In his profound and exhilarating new book, “When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America,” author, scholar, and former U.S. Navy Commander Theodore Johnson persuasively argues that racism is both alive and healthy in our country and a profound – even existential – threat to its democracy.
Happily, however, Johnson doesn’t leave it there. Weaving memories of his and his family’s multi-generational experiences with racism alongside strands of U.S. history, Johnson makes a persuasive, optimistic and patriotic case that we can still find a blueprint for national solidarity in the exceptional citizenship long practiced in Black America.
Johnson, who grew up in Raleigh, is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Fellows Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, where he undertakes research on race, politics, and American identity. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, he was a National Fellow at New America and a Commander in the United States Navy, serving for twenty years in a variety of positions, including as a White House Fellow in the first Obama administration and as speechwriter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Last week, NC Policy Watch was fortunate enough to host Johnson for an online Crucial Conversation in which he outlined his book and responded to questions from the audience — a recording of which which can be viewed and shared via the link below. For the sake of brevity, we’ve edited out the introductions and opening niceties from the recording.