Cord Jefferson

Cord Jefferson is a staff writer for The Root. His work has appeared in National Geographic, The Daily Beast and on MTV.

Recent Articles

The Right Messengers

With NPR embroiled in another controversy, it's time to ask again whether the media can ever responsibly cover race.

Juan Williams (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
In July 2010, the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism released Media, Race and Obama's First Year. The white paper detailed what many already knew: The American media often does a terrible job of covering racial issues -- and having a president of color has done little to change that fact. The report listed several problems, the most glaring of which is that mainstream media gives little substantive attention to issues of concern for or about African Americans. Furthermore, when mainstream outlets do cover black news, it is ad hoc, typically when an unusual incident captures the public's attention. Of the 67,000 mainstream television, Internet, newspaper, and radio news stories scrutinized for the report, only 643 -- less than 2 percent -- were "significant" to the African American community. (Significant is defined as a story in which one-quarter of the content is specifically about a demographic group and its race/ethnicity.) The same holds true for coverage...

Virtuality Bites

On the Internet, society's most intractable issues with race and class are increasingly prominent.

Antoine Dodson, whose reaction to an attack on his sister made him an Internet meme (AP Photo/Bob Farley)
In July 2000, then-Federal Communications Commission Chair William Kennard gave the keynote address at the international Supercomm conference for broadband service providers. Before an audience of people whose job it is to connect the whole wide world, Kennard called the rise of the Internet the "third greatest revolution in mankind's history," after agriculture and industry. "This latest ... revolution should be defined, first and foremost, by its power to unlock the potential of all of our people," he said, "by its power to educate our poorest children, to empower people with disabilities, to uplift impoverished rural and urban communities, and to repair and revitalize the fabric of our communities." A decade later, 79 percent of adults over the age of 18 are online, according to the Pew Research Center, meaning more people than ever are enjoying the convenience of e-mail, mobile banking, and click-of-a-button global news. By anyone's metric, the Internet has accomplished its most...

Stuff Rich People Like

In his new book, Chris Lehmann takes the wealthy to task -- and that means liberals, too.

The New York Times building on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan (Flickr/Rian Castillo)
The cover of Chris Lehmann's new collection of essays, Rich People Things , is a simple pen-and-ink drawing by illustrator Peter Arkle. It looks as if it could have fallen from the pages of the latest indie graphic novel, and its meaning is similarly straightforward. The scene, from the antique armchair to the pair of eyeglasses to the cat, is laden with dollar signs. Even a glass of wine, presumably spilled by the cat, has pooled to form a dark puddle in that familiar snake-and-staff shape. Everything we are meant to understand -- not just luxury cars or tennis-club memberships -- is connected in some way with money. The genesis of Rich People Things was an article of the same name Lehmann wrote for the then-nascent website The Awl in early 2009. (Disclosure: I also contribute to The Awl, though, like Lehmann, I've never been paid by the site.) The piece , a relentless dressing-down of the "money culture" at New York magazine, Lehmann's former employer, was initially considered a one...