I think we need to distinguish between those three ideas if we’re to have a meaningful conversation about race. I can tell from the Blackberry (furiously ringing with email alerts) and the statistics page of this blog there are some new comers today, perhaps looking for the author of a Washington Post article about those now infamous posters of President Obama with the Joker’s makeup superimposed on his face. Welcome. I try not to deal with politics here (so read on for more about movies, opera, music, architecture and cartoon ducks). But I offer another link, from the campaign last year, that demonstrates how I think race operates in popular culture under the level of explicit consciousness. So if you have any patience with this kind of reasoning after reading the Obama/Joker article, here’s an analysis of those famous white columns and classical architectural elements that got so much attention before last year’s Democratic National Convention.