Courtney Martin

Courtney E. Martin is a Prospect senior correspondent. She is the author of Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists (Beacon Press). You can read more about her work at

Recent Articles

Architecture's Diversity Problem

The field of architecture is structured in such a way that it keeps the status quo -- white, economically privileged men -- firmly in place.

(Flickr/A. Garletz)

Architect Jeanne Gang's new tower, Aqua, stands in the center of Chicago with an attention-grabbing facade that appears to undulate like a wave reaching for the sky rather than the shore. It's a nice surprise to find that the critics have largely avoided drawing overly simplified parallels between the curvy construction and 44-year-old Gang's gender, conspicuous in a field where women are few and far between. Aqua, in fact, is the tallest skyscraper designed by a woman -- and a fairly young one at that.

The Power of the "Post-Racial" Narrative

Many white Americans latch on to the myth of color blindness because they are afraid that even after electing a black president, they must still wrestle with their own privilege.

MSNBC host Chris Matthews stands on the National Mall the day before Barack Obama's presidential inauguration, Jan. 19, 2009.(Flickr/Adam Fagen)

After President Barack Obama's State of the Union address last week, Chris Matthews had an epiphany about the president: "I was trying to think about who he was tonight. It's interesting; he is post-racial, by all appearances. I forgot he was black tonight for an hour."

The Missing Discomfort in Mourning for Haiti

There is a hidden cost to tweeting, texting, and other "convenient" ways of taking action to help others.

As soon as word began to spread last week that a vicious earthquake had destroyed much of Haiti, Facebook and Twitter lit up with altruistic updates. People encouraged those in their networks to leave clothing donations at local drop-spots, donate $10 with a simple text message, and make sure that Haiti did not "become another Katrina."

New Year's Resolutions for Improving Political Dialogue

We've become a nation of screamers, not thinkers. Here's how to bring thoughtfulness back in 2010.

As the new decade dawns, plenty of institutions -- from gyms to retailers to churches -- will be trying to capitalize on the resolution spirit. The advertising copy promises: Now's the time to join, to run, to buy. Our usually frenetic pace slows, and we're all but bullied into reflection. We take a look at our waistlines and credit-card debt, and promise ourselves that this year, no seriously, this year will be different.

Coming of Age in the Aughts

The political milestones that shaped my generation's experiments in living an ethical life.

The United for Peace and Justice Anti-War protest in Washington, D.C., Sept. 24, 2005. (Flickr/Danny Hammontree)

As this decade comes to an end, so do my 20s. For me and many of my generation, the past ten years have marked a series of experiments -- sometimes misguided -- in living ethically. The question was (and is): What does an ethical life look like in an era of terrorism, reality television, vast wealth disparity, and the Internet?