Conor Friedersdorf
Conor Friedersdorf
Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.
  • Nguyen Huy Kham / Reuters

    How Drug Warriors Helped to Fuel the Opioid Epidemic

    Even today, many feel better about Americans taking “medical heroin” than medical marijuana.

  • Robert Galbraith / Reuters

    The San Francisco Police Department's Bigotry Problem

    How many racist text threads among cops will it take for officials to recognize systemic problems?

  • Ricardo Arduengo / Reuters

    Where Libertarians Stand As Donald Trump Rises

    The case for cautious optimism about future, despite the disappointing choices in this year’s presidential election.

  • Joe Mabel / Flickr

    Why Not Take a Black Studies Class?

    Readers offer their insights and experiences to today’s college students and educators.

  • Why Didn't You Take a Black Studies Course in College?

    During my conversation last week with Bria Godley, a black undergraduate at Yale, she theorized that “the disconnect between how Yale presents itself and the reality of racial strife at Yale is partly due to students’ tendency to academically self-segregate.” She explained: students are overrepresented in Af-Am Studies classes. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this, I cannot help but roll my eyes when white students defend themselves by saying that they simply “don’t understand” what it is like to be a minority, as if the minority experience is not well documented in current events and in literature. The people of color at Yale can articulate injustices, no matter how nuanced, not only because of their lived experience but also because of the vocabulary and theoretical framework that these classes and the articles they read have given them. But, it seems as if white students tend to shy away from the topic of race because they not only lack the experience, but the educational and theoretical foundation to address it.

    Although Yale projects this image of a diverse community in which people are smart enough to avoid offending others with their ignorance, due to this self-segregation, many students of color at Yale feel isolated and disrespected by the majority population.

    One needn’t hold any particular view in the long-running debate over the optimal role of black studies on campus to see how students at the same institution, but enmeshed in different texts, frameworks, and academic approaches, might feel isolated from one another or talk past one another in ways that cause some to feel disrespected.

    And I wondered, how do Yalies decide whether or not to take a black studies course, anyway? Yale graduate Christopher Finney emailed one answer:

  • Emory's Protesters Respond to Their Critics

    If you followed my article last week about the Emory students who protested the fact that “Trump 2016” was written in chalk around their campus, it may interest you to know that they’ve published a statement taking issue with all media coverage of the story. Give it a read and decide for yourself whether it’s persuasive.

    To me, several passages show the protesters to have a fundamental misunderstanding of their critics. This is most evident when they write:

    Subsequent media reports have tried to frame this case as one about “coddled” and “oversensitive” students; however, LET US BE CLEAR: We are not scared of the chalk.

    I noted as much in my coverage. But these protesters need to understand why so many media outlets wrote stories about students scared of chalk. This isn’t a case of fabulism. Emory students unambiguously created that narrative when talking to reporters.

    “I legitimately feared for my life,” Emory student Paula Camila Alarcon told The Daily Beast. “It was deliberate intimidation,” Jonathan Peraza, another student, told the publication. “Some of us were expecting shootings. We feared walking alone.”

    Freshman Amanda Obando told Emory’s student newspaper, “My reaction to the chalking was one of fear.” The newspaper quoted other ostensibly frightened students too. Here’s one passage:

  • Mpspqr / Wikimedia

    How Emory's Student Activists Are Fueling Trumpism

    The billionaire candidate couldn’t have created more perfect foils for a candidacy built on resentment.

  • Wikimedia

    A Dialogue on Race and Speech at Yale

    An undergraduate and staff writer at The Atlantic exchange contrasting perspectives on the protests that roiled the campus last fall.

  • Max Whittaker/Reuters

    UC Davis Students Demand the Ouster of Their Chancellor

    Citing her paid side gigs and the horrific brutality by campus cops that marred her tenure, they make as strong a case as campus protesters anywhere in the nation.

  • Peter Dejong / AP

    Brussels Attacks: The Latest Developments

    Authorities suspect a man accompanied the suicide bomber on the subway system. Separately, the accused logistical planner of last November’s Paris attacks will not fight his extradition to France.

  • Chris Keane/Reuters

    The Unnerving Insecurities of Donald Trump

    The Republican front-runner claims he “had no choice” but to publicly discuss his anatomical endowments.

  • Louis C.K.

    In Defense of Louis C.K.’s Artistic Portrayal of ‘Transphobia’

    What information, if anything, does a trans woman owe a straight man? A Horace and Pete scene about that subject was dubbed “problematic” due solely to the identity of its writer.

  • Noah Berger / Reuters

    The UC System Turns the Left's Logic Against Anti-Zionism

    The officials who govern California’s public universities should abandon language that declares critics of Israel outside the bounds of legitimate discourse.

  • Twenty One Pilots / YouTube

    One Thing Considered: ‘Stressed Out,’ an Anthem of Millennial Anxiety

    The hit song by Twenty One Pilots tackles a generation's insecurities.

  • Lucas Jackson / Reuters

    The Obama Administration's Drone-Strike Dissembling

    Debunking John Brennan’s claim that “the president requires near-certainty of no collateral damage” to allow a drone killing to go forward.

  • Wikimedia

    Self-Defeating Radicalism at Western Washington University

    Student activists demand millions to reshape their institution and punish faculty members who violate ‘social justice’ taboos.

  • Mike Blake / Reuters

    The Rapid Rise of Federal Surveillance Drones Over America

    An alphabet soup’s worth of government agencies are exercising their ability to look down on ordinary citizens.

  • Gretchen Ertl / Reuters

    Tyrant-Proof the White House—Before It's Too Late

    Bush and Obama ran roughshod over Madisonian checks and balances, but there's still time to restore them.

  • Adrees Latif / Reuters

    Free-Speech Advocates Are Not Trying to Silence Students

    A recurring falsehood in the ongoing debate about campus culture, politics, and policy

  • Kevork Djansezian / Reuters

    Louis C.K.'s Warning About Donald Trump

    The comedian and his peers disdain political correctness—yet even they caution that he’s a dangerous choice.