Past Present Podcast: International Adoption, Steve Bannon, and Safety-Pin Politics

Safety Pin

In this week’s episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki debate the role of citizenship in international adoption, Steve Bannon’s appointment as Trump’s chief strategist, and the place of safety pins in sartorial politics.

International Adoption

We discussed the case of Adam Crasper, a South Korean adoptee who is being deported. Natalia recommended Arissa Oh’s To Save the Children of Korea for understanding the Cold War context of international adoption. She also commented on the 1954 book The Family Nobody Wanted that told the story of how one American family adopted twelve children from different ethnic backgrounds.

Steve Bannon

Donald Trump has tapped Steve Bannon to be his chief strategist in the White House. Niki outlined Bannon’s connection to the alt-right. (We discussed the alt-right on Episode 50.) Niki noted Bannon’s past as a filmmaker on Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin. Natalia shared Joan C. Williams’ Harvard Business Review article on white working class voters and the 2016 election.

Safety-Pin Politics

Some Americans opposed to Trump’s victory have begun to wear safety pins to signal they are allies to vulnerable groups. Neil commented on why some have critiqued doing so as a type of white privilege or “slacktivism.”, but he argued that symbolic acts could lead to greater activism. Niki agreed, citing David Karpf’s book The MoveOn Effect which argues thin ties of solidarity can lead to thick ties. Neil compared the safety pins to the AIDS ribbons of the 1980s and 90s. Natalia recalled the controversy of Barack Obama not wearing a flag pin in the 2008 campaign and remembered Madeline Albright’s use of brooches to convey political messages as Secretary of State, something she detailed in her book Read My Pins.

What’s Making History

  • Niki commented on need for historical analysis in the Trump era.

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