(Personally, I’ve shied away from using it, thinking it mostly unhelpful. Ms. McWhorter gives me good reason to reconsider.)
Update: Lest you be tempted to skip it, take note of this paragraph:
We have become such “good Americans” that we no longer have the moral imagination to picture what it might be like to be in a bureaucratic category that voids our human rights, be it “enemy combatant” or “illegal immigrant.” Thus, in the week before the election, hardly a ripple answered the latest decree from the Bush administration: Detainees held in CIA prisons were forbidden from telling their lawyers what methods of interrogation were used on them, presumably so they wouldn’t give away any of the top-secret torture methods that we don’t use. Cautiously, I look back on that as the crystallizing moment of Bushworld: tautological as a Gilbert and Sullivan libretto, absurd as a Marx Brothers movie, and scary as a Kafka novel.
I well and truly hope she is wrong on that – if America “no longer ha[s] the moral imagination to picture what it might be like to be in a bureaucratic category that voids our human rights”, then my America is no more. And while I admit that, at various points in the past few years, I have been near sure that that is true, I am not yet ready to accept it.