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Shaquille O’Neil did not get that name in the Congo if you know what I’m talking about.

This past monday at the 92nd Street Y, I watched a great conversation unfold between Henry Louis Gates, Jr and Ilan Stavans.

Salient facts learned:

  • 'Only' 450,000 of 11.2 million Africans stolen over to the New World actually came to the present-day United States.
  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is 56% white.
  • The island of Hispaniola is fucked up, and all the racial hemming and hawing in the MLB about the rise of Dominican players (vis-a-vis the diminishment of black players) is entirely wrong in a weird way.
  • Really nobody, white or black, is descended very much from Cherokee princesses.
  • The average African American is 20% white.
  • "Deconstructing" race doesn’t have to be terrible or tedious.
  • Ilan Stavans and Gates are tenacious, wonderful educators.