‘Our Demand Is Simple: Stop Killing Us’
June 2, 2015 8:58 PM Subscribe
Since Aug. 9, 2014, when Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department shot and killed Michael Brown, Mckesson and a core group of other activists have built the most formidable American protest movement of the 21st century to date. Their innovation has been to marry the strengths of social media — the swift, morally blunt consensus that can be created by hashtags; the personal connection that a charismatic online persona can make with followers; the broad networks that allow for the easy distribution of documentary photos and videos — with an effort to quickly mobilize protests in each new city where a police shooting occurs.
#blacklivesmatter: How three friends turned a spontaneous Facebook post into a global phenomenon
Cullors had also been watching Facebook for news of the Zimmerman verdict. When she learned of his acquittal, she says, “The first thing I did was literally drop my jaw. And then I felt intense amounts of heat in my chest.” She started crying and, like Garza, posting on Facebook. “I start loving on black people, saying, ‘I hope y’all are loving on yourselves today.’” Cullors was moved by Garza’s post and, on a whim, decided to hashtag her sentiments “#blacklivesmatter.” She began hashtagging the phrase onto the walls of close friends and allies, some of whom also began using it. Before long, she and Garza were on the phone commiserating, and, by the next day, Cullors wrote on Garza’s wall with a proposition: “twin, #blacklivesmatter campaign? can we discuss this? i have ideas. i am thinking we can do a whole social media/all out in the streets organizing effort. let me know.”The Fight For The Soul Of The Black Lives Matter Movement
Black America’s Lost Generation Speaks Up - "The teens of the Baltimore riot have never known a reality without crisis. That comes with consequences."
Have black protests helped or hurt the Democratic Party?
Don't Be Like That - Does black culture need to be reformed?
Sociologists who study black America have a name for these camps: those who emphasize the role of institutional racism and economic circumstances are known as structuralists, while those who emphasize the importance of self-perpetuating norms and behaviors are known as culturalists. Mainstream politicians are culturalists by nature, because in America you seldom lose an election by talking up the virtues of hard work and good conduct. But in many sociology departments structuralism holds sway—no one who studies African-American communities wants to be accused, as the Times was, of “victim-blaming.” Orlando Patterson, a Jamaica-born sociologist at Harvard with an appetite for intellectual combat, wants to redeem the culturalist tradition, thereby redeeming sociology itself. In a manifesto published in December, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, he argued that “fearful” sociologists had abandoned “studies of the cultural dimensions of poverty, particularly black poverty,” and that the discipline had become “largely irrelevant.” Now Patterson and Ethan Fosse, a Harvard doctoral student in sociology, are publishing an ambitious new anthology called “The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth” (Harvard), which is meant to show that the culturalist tradition still has something to teach us.Color-Blind Policy, Color-Conscious Morality
This affliction is not solely Obama’s. Consider that in a conversation about poverty, featuring America’s first black president, one of its most accomplished progressive political scientists, and one of its most important liberal columnists, the word “racism” does not appear in the transcript once. That is because the progressive approach to policy which directly addresses the effects of white supremacy is simple—talk about class and hope no one notices.Who Will Pay Reparations On My Soul?
This is not a “both/and.” It is a bait and switch. The moral failings of black people are directly addressed. The centuries-old failings of their local, state, and federal government, less so. One need not imagine what a “both/and” approach might sound like, to understand why a president of the United States can’t actually offer one. At best, one can hope for reference to “past injustice.” But in a country where Walter Scott was shot in the back, where Eric Garner was choked to death, where whole municipalities are—at this very hour—funding themselves through racist plunder, fleeting references to “past injustice” will not do.
In German, the word schuld means both guilt and debt. In the context of the American debate about race relations, “reparations” likewise reflects both sides of the coin. The principal difficulty with reparations, as with black history in America more generally, is that guilt is an unpleasant feeling, susceptible of clouding judgment. Guilt colors the whole conversation. Today nobody can deny that being charged with racism is one of the most incendiary charges one can levy in public life. People are genuinely mortified by the accusation; many fear to even approach racial topics, or tread though them like a minefield. This legacy of political correctness has proved double-edged. On the one hand, a certain kind of public discourse is far less poisonous and injurious than it was a few decades ago. On the other hand, we have made race a relentlessly personal issue, one that often shields and distracts us from the harder questions of structural inequality, racial hierarchy and social control.
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