Guest post by David Middleton
A tour of the solar eclipse’s path reveals a nation that fought to maintain a different sort of totality.
Totality is everything, say those who chase solar eclipses. When the moon fully obscures the sun and casts its shadow on Earth, the result is like nothing you’ve seen before—not even a partial eclipse. A merely partial eclipse does not flip day to night, because the sun is bright enough to light our fields of vision with only a tiny fraction of its power. But when the sun and moon align just so, a little piece of Earth goes dark in the middle of the day. In this path of totality, night comes suddenly and one can see the shape of the moon as a circle darker than black, marked by the faint backlight of the sun’s corona. Astronomers and eclipse chasers chart carefully to be sure that they can watch from exactly the right place at the right time. They know that you cannot compromise with the sun. For a dark sky, the sun must be banished altogether.
On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will arrive mid-morning on the coast of Oregon. The moon’s shadow will be about 70 miles wide, and it will race across the country faster than the speed of sound, exiting the eastern seaboard shortly before 3 p.m. local time. It has been dubbed the Great American Eclipse, and along most of its path, there live almost no black people.
Presumably, this is not explained by the implicit bias of the solar system.
Alice Ristroph is a professor at Brooklyn Law School.
Presumably? If not for the other 4,585 words in this “science” article (according to The Atlantic), I would say, “Surely she was not serious, when she felt she had to qualify “this is not explained by the implicit bias of the solar system” with the word, “presumably.”
Unsurprisingly, Vox published an apologia for this nonsense and accused conservatives of unfairly piling on.
“The eclipse is racist”: how one bad article sparked a conservative pile-on
Updated byAug 21, 2017
A case of a solar eclipse metaphor gone terribly, terribly wrong has become a conservative talking point about the left and racism.
Last week, the Atlantic reprinted a Democracy: A Journal of Ideas article, which attempted to make a hard-to-parse point about race in America in the context of the solar eclipse. The thesis of the article was that the regions experiencing the total eclipse are mostly inhabited by white people — and also America has a history of racism.
It was quickly picked up by far-right pundits and conservative media as the left’s attempt to make everything about racism…
The article comes on the heels of a terror attack at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia…
Good fracking grief! WTF does any of this have to do with the eclipse? At least they didn’t try to blame the path of the eclipse on President Trump… yet.