there any way that the climate change conference in Copenhagen can be a success?

The Obama administration has already dropped the ball on climate change. By lowering our emissions goals and refusing to make a significant financial investment in climate change (a paltry $1.5 billion), we have already sent a message to the global community that our nation is unwilling to uphold its end of the bargain. This stance, combined with China’s refusal to agree to transparency and appropriate trade penalties for noncompliance, suggests that the conference will produce little substantive change.

Are you disturbed by the fact that all of Tiger Woods’ mistresses were white?

Honestly, I’m more disturbed that all of them were unattractive. One billion dollars in career earnings and all he can get are average-looking Hooters waitresses? Unacceptable! But seriously, the question of race is a complicated one in this case. On the one hand, I would not feel any better if Tiger were cheating on his wife with black women. In fact, I may feel worse if his “jump-offs” were black, since he’s never seemed to view any women of color to be worthy of marrying or seriously dating. On the other hand, the fact that Tiger Woods has made a career of deracializing himself — even going so far as inventing the term “Cablanasian” to describe his race — and socially distancing himself from black people makes me wonder about his own sense of racial identity. In other words, I don’t care who he dates, but I may have a problem with some of the deeper reasons that he chooses to date them.

Why are you constantly hating on President Obama? Didn’t you vote for him?

I’m not “hating” on President Obama. After all, I’m critiquing him on policy, not his poor dancing skills or unnecessarily tight jeans. Unlike countless other people who whisper the same critiques behind the scenes, I am unwilling to hide behind the cloak of racial or political solidarity. Over the past year, President Obama has made some great moves, for which I have applauded him. On other topics, such as Afghanistan, education and jobs, to name a few, I have been severely disappointed. If I do not register my principled critique in full public view, I will have failed to uphold my moral, ethical and political obligations as a progressive intellectual.


– Marc Lamont Hill is a professor at Columbia University.

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