The Problem of the Casual

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Recently, a friend described “the problem of the casual” as lying at the root of our modern disconnect in discussions about race in America. The idea, he said, that people of color experience a different, more difficult America was best captured in a scene from The Landlord, a film from the 1970s in which Beau Bridges is a slumlord who romances his black tenant. After she gives birth, she insists that he raise their child as she wants the newborn to have a white father “so that he can grow up casual, like his Daddy.”

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